Recently I went digging back through my photo and videos of my girls when they were little. They were so darling and funny, says every mother ever. Their cuteness could melt a 48-crayon box with every sweet chorus of “cheese.”
Over the years, I have e-filed my personal stories that I originally wrote for my old parenting blog. I started my blog in 2009 when my girls were 3 and 4, plenty of funny parenting material at that age.
These journal entries are also helpful because they fill in the cracks of my spotty memory of days gone past. The thoughts I’m sure I would have forgotten if not for documenting them at the time.
The nice thing about public over-sharing through a blog or column is that now when my teens are grumbling or complaining or ignoring me entirely (like all teens tend to do) I can pull up these memories and either use them for good or evil. Let them sweat it a bit. I’m a firm believer in keeping your children on their toes. Predictable parenting is for suckers.
When searching for things to make me laugh, I ran across a story I had completely forgotten about it. As the story goes, in 2010 my oldest daughter, who would have been 5 and in pre-kindergarten, was starting to test her independence. As a parent, I knew she needed to do this because this little firecracker was not going to live in my basement when she was 30. I often remind them of this.
With my daughter upstairs “taking a nap,” I nabbed some quiet time on my laptop. I was desperate to finish up a piece in order to meet a writing deadline. Deep in concentration, I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings. However, somewhere in my subconscious mind, I heard her yelling for me from upstairs.
“Mom, I need you to come here,” I heard.
Hoping it was a false alarm and not really paying attention, I hollered back, “You are supposed to be napping!”
She was having none of that. “Just come here,” she said.
“Is anything on fire?” I said still typing.
“No, but I really need you,” she replied.
Now in hindsight, I vaguely remember hearing her say there was a spider on the wall in the office, but between my concentration on my article and her not answering my question to my liking, I did what every busy working mother does facing a deadline and her child is supposed to be asleep for several more hours. I tuned out my overly chatty child. Yes, in hindsight that was a parenting fail.
Needless to say, I didn’t go upstairs; so after asking several times for me to come help her, she finally gave up on me. This is what I heard next. STOMP, STOMP, STOMP down the stairs she marched. As she got to the first floor, she let out a loud exhalation of frustration. Next the kitchen silverware drawer opened and I heard a rustling around for the right utensil. Then another dramatic exhale, finished off by a slam of the drawer.
Now she had my attention. I caught her heading back up the stairs. “Honey, what are you doing?”
“I need a fork,” she said irritated.
“Why do you need a fork?” I inquired.
“I TOLD YOU THREE TIMES THERE WAS A SPIDER IN THE OFFICE!” she snapped, then continued to run up the stairs with flatware in tow.
Yes, my 5-year-old daughter was going to fork that spider to death since her lazy mother wouldn’t do it for her. I ran upstairs, apologizing profusely for not listening to her and removed the silver weapon from her hand.
Then with a swift Karate Kid-esque combination of moves, I removed my flip-flop, smashed the spider, and proudly announced, “Now that’s how you do it!”
I was about to leave her room for a tissue to clean up my mess, but stopped to see my girl calmly assessing the wall with a pensive expression and head tilt. She looked up me, shrugged her shoulders and without missing a beat, nonchalantly said, “I would have used the fork.”
I’ll never know why she was in the office, and not in her room where I had left her to sleep. Hopefully she didn’t follow that spider from her bed to the room next to hers, all the while yelling for me to help her kill it.
Yeah, this parenting thing is a breeze.
Stacey Hatton misses the early years with her daughters, until she remembers diapers and potty training. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.