Thursday, May 16, 2013

Snippets from Conversations with Popeye

I hesitate to share stories sometimes because I think it makes me look like I'm messing up the whole parenting thing.  I started this blog because I didn't live close to home and I knew that my mom and a few friends would like updates on our happenings.  Now a lot of people read this and all they see are these pieces of less-than-ideal interactions and parenting techniques (heh, techniques.  Sounds fancy.  Really, I just go with it and try to raise disciplined, productive, kind children without bullying and with yelling as little as possible).  Honestly, though, our house is pretty harmonious (when Chris lives in the same state and I'm not juggling a million things).  My kids are stellar.  These are the conversations I had with my 3-year-old yesterday, though.

P: Where's Dad?

Me: At work.

P: To get money?

Me:  Yep!

P:  Why? (Suspicious/accusatory tone) Did you use his last monies?

 P: Mom, you broke your promise.

Me: I did?  I'm sorry.  What promise?

P: The big one.

Me: The bi-

P: (Interrupting) It was really easy.

Me: Easy?  What wa-

P: (Interrupting.  Again) You have one more chance.

Me: One more chance for wh-

P: (Deadly serious, looking me right in the eyes) Or you're fired.

Me: .........


Me: Okay, Pops!  Time to sit at the table and eat lunch.

P: No!  I don't want that!  It's not my favorite!

Me: Come on.  You like this stuff.  Sit at the table, please.

P: No.  I'm not starving! (Continues playing on the floor with her cards)

Me: P, if you are not going to eat, then you can go to your room and start your nap now.

P: I'm going to pick up my mess first and you can't stop me!

It was clear to me at this point that she was very tired.  She really hasn't been this way for quite a while.  I didn't appreciate her behavior, but I was trying not to laugh.  I'm sure I screamed a lot of things at my mother, but I can guarantee that I never threatened her that I would pick up all of my mess.  Ever.

Me: (Noticing the mess is cleaned) Okay, P, are you ready for lunch now?

P: NO! I won't eat lunch with you!  You're a bad mom!

Me: I'm sorry you feel that way.  You can go to your room and take a nap.

P:  See!?  Now I'm in trouble and it is your fault, you bad mom!

Me: You are not in trouble, you just need a nap.  Can't you feel that you are sleepy?  You will be in trouble if you keep being disrespectful, though.  Now go to your room, please.

P: I'm not going to my room! You go to your room!

Me: That is it, P! (Briskly walking in her direction, losing patience)

Then Peyton slammed the door.  And locked it.  And fell asleep.

I wasn't mad by the exchange.  I knew she was very, very sleepy.  I was a little surprised because she really doesn't behave this way, especially not lately.  She has been downright pleasant.

Aside from being surprised, I was also scared.  If this is how she is at 3, adolescence is going to hit this home hard.  I can handle it, but I worry about my poor husband.  He doesn't know what it is like.  He has sisters, but they are several years older than he is so I don't think he really got the living-with-a-teenage-girl experience.  Poor, poor fellow.  I have several years to get a handle on these things.  It might take that long to get it under control, especially since Juju likes to copy Popeye's behavior.

You should know, after her nap Peyton came up to me and gave me a hug and said, "I'm sorry I was not nice.  I was having a hard time.  I still love you.  We should snuggle for a minute."

She was so mature about it.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Why My Kids Are Awesome

They love to educate others.

Peyton: Mom, if you plant a seed in dirt it can grow into a tree and the tree gets leaves and apples grow and you can pick them!  But you wash them in water before you eat them.

Me:  Wow, Peyt!

Peyton: Did you know that or was it a surprise?

They are honest.

Me: Isn't this beautiful, Juj?

Juju: No! 'S not byoo-shoo!  I don't like it!

They keep me honest.

Peyton: May we please have ice cream?

Me: Sure, but there is only a little left so let's not tell your dad (Wink).

(A few hours later Chris walks in the room after getting home from work)

Peyton:  Mom, we have to tell Dad we ate the ice cream.

They remind me to dream big!

Me: What do you want to be when you grow up, Peyton?

Peyton: A princess and a ballerina and a person who rides elephants.  And maybe have a beard.

They remind me to make time for relaxation.

Peyton: Mom, I think it is quiet time.  Wanna snuggle and watch a movie?

They remind me to be my best self.

Peyton: Mom, do you say "crap" or "shut up" or "stupid" or "can't?"

Me: No.

Peyton:  Good.  Because we don't say that.  Those are bad words.

They remind our neighbors (who I don't know) to be their best selves.

The neighbors were screaming all kind of colorful things in front of the complex.  Peyton yelled out the window, "Hey, guys!  We don't say shut up!  It's a bad word!"  Juj supported her with an enthusiastic, "Yeah!"

They know how to brighten my day.

Peyton: Mom, are you being a grumpy ratfink?

Me: Yeah, I suppose I am a little.

Peyton: Okay.  I will sit on your lap and snuggle you for a long time and it will make you soooo happy.  Wanna read me a book?

When they get tired they don't just get cranky.  They get cranky and a little funny.

Reasons exhausted Juju has cried today:

1) She wanted to Skype Unco Annee (Uncle Andy) but nobody answered.
2) She thought she had a stinky armpit.  She didn't want to have a stinky armpit.
3) Peyton took the good mac and cheese (their mac and cheese was identical- from the exact same pot).
4) Peyton stole her nose and wouldn't give it back.
5) She doesn't want to wear tennis shoes.  She wants pirate shoes.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I love being a mother.  I love watching my girls interact with each other.  I really love that they insist that the other is their best friend.

Well, they are usually best friends.  Almost always.  Sometimes it is difficult to have a best friend/sister, though.  This is a conversation we had in our home today......

Peyton: Juj! Gimme the iPad!  I want Counting Ants!

Juj: No, thank you, Popeye.

Peyton: JUJ!  You can't say, "No, Peyton" to me!  I really need the iPad!

(Juj continues to ignore Peyton jumping around, begging, and reaching for the iPad.)

Peyton: (Collapsing on the floor) Juju ruins my life!

I seriously don't even know where she got that.  Really, where did it come from?  I suspect it has something to do with the colorful arguments that can be heard from one of the apartments in our complex. I was also a little worried because I'm pretty sure I was in jr. high before I accused anybody of "ruining my life" (Sorry, Mom).

Me: (Serious mom voice) Peyton, we do not say that about our sister.  We love each other.  Juj just started playing with that.  She got it first and now you have to wait.

Peyton: But she does ruin my life.  And I had it first!  I got it 3 months ago!

We then had a long talk about how sometimes sisters can make us feel upset, but that doesn't mean that they are ruining our lives.  We talked about how Juju brought Peyton a snack today and how good that made Peyton feel.  I pointed out that it made Peyton's life happy.  She really didn't understand.  She acknowledged that Juju made her happy with snacks, but that she ruined her life by not sharing.  The girls were invited to go downstairs to the neighbor's apartment but I thought Peyton might be able to benefit more from doing an act of service for her sister.  Peyton fought against it for a while but eventually worked really hard to make Juju's bed for her.

Me:  Peyton, you just did a really nice thing for your sister.  How did that make you feel?

Peyton:  Good.  Because I like to make beds.  And I love Juj.  But she did ruin my life, Mom.  Really.  She really did.

Me:  Well, I think that she just made you feel upset.  Your life is not ruined because you feel good now!  See?

Peyton:  Yeah.  But no.  It is still ruined....  Can I go play with Juju now?  

We are going to keep working appropriate ways to express our frustrations.  And don't worry.  The girls are best friends again.