Why Our Kids Deserve Our Time Now, Not In “Just A Minute!”

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Mom! Mom! Mom! Mooooommmmmm! Look. I’m a Ninja Turtle.

“I’ll be there in just a minute!” I yell to my preschooler for the 50th time today.

He wants to show me his Lego creation. A slight variation on the one I already got up twice in the last 10 minutes to see.

I summon all the enthusiasm I can muster on a Tuesday afternoon and go look at what he built. Again. It looks like the ruins of a house that’s been in an earthquake. At least a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. One that caused massive structural damage and resulted in Lego people stuck to the crumbling roof of their house.

“It’s awesome!” I say.

See, I’ve learned it’s important to be present for our kids now, not when it’s convenient, because it’s never convenient. Even though we’re tired. Even though we’re busy. Even though there’s 100 things we’d rather do than look at a Lego house for the millionth time or watch his Ninja Turtle and dino puppet routine again.

Fighting the urge to tell my son “just a minute” is something I wrestle with everyday. Of course, there are many situations where it’s unavoidable. I’m cooking dinner and can’t leave it alone. Ha! Just kidding. I don’t cook. OK, my husband is cooking dinner and he can’t leave the water ¬†boiling unsupervised. Or I’m in the middle of an important phone call.

Kids having to occasionally wait for our attention teaches them patience. But it’s too easy to brush them aside over and over again for our convenience. Because we’re in the middle of a TV show. Because we’re cleaning the bathrooms. Because we’re just not in the mood.

No one tells you at your baby shower when they hand you the adorably gift-wrapped onesies that kids are exhausting. They don’t say “little Katie is going to have massive poop blow-outs that will probably ruin all these precious outfits I’m giving you. And when she’s done pooping, she’s going to want all of your attention. And then more of it after that.”

No one tells you that as your kids get older, they only get more demanding of your attention.

That they often try to get your attention in the least-appealing ways possible.  Like screeching really loud. Or yelling inappropriate things. Or hitting. Of course, ignoring the more positive calls for attention just make these negative ones worse and more rampant.

No one tells you “kids are annoying”. But they are. They’re super cute and squishy, but they also grate on your nerves. Hearing “Mooooooommmmm!” over and over isn’t exactly easy listening.

It’s so tempting to tell our kids “just a minute”. But when we do that, inevitably something truly important pops up that we have to take care of. And that minute with our kids is lost forever.

Maybe we just lost the chance to see that slightly altered Lego house for the zillionth time. But maybe we missed the chance to demonstrate our support of their creativity. Maybe we lost the opportunity to have our kid legitimately beat us at Zingo and gain some much-needed self confidence. Maybe we lost the chance to snuggle and tickle and tell jokes, if even for a few minutes in between laundry loads.

Minutes turn into hours and hours turn into days. Let’s give our kids the best of our days.

A Microwave Mom’s Pumpkin Spice Cookie Tutorial

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These are what’s left of my cookies. Don’t worry. With some practice, you too can rise to my level of Pinterest expertise glory.

What would fall be without pumpkins?

And pumpkin spice, and pumpkin spice lattes, and pumpkin spice latte cookies and pumpkin spice latte cookie cheesecake?

Of course, someone has to tell you about the latest recipes for these seasonal delights, and who better than a mom blogger? We’re moms, after all. We’re domestic. Our kitchens are always sparking clean and smell of pumpkin bread. We have pumpkin spice running through our veins.

In the spirit of the season, I’d like to share with you some steps I recently took to craft some delectable pumpkin spice cookies for my family. From my home to yours.

  1. Swing by the grocery store because we’re out of sandwich bags and fruit. Happen by pre-sliced ready-to-bake cookie dough section. See the pumpkin spice cookies and think “How festive. My husband will love these. Maybe I can barter these in exchange for him Swiffering the floors. Or putting away his piles of laundry. It’s sad I have to bribe him to put away his own laundry, but anyway. These are festive.”
  2. After dinner that night, decide to plop the cookies in the oven out of the goodness of my heart while my husband watches Avengers: Age of Ultron. No bartering required. Because that’s the kind of loving, domestic wife I am.
  3. Use promise of cookie to bribe preschool son to put down his makeshift Tinkertoy weapon and take a bath.
  4. Carefully pull apart the cookies with my bare hands along the pre-sliced lines, and place them on the baking sheet.
  5. After 20 minutes, the cookies are ready. They smell fantastic. My husband decides that for the first time ever, he is too full for a cookie and not in the mood.
  6. My husband pauses his movie to put our son in bed, who has brushed his teeth and forgotten about the cookie.
  7. Sigh. Eat two cookies myself despite already having snacked on candy after dinner.
  8. Think oh, well. There’s always tomorrow to promise I’m going to walk it off and then lose track of time until it’s too late and I have to go get my son from preschool.

So, there you have it. A slice of my pumpkin spice life. From this mom blogger to your table.

Happy Halloween, everyone.

Kid Not Your Mini Me? That’s A Good Thing

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If you’re anything like me, you probably fantasized for much of your life about having a little mini me one day.

Yes, there’d be a partner in the equation, but their genes wouldn’t matter much. Or something like that.

Of course, the reality of parenthood is that our kids will inevitably be everything we don’t expect them to be, and often, nothing like us. Sometimes, nothing like us or our partner.

My mini me fantasy didn’t evolve much from the time I was a little girl to my first pregnancy five years ago.

I’d pop out a ruddy-faced baby with thick, dark hair like I had. She’d be kind of a funny-looking thing, like yours truly, but then evolve into a precocious, cute toddler with brown pigtails.

She’d talk a lot but stutter, and be physically awkward. She’d have a crazy imagination. I’d tell her it would all be OK, because, after all, I turned out alright.

Needless to say, none of that happened. I had a boy, and he was one of those rare babies who pops out gorgeous. Yes, I’m biased, but he was really a looker. Wispy, dark blond hair. A flawless complexion.

He grew into an agile, coordinated toddler. Worst of all, he was fearless. As soon as he was able, he was climbing on rocks and walking along narrow ledges.

I was a big mommy’s girl and homebody, but he wasn’t. He never really liked to be held. He’d rather sit by himself and talk to you. He’s super smart. Has a memory like an elephant. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning.

He loved daycare and then preschool. When I come to school to pick him up, he runs away begging for a few more minutes.

He’s a lot like my husband in looks and personality, but not exactly like my husband.

I recently had my second child. When I found out in the ultrasound she was a girl, I did the ugly cry. I couldn’t believe it. I was convinced after the birth of my son I’d have another boy, and I certainly wasn’t going for three.

Here it comes, I thought, my mini me.

Not so much.

She, like my son, came out gorgeous. Porcelain skinned. Big, long-lashed eyes. Auburn hair. She looks a lot like my sister who I look nothing like. Go figure.

In some ways, she is similar to me. She’s a momma’s girl. She likes to cuddle. The rest remains to be seen. I’m sure no matter what she’s like, she’ll be very much her own person.

That’s the beauty of parenthood, isn’t it?

We’re not here to replicate ourselves. We’re here to facilitate new, unique life with all its perfections and imperfections. We’re here to help mold that life to be the best it can be. The kind of life that changes things, lived by a person who comes up with new ideas no one’s thought of before.

All on our kids’ terms, not ours.