Good Parenting And Busy Weekends

Between 1995 and 2000, I was a fantastic mother.

What?!

You say that the boy didn’t come along until 2000, exactly five years after Hubs and I stood outside, beneath an arbor covered in wildflowers, and proclaimed that we’d try our very best to love one another forever and ever, amen?

Well.  No matter.  For those five years before Hubs and I actually HAD a kid, I was a great mom.  I knew that our child wasn’t going to eat fast food.  Like… ever.  Fast food clogged arteries and prevented optimum brain growth, and it was all made out of cow feet and chicken beaks and fried up in motor oil, right there under those Golden Arches.

I was going to use cloth diapers, because HOW HARD COULD THAT REALLY BE?  Why pollute the environment any more than it already was, after I’d contributed to the hole in the ozone in the ’80s, with all of my aerosol hairspray use?  I felt like I OWED IT to the environment to change my ways, after my big hair settled down.  And really?  Well, Mary used cloth diapers on Jesus, and all the pioneers used them, and even my own mother used them on me, so… yesCloth diapers it was going to be.

My child was also never going to watch TV, either, because we were going to enrich his little mind with ALL THE LEARNING and ALL THE ACTIVITIES!  Bless all the educational activities!

And housework?  OF COURSE OUR HOUSE WOULD BE SPOTLESS.  Children thrive in clean homes, and what kind of a mother has no time to DUST ALL THE THINGS?

And sugar?  We weren’t even going to go there.  Sugar would be for trick-or-treating and school Christmas parties, and then there would be the Great Sugar Sabbatical between December 26th and Halloween the following year.  The Lord was going to see our dedication to fresh fruits and celery sticks as snacks, and He was going to be so very, very proud of our boy’s parents.

And then?

Well, real life happened.

The boy was premature and required a decent-length stay in the NICU, where the nurses adorned his adorable bottom in Pampers.  Once he had been weaned off every tube and wire in existence and been dismissed, we took him home.  I declared to Hubs, “Tomorrow, we will start cloth diapering.”

And then we were awake all night, checking on a baby who no longer sported a heart monitor to announce to the world if things suddenly stopped beating in the middle of the night.  Hubs and I pretty much stayed one inch away from his bassinet for that entire first night at home, with our hand on his chest.

Because we were such good parents.

Which is the time we realized that EXHAUSTED PARENTS really have no time for rinsing cloth diapers out in a toilet.

The landfill is polluted because of us and all the Pampers we bought.

Eventually, the boy also learned to lean out of the Suburban window at a drive-thru, to holler out, “I want a Happy Meal, with four chicken nuggets and a chocolate milk.”  And, if that wasn’t bad enough, he quickly learned to shout from the backseat when we pulled into Starbucks, “I’ll have a caramel latte, heavy on the caramel, heavy on the whipped cream, and just one shot, please.”

Still, Hubs and I did fairly well with him.

Cue the second child.

Today, that second child of ours had an awesome day at preschool.  Yesterday, he had an awesome day at preschool.  So, to celebrate, he’s sitting here beside me, at this very moment, eating a lollipop in every color of the rainbow, which is approximately the size of a basketball.

A BASKETBALL-SIZED LOLLIPOP, PEOPLE!!

He’s sitting in the pile of crumbs from the granola bar he ate yesterday.  You know… the Nature Valley granola bars that are as hard as rocks and shatter when you bite into them, sending granola, from the very heart of the Nature Valley, crumbling all over the place??  There are no children on this planet who enjoy those solid, crunch-crunch-crunchy granola bars… except MY children.  And when they eat them, it looks like a beaver has chewed an entire forest down, leaving sawdust / granola crumbs three feet deep.  I might also add that while Thing 2 eats this giant lollipop, in the middle of a floor that was never swept last night, he’s also watching The Backyardigans on the iPad.

And do you know what?

I’m chalking it all up as a parenting win.  I parent differently now than I did before I had kids, but listen:  Let’s just encourage one another and pat one another on the backs and say, “Long live the four-pack of chicken nuggets from McDonald’s, paired with chocolate milk!”

I don’t even really know where I was going with all of that, but I thought it was important that you know what my preschooler was doing while I write this post.

Also?  Our weekend was a busy one.

Thing 2 had a play date with one of his BFFs, while their two mamas sat on a park bench, solving world problems and telling one another that take-and-bake pizzas were really BASICALLY homemade, seeing as how they are BAKED IN YOUR OVEN, WHICH IS IN YOUR HOME.

See?  We are the wind beneath each other’s wings.

Also?  Well, those two boys played and played and PUH-LAYED.  They climbed and jumped and spun and hopped and pretended to be superheros.  They laughed hysterically and shared some tears when one hit his back on the slide and the other conked his noggin on the park bench.

But, they both had a fantastic time.

And then… when I asked them to smile great big smiles for a picture, THIS is what I got:

img_3380Basically, Thing 2 whispered, “Hey!  My mom wants to take a picture.   Why don’t you look like you have to poop, and I’ll look like the cat who just ate the canary, and maybe she won’t ask us to pose for snapshots any more, when she realizes how rotten we are at it.”

Also, Hubs and some friends rented an air compressor that was so enormous, it had to be pulled on a trailer.  ‘Twas the season for traveling around town, dragging that air compressor from one house to another, to blow everyone’s underground sprinklers out for the winter.  Ain’t nobody got time for broken sprinkler pipes, come June 1st.

Hubs took the boys with him.  Apparently, Thing 2 took his chores seriously at all of our friends’ houses, as all the menfolk got busy working, and he was EXHAUSTED on Saturday night.

image1 img_7727He was so worn out, he actually slept in until 7:05 on Sunday morning.

It was exactly like an early Christmas present to his parents.

On Sunday, Hubs and the boy went into Walmart for the Big Haul…

without me.

I’m not even kidding you!  I had a meeting to go to, so Hubs took our lengthy grocery list, and he and the boy GOT.  IT.  DONE.

For the first time EVER, our bi-weekly Big Haul happened WITHOUT ME.

And there was my birthday present, early.

Add to that the fact that I met a friend in the park for two hours on Sunday, where we got to chat and chat, and talk and chat some more while the kids played, and it all panned out to be a pretty marvelous weekend.

Happy Tuesday, y’all.

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