Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Rules

I found this today while browsing Pinterest and it resonated with me so much that I had to post it here, along with my thoughts.  Thank you to Diapers  & Daisies for writing it!

25 Rules For Mothers with Daughters
1. Paint her nails. Then let her scratch it off and dirty them up. Teach her to care about her appearance, and then quickly remind her that living and having fun is most important.  I painted my toenails the other day and hesitated with Hazel demanded that I make her toes "pritty".  Why?  Because I've found myself worrying too much about the message I'm sending her with all these little "girlie" things I do during the day.  But you know what?  Not everything is about a message.  Or maybe it is.  Because after we did her toenails, she insisted we also paint Daddy's.  And we did.

2. Let her put on your makeup, even if it means bright-red-smudged lips and streaked-blue eyes. Let her experiment in her attempts to be like you…then let her be herself.  I think the less I make it this mysterious no-no, the less she'll care about it when the time comes to care about it.  It's a working theory.
3. Let her be wild. She may want to stay home and read books on the couch, or she may want to hop on the back of a motorcycle-gasp. She may be a homebody or a traveler. She may fall in love with the wrong boy, or meet Mr. Right at age 5. Try to remember that you were her age once. Everyone makes mistakes, let her make her own. 
4. Be present. Be there for her at her Kindergarten performances, her dance recitals, her soccer games…her everyday-little-moments. When she looks through the crowds of people, she will be looking for your smile and pride. Show it to her as often as possible.

5. Encourage her to try on your shoes and play dress-up. If she would rather wear her brother’s superman cape with high heals, allow it. If she wants to wear a tutu or dinosaur costume to the grocery store, why stop her? She needs to decide who she is and be confident in her decision.
We're already doing this with Hazel.  Mostly because it's not worth the fight, but also because it's fun taking her out and seeing her personality reflected in what she's chosen to wear.  I love it so much more than having control over what she wears. 

6. Teach her to be independent. Show her by example that woman can be strong. Find and follow your own passions. Search for outlets of expression and enjoyment for yourself- not just your husband or children.  Define yourself by your own attributes, not by what others expect you to be. Know who you are as a person, and help your daughter find out who she is.

 7. Pick flowers with her. Put them in her hair. There is nothing more beautiful than a girl and a flower.

8. Let her get messy. Get messy with her, no matter how much it makes you cringe inside. Splash in the puddles, throw snowballs, make mud pies, finger paint the walls: just let it happen. The most wonderful of memories are often the messy ones. I know all of my best childhood memories involved dirt, mud and bugs. Not video games and TV.  I can only hope for the same for my girls!

9. Give her good role models- you being one of them. Introduce her to successful woman- friends, co-workers, doctors, astronauts, or authors.  Read to her about influential woman- Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Marie Curie. Read her the words of inspirational woman- Jane Austen, Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson. She should know that anything is possible.

10. Show her affection. Daughters will mimic the compassion of their mother. “I love yous” and Eskimo kisses go a long way. I strive to be very affectionate with both of my girls.  Just try and keep me away from them!!!

11. Hold her hand. Whether she is 3 years-old in the parking lot or sixteen years old in the mall, hold on to her always- this will teach her to be confident in herself and proud of her family.

12. Believe in her. It is the moments that she does not believe in herself that she will need you to believe enough for both of you. Whether it is a spelling test in the first grade, a big game or recital, a first date, or the first day of college…remind her of the independent and capable woman you have taught her to be.  Both girls blow my mind every day... this shouldn't be hard.

13. Tell her how beautiful she is. Whether it is her first day of Kindergarten, immediately after a soccer game where she is grass-stained and sweaty, or her wedding day. She needs your reminders. She needs your pride. She needs your reassurance. She is only human.  Beautiful on the inside and the outside. 

14. Love her father. Teach her to love a good man, like him. One who lets her be herself…she is after all wonderful. This is the greatest gift I could have ever given my girls... a man who loves me and who I love with all of my heart.  My girls will grow up knowing what that looks like and how it works. 

15. Make forts with boxes and blankets. Help her to find magic in the ordinary, to imagine, to create and to believe in fairy tales. Someday she will make her 5 by 5 dorm-room her home with magic touches and inspiration. And she will fall in love with a boy and believe him to be Prince Charming. I look forward to this soooo much! The fort building... not them falling in love with Prince Charming.

16. Read to her. Read her Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle. But also remember the power of Sylvia Plath and Robert Frost. Show her the beauty of words on a page and let her see you enjoy them. Words can be simply written and simply spoken, yet can harvest so much meaning. Help her to find their meaning.

17. Teach her how to love- with passion and kisses. Love her passionately. Love her father passionately and her siblings passionately. Express your love. Show her how to love with no restraint. Let her get her heart broken and try again. Let her cry, and gush, giggle and scream. She will love like you love or hate like you hate. So, choose love for both you and her.

18. Encourage her to dance and sing. Dance and sing with her- even if it sounds or looks horrible.  Let her wiggle to nursery rhymes. Let her dance on her daddy's feet and spin in your arms. Then later, let her blast noise and head bang in her bedroom with her door shut if she wants. Or karaoke to Tom Petty in the living room if she would rather. Introduce her to the classics- like The Beatles- and listen to her latest favorite- like Taylor Swift. Share the magic of music together, it will bring you closer- or at least create a soundtrack to your life together.  We love dancing and singing... but we also love wrestle time where kiddos are jumping off the couches and running around the kitchen with a pot on their heads before jumping on Mommy and Daddy.  Knowing that we get to do this helps us get through the work day!

19. Share secrets together. Communicate. Talk. Talk about anything. Let her tell you about boys, friends, school. Listen. Ask questions. Share dreams, hopes, concerns. She is not only your daughter, you are not only her mother. Be her friend too.

20. Teach her manners. Because sometimes you have to be her mother, not just her friend. The world is a happier place when made up of polite words and smiles. The smiling part is a hard one for me... I didn't smile a lot as a teenager, but I will encourage my girls to put their best face (with a smile) forward.

21. Teach her when to stand-up and when to walk away. Whether she has classmates who tease her because of her glasses, or a boyfriend who tells her she is too fat- let her know she does not have to listen. Make sure she knows how to demand respect- she is worthy of it. It does not mean she has to fight back with fists or words, because sometimes you say more with silence. Also make sure she knows which battles are worth fighting. Remind her that some people can be mean and nasty because of jealousy, or other personal reasons. Help her to understand when to shut her mouth and walk-away. Teach her to be the better person. And then Mommy can come in and knock some heads together.  Because Mommy is soooo not the better person when someone is mean to her babies. 

22. Let her choose who she loves. Even when you see through the charming boy she thinks he is, let her love him without your disapproving words: she will anyway. When he breaks her heart, be there for her with words of support rather than I told-you-so. Let her mess up again and again until she finds the one. And when she finds the one, tell her.

23. Mother her. Being a mother—to her—is undoubtedly one of your greatest accomplishments. Share with her the joys of motherhood, so one day she will want to be a mother too. Remind her over and over again with words and kisses that no one will ever love her like you love her. No one can replace or replicate a mother’s love for their children. So very true.

24. Comfort her. Because sometimes you just need your mommy. When she is sick, rub her back, make her soup and cover her in blankets- no matter how old she is. Someday, if she is giving birth to her own child, push her hair out of her face, encourage her, and tell her how beautiful she is. These are the moments she will remember you for. And someday when her husband rubs her back in attempt to comfort her...she may just whisper, "I need my mommy."  Getting to comfort my girls?  Nothing better in this world.

25. Be home. When she is sick with a cold or broken heart, she will come to you: welcome her. When she is engaged or pregnant, she will run to you to share her news: embrace her. When she is lost or confused, she will search for you: find her. When she needs advice on boys, schools, friends or an outfit: tell her. She is your daughter and will always need a safe harbor- where she can turn a key to see comforting eyes and a familiar smile: Be home.  I can only hope that Hazel and Millie know that I will Be Home for them for the rest of their lives.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

To Do

I've got a lot going on in my life right now.  It's only the second week of February and I already feel like the month is almost over.  AND I'VE GOT SO MUCH TO ACCOMPLISH IN THAT TIME FRAME.  It's a bit daunting, so for the sake of keeping me sane and on target, I thought a To Do list would be appropriate.


To Do List 
In no particular order.

Cut out 98% of my daily sugar consumption. 
Cut out all soda.
Refrain from punching the intern when she blinks too loudly.

Make Millie's 1st Birthday invitations.
Refrain from punching the computer.
Actually send out Millie's 1st Birthday invitations before her birthday.
Plan a birthday party.
Figure out how a birthday cake is going to factor into that whole 98% thingy.
Browse the internet through pages and pages of 1st birthday party ideas from women who I think have too much time on their hands.  Or who have an ability to turn off the TV and actually accomplish something.
Refrain from making myself feel better with M&M's.

Retrain Millie for a 7:15 wake-up because this 6 a.m. crap is GETTING OLD.
Refrain from making myself feel better with a blended mocha.

Actually use a recipe from Pinterest for dinner one night.
Actually create a craft with the girls from one of my Pinterest boards.
Try to have a life outside of Pinterest.

Finally purchase the dress pants online that I've been putting off because I don't want to spend money.
Refrain from feeling guilty for taking food out of my kids mouth.  They're both constantly taking food out of it (and throwing it on the ground), why can't I?

Finally hang up the frames that I bought Santa brought at Christmas so that we actually have stuff on our walls.
Actually put pictures in those frames.
Actually develop those pictures to put in the frames.
Actually decide on what pictures I want to develop for the frames to hang on the walls.
Refrain from making myself feel better for my lack of organization and motivation with M&M's and a mocha.

Plan Book Club for the month.
Decide what to serve for dinner for said book.
Decide what wines to serve with said dinner.
Refrain from over consuming said wine and revealing deep, dark secrets.  Like I did last time I hosted.
Think of thought provoking questions to encourage discussion of the book during dinner so that I look thoughtful and well read. Which will make the rest of the book club think that I've totally got my schmidt together, when in reality, I'm hanging by a very thin thread.

Put away the folded laundry before the housekeepers come again in two weeks.
Figure out how to use the steam option on my new washer and dryer so that I'm actually getting my money's worth.

Stop referring to Millie as Minnie just because that's how Hazel says it.
Stop pronouncing it "Right der" just because that's how Hazel says it.

Make it through the rest of the month without a visit to the doctor.
Make it through the rest of the month without missing work due to a sick kiddo.

Wait... is this a To Do List, or a Wish List?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Someone Just Got A Technical

Dear Hazel,
I told your Daddy last night that I needed to get to work on your 27 month update.

And he looked at me as though I'd lost whatever remaining marbles I still had after giving birth twice in 16 months and politely commented that maybe we were making this too special.  In that special way of his.

"27 months?  Really, babe??"

So, fine... we won't call it your 27-Month Update.  Because, yes... I get it.  LAME.  But there's been a lot going on with you lately and I think you should know about it.

For starters... Holy crap, Batman! Does this kid ever shut up??? (Yes, I know we don't say "shut up" around here, but since you can't quite read yet, I feel like I still have some freedom with my words.)  You are SUCH a talker.  And you're getting so good at putting words together to actually tell us what you want.  Usually, that phrase is something like:  "I want applecakes, too."  Which comes out sounding like:  "Eyyyye ont appecakessss, tuuuuu."  But my favorite is when you add the "huh?" or "okay?" after such statements.  So we end up hearing things like:  "Eyyye ont appecakesss, tuuuu, huh?"  Even better, you say it over and over until we acknowledge that yes, we heard you.  And yes... good job on being polite.  And asking a question with a statement.  And blowing up the rules of the English language.  Dude... as long as you're not whining, I'M COOL WITH IT.

Secondly, I'm not sure how we're going to get your little sister to start walking if you insist on crawling around with her on the floor everywhere.  The two of you are constantly racing up and down the hallway on your hands and knees laughing it up.  That is, until sissy is able to get a hold of your hair and pull... then all bets are off and Mommy is consoling you.  I'm sure you don't understand why you get in trouble so much when Millie's also misbehaving.  You don't quite get that Millie's a bit too young for timeouts.  And you... well, you're the Timeout Queen these days.  I used to feel like a bad Mommy for putting in you in timeout for throwing a fit, but honestly... having you scream in your room is SO MUCH MORE PREFERABLE  than you screaming in the middle of the kitchen.  And it struck me the other day that this is totally what you were like as a baby.  You just needed to scream.  It didn't matter where you were or if we were there to listen to it.  And once you exorcise those demons, you seem to be just fine.  The other day, though, I had to put you in a timeout in the kitchen because you had taken a berry from your plate when you were specifically told that if you were going to have a berry, you needed to sit in your chair and eat dinner.  See.... you've got this thing with sitting at a table and eating.  In that you don't want to actually sit and eat.  You'd rather run around while shoving food in your mouth.  And that means that when we are sitting down to eat, you end up turning into a contortionist in your chair. Feet on the table, or legs behind your ear... you are all over the place.  You usually end up sitting sideways on your little chair... and then get really mad freak out when some of the food from your fork has dropped onto your leg... because, did I also forget to mention that you insist on being 2 feet away from the table whilst eating?  Yep.  Horror of horrors when a piece of scrambled egg falls on your leg.  END OF DAYS.  Lots of end of days these days.  From food alone.  

So, dinner times have been fun lately.  But, yes... you were naughty and stole a berry from your dinner plate and had to go into timeout.  But, and this was amazing to me, you knew it was wrong and didn't seem to be surprised you ended up in a timeout.  And you were sufficiently somber about it.  This... this I call PROGRESS.

Also new the last few months?  Shyness.  You... my little "Most Likely To Be Kidnapped Cuz She's So Darn Friendly".... now all of the sudden you see new people, or even people that you know but haven't seen for a while and you cling to my leg and hide your face.  Of course, this only lasts for a little bit before The Real Hazel shows up and it's go-time.

Your meltdowns have continued... as is the rite of passage for most 2-year-olds.  Our response to it has improved dramatically, though.  Which means, you'll likely see your 3rd birthday.  And if we can survive the meltdown of all meltdowns that occurred last week at The Treehouse Museum, I'd say your Daddy and I can pretty much do anything.

You still don't let Mommy do much with your hair.  Which, quite frankly, is kind of okay with me.  Because Mommy still has to deal with doing HER hair.  Add your hair into the mix and the morning is shot.  I still can't believe we rolled two girls... two girls who will depend on me to help with their hair for a good portion of the time they live with me.  WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?  But your hair... man, you've got some curls.  And I kind of think that helps me out because with the curls, it's at least semi-styled by default.

Poor Millie with her straight hair.  So. Screwed.

We love you so much, Hazel. And even though you test our patience and our wills to live at times, the good far outweighs the bad and I cannot imagine our lives without you.