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3 years ago

1511 words

Photo: It just… it just keeps coming. I bet you that we won’t be able to find the little slide thingy by Sunday afternoon!

I listened to one of the other moms at preschool today explain to me that she had to go through seven miscarriages, two of which were viable babies (24 weeks) before she got her precious two. She has two beautiful and sugar-sweet and sincere daughters who I love very much, and I admired this woman before, but to know this about her now…

I have been thinking this week about parenting and mixed messages and I’ve been feeling a little bit guilty about how impatient I’ve been with the boys. I feel like I’m swimming against the current sometimes: I’m really trying not to raise two entitled little children and, right now anyway, the first words that come out of my boys’ mouths are “I want” and then anything and everything, usually in that whining voice that sends my blood pressure soaring.

Yesterday was an especially trying day. I took the boys out to Wegmans because I needed a few things for kinklings and other weekend cooking, and the boys are obsessed with the race car carts that they offer for kids. I’m not usually into getting the gross carts that are “just for kids” but I appreciate that these race car carts keep the boys occupied and they can accommodate two kids at the top of the cart, instead of at the bottom where they fall out or can escape. Of course, when we got there, all the special carts were being used by other families. So Major had to walk while Minor sat.

And Lord did they whine.

“I want a race car cart.”

“I want some cheese.”

“I want that thing.”

“Mommy, I want to get that thing.”

“But Mommy, I want that race car cart. I hate walking.”

Please, sweet Lord, stop it.

From the moment we got into the store until the moment we left. Whining consistently. Wegmans is overwhelming by yourself, let along with two children in your ear.

I offered to get the boys a “special lunch” from the sub shop. We went to the line and they decided they wanted grilled cheese (not offered). So I said I’d make them some at home. Off to the deli counter we went. I bought very nice (and mild) colby jack and munster. I said they’d be great sandwiches. The man at the counter gave them both slices of the colby jack, which they took and thanked the man for. Minor ate his quickly and then immediately asked for another slice.

And whined about it until we left.

And when I acquiesced and gave him another slice for the ride home, he ate it quickly.

And whined for another one.

And when we got home, they whined while I put the groceries away. And while I was making the sandwiches for them.

And when I put the sandwiches on the their plates, Major took 2 bites and decided he was done. Minor just screeched before drinking his apple juice. “I want peanut butter jelly!” he finally exploded as I sent them off to nap.

I exploded. “Stop whining!” 

I know that the boys are 2 and 4, they are completely controlled by their Ids, they don’t actually know how they sound, and they are not adults, but… I hate it when my children are given an inch and then go for the mile. I hate that they think the world is on-demand for them and that they aren’t even required to give their patience to the world. I hate that everything needs to be a negotiation right now, that not only am I required to give them all of the goods and services they need but I must also navigate and honor their need for input and commentary at every given moment.  I’m trying to teach them how to be satisfied with what they have and how to properly ask for more at appropriate times. Ursa Major is falling into that rhythm of “I want it, so you should go to the store and get it” or worse, “I see it at the store. I want it. You should buy it for me. I am going to make a big scene unless you do.” This is, in my point of view, outrageous. It’s not the parent I am. I know that there are other moms at our preschool who are (they have the means, I guess), but even if I did have the means, I wouldn’t be that person. My boys aren’t Gods. They aren’t presidents (yet). The sun does not rise and fall on their whim. And not all of their thoughts are important thoughts, nor are all of their wants.

There. I said it.

My boys aren’t too precious. They’re precious. But not too precious. I love them. I love them so much, I am not afraid to tell them no. I am not afraid of their disappointment. I am not afraid of their sadness. I wish that some of the other adults around that would respect my decisions about that. There was a time when I’d get impatient with other adults about this: get on the train! Why are we committing ourselves to raising another generation of entitled ass suburban children?

But then I listened to a woman who I admire tell me that it was easy for her to get pregnant, but not easy for her to stay pregnant. Preciousness lost. Many times. And there are women at our preschool who couldn’t get pregnant and spent a lot of time/money/trouble to become so multiple times. Preciousness hoped for. Preciousness prayed for. Preciousness achieved at great cost.

It makes sense.

My boys are precious. This parenthood thing is precious.  There is privilege in it. Not every person who wants the opportunity will actually get the gig.

My boys are miracles. Miracles I wasn’t really looking for until they came. I didn’t do anything for them, in context. They came to me. They chose me. They made it pretty easy. They are precious miracles I didn’t work for. When they raise their voices with their “I want” for the 50th time, I hear nails on a chalkboard.

Others hear something totally different. I have to remember that.

This doesn’t change my philosophy for my sons. I’m parenting with different goals in mind for my boys. I have high expectations for their behavior and their outcomes and I’m not going to compromise that because the parenting flavor of the moment is “they should always be happy. When they’re not happy, you should move all of the mountains until they are. Never compromise on their feelings. They shouldn’t and you shouldn’t.” That noise, I think, breeds a contemptuous person. I refuse to do it.

But this realization gives me the kind of definition and context I’ve been searching for lately as I explore yet another level of otherness at my preschool (thanks, Mom! You totally did this to me!). There have been a few times when I’ve told my kid “no” and he’s disappointed and then a teacher or even another mom goes through extraneous motions to ensure his satisfaction or at least a resolution. This makes me resentful (sometimes justified, sometimes not so) when i need to exercise some grace instead. Knowledge can sometimes breed patience. Sometimes.

Sunshine and sleep and not being cooped up with the boys would probably help, too.

That was heavy for a Friday. Sorry, dear reader. Shall I wish for you some lighter things, perhaps? Like more fluffy, fluffy snow? NO!? hahaha. I’m just kidding. How about some delicious chocolate chip cookies instead? That’s my new favorite recipe. Use bread flour for it. And add just a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg. And instead of 2 cups of the semi-sweet chocolate, split it 1 cup semi-sweet and 1 cup white chocolate. You’ll thank me later. Maybe I can wish you something pretty and kind from your sweetheart, as big as a bouquet of your favorite flower or a small as a beautifully written note. Actually, dear reader, that’s what I’ll really wish for: simple words from someone you love/admire/care about, expressing something warm and wonderful just for you. Three words or three hundred. Something to touch your heart during this Valentine’s Day weekend. And if you are a person without a sweetheart, I hope you will still know that you are loved and worthy of the love and admiration that many people have for you. I hope that you’ll remember that love and admiration are expressed in a million different ways and, sometimes, the three words just aren’t enough and can never be enough. But a warm smile, a good meal, a kiss on the cheek, a hug in parting… they can all mean more than a thousand words.

No, seriously. These cookies. You want them. Go make them.
No, seriously. These cookies. You want them. Go make them.

Here’s hoping that cupid’s arrow flies in your direction. Until Monday, take care.

22 Replies to “[Quiet Thoughts] Of Preciousness”

  1. Totally making these cookies tomorrow. We’re going to need them for the blizzard.

    These are the hard days, sweet lady, but telling the kiddos “no” is just good parenting. I put the boys to bed at 7pm in those days… because little boys need sleep, and also because I just couldn’t listen to it any more. They have such a cozy, awesome life it’s difficult to deal with the Id. So many many many times I thought, “Oh, I’ll GIVE you something to whine about!” And then when you think bedtime cannot come soon enough, the world throws a bit of perspective in our path… and we kiss our lovelies and make cookies. You are a gem. I love Quiet Thoughts!

    1. Did you make them!? How did they turn out!! I was supposed to get sushi for dinner but the SNOW ruined it! I’m about to take a flame thrower to all of this snow, I swear! Just start laughing maniacally and stuff…

      1. Nope. Got lazy. Drank an entire bottle of wine throughout the day, instead. But tomorrow, for sure! Church will be impossible, so I’m off the hook for organizing coffee hour and there will be many hours to make bread-flour cookies. Because, like, we totally need the calories.

        1. Church is cancelled! Which is actually not a great thing because I was hoping to get some direction/inspiration on an exercise/meditation to do for Lent this year. I’d like to actually make it an EXERCISE this year, not just a “I’m grumpy for 40 days because I gave up something I like” kind of thing. Lord knows this winter has made me grumpy enough! What do you do for Lent? I’d love a new idea!

          Let me know what you think of the cookies! I’m looking for new recipes to post more often!

          1. For the past five years or so, I’ve given up drinking. Not just my beloved bubbles, but all spirits. I honestly look forward to a completely sober, reflective Lent. Brings another celebratory level to Easter morning (my all-time fave at Church). Our rector posted a video of his walk from the rectory to the Church this morning that looked so treacherous, none of us is going. My car is another white blob out there. The snow drifts are reaching the bottom of the basketball hoop net. THIS IS RIDICULOUS.

  2. YOU are such a good mom.
    Boys can be a handful at those ages. Children are always testing their limits and boundaries because they are curious. They want to break out and learn, take risks, and go on adventures. That’s who they are. Your “rules” and “laws” show them how far they can go but they also mean “security”. There is comfort in things that never change, that are constant. There is safety (sometimes quite literally) when they live within those boundaries. This is one way you love them, like a swaddling blanket around infant – safe, secure, protected, and cherished.

    Stay safe. I can’t believe you have another snow storm is coming. More chances to cherish your little miracles. 🙂

    1. Thank you for this! So reassuring and needed right about now. I think all of the snow has my internal compass out-of-sorts! There are days when i know that I frustrate them just as much as they frustrate me. And that’s all part of the love that goes into these relationships. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be interesting, yeah?

      The snow ruined my Valentine’s sushi dinner! Grrrrr! And we are getting MORE in the middle of the week, too!!! Why!? I wish I could hibernate…

    1. You don’t have to make them with the spices. That’s just me being extra. Alton Brown’s Chewy chocolate chip cookies recipe calls for bread flour because something something protein content and something something gluten. So, anyway, I got into the habit of using bread flour instead of all purpose for making these sorts of cookies. May not make a difference AT ALL, so don’t let me spook you! Alton is very specific in his recipe as to why and, well, his recipe (called “the chewy” if you want to google it) was my favorite chocolate chip recipe until I encountered this one. So he rules and I follow him blindly. 🙂 Bad answer, but it works for me!

      1. Haha LOVE the AB! I had his cookbook and it was totally like that, but bloody awesome read. Too bad I can’t remember a damn thing I read 🙁

        So to make sure I don’t flub this completely, can you do just the standard CC recipe on the back if the Nestle chips bag, but just swap out the flour and chips? Or do I Google Alton Brown’s recipe and substitute? Sorry for the questions–total kitchen idiot here.

        1. Not a problem!

          Ok, a few things. First, they are ghirardelli cookies, NOT Nestle. And, actually, I highly recommend the ghirardelli chips over the nestle for two reasons: first, I saw them do a taste test on America’s Test Kitchen and pretty much nobody liked the Nestle chips. Turns out, Nestle manipulates their formula in a way that there isn’t a lot of cocoa fat/solids, and they are basically just sugar with cocoa flavoring. Ghirardelli (which won that taste test) has way more of the good stuff from the cocoa (in essence, they aren’t cheap because they have more actual chocolate content). Second, after cooking with them for myself, I now can taste the difference between the ghirardelli and the nestle and I, too, prefer that taste. Ghirardelli is NOOOOT cheap. Totally not. But I bought the bag anyway and I didn’t regret it. I think that the two bags I bought this week at wegmans were ON SALE at 3.99 a bag. Each bag contains about 1 1/2 cups of chips (not a lot at all. outrageous. but WORTH it.)

          I should note that I was first given these cookies by a preschool mom earlier this week and both me and my husband FELL OVER at the first bite of them. I sent her an email immediately after dinner basically begging her for the recipe and then she sent me the link. I was like, damn. I’m a believer!

          So anyway, invest in the chocolate. And use their recipe:

          http://www.ghirardelli.com/recipes/chocolate-chip-cookies/

          The only difference between what that woman did and what the original recipe calls for is that she split up the chocolate: instead of 2 cups of semi-sweet, she did 1 cup of semi-sweet and 1 cup of white chocolate. I’m pretty sure it will be delicious no matter what you do.

          You really can’t screw this up. The flour and the spices were me tweeking because I’m never satisfied with what I’m given. This other mom made the cookies just following the recipe on the bag (which is the same as the link I shared) and those cookies were the bomb dot com! You cannot make a bad decision. I swear!

          1. thank you sooo much for the info. trying to get my mom to try anything here is like pulling teeth. Jaysus, just try it already. finally broke her down and we’re gonna give it a shot next week when the temps drop. first step: hunt for supplies…

      1. Gonna have to git on it! Gettin too hot to bake round here, 84′ today. Can it be just any bread flour, or does it have to be fancy kind? Never baked a bread.

        Dude, I better not have to buy like a thirty-pound bag to make 12 cookies lol. I hate that. You find a killer recipe that calls for a dash of something; but the only place that carries it is like Farm and Fleet or SAMs club, so you have to buy like a barrel of it. However, it comes with a free tractor, so that’s cool.

        1. LOL don’t you love that!? I always giggle at the 5 pound tub of hummus. Like… why are we doing this? That’s just wrong…

          Anyway, no need to be fancy and no need for a ton. If your store brand carries it, go ahead. I love King Arthur flour for the stuff I just want to be PERFECT. But that is for special occasions (it’s expensive like whoa). I have costco-sized bags of all purpose flour AND bread flour because that’s how much I bake. They both last me about 3 months, 4 on slow periods (I bake way less in the summer, clearly).

          but seriously, you don’t NEEEED the bread flour. The all purpose will do just fine! That’s what the original recipe calls for!

          1. Costco. You asshole lol. Make some cookies she says. I have a wheat field on hand she says.

            I’m thinking you should fly down here with some in a ziploc just to see if you make it through security.

  3. I came across your post, I am new to writing on WP and I was just checking out different blogs. I really like the strength in the vulnerability of your writing. Thanks for that!

    1. Welcome to Word Press! I hope that you’ll find the community to be as supportive and intellectual and wonderful as I have! I love this place! And I’m so glad that you found my blog! 🙂 Thank you for your compliment… I feel just as new to writing now as I did the first time I wrote a post. This is a fun, scary, wild thing to do! I’m grateful that something resonated for you.

      And I hope you’ll come back again soon!

      1. Thanks! I will definitely keep reading some of your stuff and i am curious to see more of this community and excited about finally taking the step to do some blogging of my own!

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