Don’t kiss that frog!

my dearest little Sara,

well, it has finally happened.  the chase has begun; the giggles and long blond hair must’ve got him.  i must confess, when i saw him put his arms around you and lean in for the kiss, i was mighty proud when you shook him off and raced away.  i wouldn’t need to sic daddy on him after all.  you didn’t even look back to see if he was following you!  atta girl.

it may have been a dinosaur’s age ago, but i remember those playground chases.  all the girls, racing after one boy.  one boy, racing after all the girls.  i remember one recess when i was in the first grade, and we had cornered one boy under the play structure and tied him up (with what?  details.  can’t remember that far.).  all the girls took turns giving him a kiss on the cheek – except me.  i was far too shy and scared that my glasses would scratch him or some such.

he was my very first boyfriend (and the last for a very long time).  ah, dear dennis b..  i guess he preferred to be the chaser rather than the chase-ee.

oh, my little honey girl, do not chase those boys you want.  let them chase you.  and do not let just any boy catch you, baby.  be a butterfly and choose your catcher with care.

you’ve taken to loving fairytales recently, and the other day when we read “the princess and the frog” i found myself cringing at the lesson you were learning from this pretty princess and her toady friend.  in the fairytale of the “princess and the frog”, the frog retrieves the princess’s golden ball in exchange for 3 meals from her plate and 3 nights in her bed, after which he turns into a royal prince who had been cursed with an ugly appearance.  oh, how expensive that favour!  that frog certainly got what he wanted from the exchange.  i do understand that the morals of the story (at least, our version) are to keep your word, and to look beyond appearances, and i can appreciate both of those – do keep your word and do keep in mind that a person’s exterior is not necessarily a reflection of the heart.


do not kiss frogs.

kiss princes.

we girls tend to believe that our kisses and love can transform the ugliest of suitors.  we look beyond the things that really matter:

  • how he treats his mother
  • the jokes he tells
  • his attitude toward people who are different
  • the way he looks at and treats other women

and plenty of other very important things, and we give ourselves away.  not just our bodies.  our thoughts, our desires and hopes, our hearts.  and we still believe that we can somehow transform that ugly, ugly frog into the prince we desperately want.


frogs do not transform with kisses.  at least, not permanently.  if that frog you fancy morphs into some charming fellow with your kiss, you can trust that eventually he will probably morph back into his most comfortable form.  ribbit.

but kiss a prince, now – if you kiss a prince, he will stay a prince.  he wasn’t a prince to impress you, to win your favour, to get his pleasure.  he was a prince because it was in his nature, his character, and his choices.  and if eventually you do not want his kisses, or he does not want yours, he will still be a prince, and you can bid each other adieu with hope and thankfulness, self-respect and respect for him still in your heart.

my darling girl.  your heart is a jewel beyond price.  you carry the treasures of your laughter, your ideas, your intelligence, your character – gifts to yourselves, gifts to others, gifts to the King of Heaven, and perhaps someday gifts to a prince.  be discriminatory.  guard the mystery of you while you allow the chase.  trust the wisdom of your Father and your daddy before you give away your kisses.

and kiss only a prince.

i will be forever grateful that i did, and forever hopeful that your prince will be as wonderful as mine.

love, mommy






The story of a house and a broken resolution

On January 1st, I asked Bob what he hoped for in 2012.  It took him a long time to process that question (you know, it’s really a light-hearted inquiry, right?), and he said, “A year without any major changes, no major decisions or life-altering moves.”

I think we are in the multiple-colossal-changes-will-rock-your-life decade, that decade of marriage and babies and career changes and other major changes.  For awhile there I thought it was just us, but it seems that when you hit 30, one big decision just leads to another big decision and there isn’t really space to breathe in between.  We went from a brief year of dating/engagement/marriage (and I mean brief – but then, we’d already known each other for 2 decades so why wait?) to a summer in Africa to two children, a life-changing chronic condition, and a minivan in the space of five years, which is a pretty average time frame, I think, for those who choose to get married, but seems like a crazy time warp experience nonetheless.

And then someone recently glanced at a wedding photo on our wall and said, “Goodness, a few years really makes a difference, doesn’t it?” and I noticed the laugh lines on my face, the little silver strands in my hair (only 6, but who’s counting?) and the tired “I-know-everything-‘cuz-I’m-a-mom” smile I wore – you know, that smile that new moms who really don’t know anything wear.


So a lot of these events sprung from our hoping and planning, with a little bit of the mystery of God thrown in.  Okay, reverse that: these events sprung a lot from the mystery (and grace) of God and a little bit from our hoping and planning.  We didn’t expect growing a family would take so long (that was before they were born; now we realize how short the time actually is); we never in a million years expected to own a minivan (all minivan moms had to overcome the shame of it at some point); and we certainly did not anticipate so many career and job changes.  Thankfully, thus far each beautiful (and even terrible) event that has come by has been allowed – maybe even given – by God.

So back to Bob’s non-resolute resolution (he doesn’t believe in resolutions – no one keeps them).  We broke it.  Pretty much immediately.  In a big way.

On January 2nd I was dreaming of the house we planned to buy in two years and happened to take a sneak peak at what was available in the neighbourhood we wanted when I stumbled across the house I knew I had always wanted.  When I showed it to Bob in the evening, he initially brushed it off, but then noticed a few things that he had always wanted in a house.  Nah.  But we prayed about it, thought about it, prayed some more, and visited a realtor friend of mine.  Long story short, a long list of snags unravelled and badaboom-badabing, we had bought ourselves a house.  Eight days after committing to a no-change year.

So much for New Year’s Resolutions.

Anyone want to help us move in the middle of March? (:

The one about Bad Words

I don’t know where children learn language from.  Okay, not true – they learn it from their parents at first, of course, but we humbly don’t want to accept the credit (blame) for it.  The first worst word I taught Sara was s-t-u-p-i-d.  You see, I’m so afraid of that word already that I can only spell it.   Even yesterday when I watched “Crazy Stupid Love” and was telling Bob about it, I had to spell it.

That word actually first came from the movie “Cars,” I believe, because when Sara first blurted out “Stupid car” and I stared at her in shock, she explained that that was what the blue car said.  (Actually, I think Disney teaches our kids a lot of words we really don’t prefer – it’s just that we don’t hear them when we watch the movie, and they sound much much much worse coming out of a preschooler’s mouth).  So over Christmas, we were working very hard on eliminating the word stupid from Sara’s vernacular, because for some odd reason, that word really stuck in her mouth and came out a lot.  And sounded awful.  So the deal was, if Sara said stupid, then I got to eat her advent chocolate, and vice versa (I think I lost more chocolates than she did – I really had no idea how commonly I used that particular offending term).

I think we had mostly eliminated the word from Sara’s lips by early this month.  She now hears it anytime anyone says it, and looks with great reproof at the offender (or with shock at me, depending on who said it).  I believe my sister, my husband, and some friends of ours have been the most recent ones to declare something stupid.  No one gets away with it in our house.  We are experiencing a stupid reform in our family.

Well, we had one of those days two days ago.  Over one 30 minute period, I had three meals cooking on the stove, two children screaming for attention, and two very important phone calls to contend with.  At one point, I hung up the phone and hollered, “What a stupid day!”

Oh boy.

Twenty minutes later I was having a flashback to my childhood as my mouth foamed with the soap Sara had declared my punishment.  She won’t easily forget how disgusted I was by the soap.  She was very proud of the fact that she had mommy eat soap.  And I don’t think she’ll dare to make the stupid mistake again now that she has actually seen what happens to the mouth that says it.

Well, today my youngest added her foul mouth to the mix.  She said something that made my jaws drop and my eyes widen.  And then I couldn’t stop giggling.  “Ali, no,” I chastised her.  Sara watched me giggling, her own expression calculating and determining that Aliyah had said something hilarious.  Meanwhile, Aliyah stood at the window and repeated herself.  Loudly.  Clearly.  Again and again.

Gangsta attitude. Ish.

Honestly, I did not teach her that one.  Someone is going to have to pay.

Covering my mouth and trying desperately hard not to keep laughing, I shook my head at Sara.  Sara said it anyway.

“Aliyah said ‘fuck.'”

Yes.  Yes, she did.

Who knew what could come from those innocent lips?

PS.  Okay, I have to admit, Aliyah was attempting to say ‘fork.’  Regardless, she found the word very satisfactory.

Awaken the beast

So I wrote this before I knew the Five Minute Friday word today was Awake.  I think it took me maybe ten minutes, instead of five.  I was planning to edit before I published, but now I guess I have to take the real words without deletion or correction if I want to follow any of the five minute rules!  Here it is, baby!


I know, I know, these kinds of nights are common to all of us – the bane of our early parenting years – the factor that causes us to think things not lawful to be uttered, say things we’d never ever say in front of the Pope or the President, and do things that become horribly humiliating when later rest gives us reflection.  Bob learned very early in our parenthood that interrupted sleep unleashed the beast in his otherwise angelic wife (not) and has been more or less patient and understanding (more when I can butter him up and less when the beast turns on him).

It happened again last night.

12am – Aliyah-minutes.  An otherworldly peaceful time in the night when I can watch my beauty’s chest rise and fall in softened sleep as I pump her body full of life-sustaining vitamins (and one drug).

1:07am – The minute when a hell-piercing shriek causes me to nearly hit the ceiling.  Apparently the tragedy of losing one’s soother is that scary.

2:something – A second hell-piercing shriek sends Bob into orbit and he hurries down the hall.  No other sounds come from the room.  Not sure exactly where the shriek came from, but the sleeper continues sleeping while her mother stares at the ceiling.  The Beast began to grumble.

3:ish – Hell-piercing shriek #3.  Both parents roll over and grumble something.  Shriek is followed by whimpering.  As in, she whimpers once (loudly), and waits in silence to see who is coming.  When silence answers her, she whimpers again.  And so on.

Eventually I get a foot in my butt indicating that it is my turn.  Muttering something that is probably nasty (I really don’t remember the details) I tromp down the room.  Growing pains have now cramped up some little calves, and my grumbling becomes sympathetic as I massage and rub and whisper into her little ear little love-notes that I am not feeling, before tromping back to bed.

4:32 – the exact moment I looked at the clock, unsure of what had woken me, before a loud cry reminded me.  I suspect that my foot was less gentle than his.  The crying child woke the sleeping child, but since no one was there to kick me, I remained in the warm impression my body had made in my mattress.

6am – Aliyah-minutes.  Hubby’s turn.  Whilst he fixed vitamins and formula downstairs, I tromped back down the hall to deal with growing pains.

And here is where it gets embarrassing.  Hopefully someone will tell me they have been equally unsympathetic to wonderful little ones in the middle of the night: after a short massage, I find one of those warm-up-in-the-microwave thingies.  Unfortunately, it is the ring rather than a stuffed toy, which might have been better received.  My little patient feels the warmed up ring and the yells that come out of her could erupted a dormant volcano.  Granted, perhaps a warm fuzzy unknown shape against your bare legs in the middle of the night is an unusual experience for a three-year-old, but I do not believe the theatricals were necessary.  I’m afraid Beastly comes out, leaves little warm alien beside the freaking-out-monster that has possessed my beautiful child, and storms out of the room back to my bed.

Within half an hour, my very loving and wonderful hubby has left for work and the screamers have drifted into a now peaceful and totally deep slumber.





I am Mama Lion: Hear Me Roar!

Five Minute Fridays.

I’ve kind of forgotten about those.  They’re instigated by the Gypsy Mama, a fun blogger who I (occasionally) follow.  Here’s the premise:

  1. Write for five minutes.
  2. Do not edit.
  3. Enjoy.

So I will.  Here’s the topic:



The other day, I was literally roaring at my daughter at the play place in the mall.

I was being a lion.

And I was being stared at.

It is incredible how many people like to watch you when you are roaring at your child in a mall. Parents stare, especially when you get on your knees and crawl around after your screaming and giggling preschooler.  Passersby glance once – twice – and then their gaze lingers on the strange woman who looks completely normal but is acting completely bonkers in a very public space.  Kids are the most fun; they look at you with awe and wonder, and eventually start giggling.  Usually they try to join in, but then you notice the glare you are getting from their parents: don’t you dare roar at my child.

The funny thing is, my preschool daughter is not in the least bit fazed by her mother roaring at her in a public space.  She bubbled over with shrieks of laughter and sparkling eyes as she raced around the play space (granted, perhaps the speed was not wise in a small area swarming with children who hadn’t quite fully mastered the art of walking, but still).  When she’s a teenager, she’ll be powerfully embarrassed by the bizarre antics of a somewhat normal but very loud mother, but at the moment, all she thinks is Get away from that lion! and with great delight proceeds to do so.

I wish I would roar like that in public more often.

It’s far more fun than any other kind of roaring I’ve done before.