Motherhood and the Mob

Motherhood is a tapestry, finely woven with the threads of manipulation, coercion and brilliant wit.

The similarities between a mother and a mob boss are nearly identical that their definitions could be one in the same.

godfather

There is however, one key difference…Mothers have the ability to turn what they do into a beautiful package. Motherhood truly is an art form in and of its own. A mother must control, dominate and fight a war everyday but must make it look as graceful as a well choreographed ballet, sound as lovely as a brilliantly composed piece of music and look like a painting straight from the Louvre.

One of my favorite painters, Mary Cassatt, has captured the heart of motherhood time and time again with her beautiful artwork. One look at her paintings will instantly make you feel loved, and almost make you feel like you can feel the warm embrace of your own mother and her warm breath on your cheek.

As beautiful as Ms. Cassatt’s paintings are, I know there was most likely an ugly side to each of these as well that wasn’t captured. The moments before the beautiful took shape are not the highlights but they existed and need to be recognized to fully understand the art of motherhood.

Breakfast-in-Bed

Here you see a mother and daughter snuggling in bed. What a sweet cherub with her tousled curls and her mother’s arms wrapped around her so lovingly.  The truth is, when that little girl entered the room and saw her mother with her eyes closed and softly snoring she approached the sleeping woman and started poking her and saying, “Mommy, Mommy, Momma. Time to wake up. (poke, poke, poke) Mommy, Mommy, MOMMY!”

No one saw the mother fight back her irritation lean over and whisper in the girl’s ear, “If you let Mommy sleep for one more hour, I’ll let you have 5 cookies today.”

mary-cassatt-mother-combing-her-childs-hairOh, how beautiful! A mother gingerly combing her little girl’s soft blond hair.

No one saw the tears that erupted minutes before this and how the mother threatened to cut off all of the girl’s hair if she didn’t sit still and let her get the giant snarl out. The mom let out a slight giggle that instantly quieted the child because she wasn’t sure if her mother was just joking around or perhaps just crazy enough to do it.

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And finally the bath portrait. What a tender moment where the mother is gently washing up her young girl.

No one saw when the child threw a raging fit declaring she was never bathing again. The true art of motherhood set in when the mom went on a tirade declaring, “That’s fine if you don’t want to take a bath. See if I care if your feet smell like cheese and the rats come nibble on your toes at night. See if I care if you get so dirty that no one can tell you apart from one of the hogs. You’ll get thrown out to the stye with the rest of the bunch and be served turnip heads and slop. You know that will happen if you don’t come take a bath right now little miss.”

No one saw the child’s eyes grow ten times bigger and then stoically walk to her mother’s lap so she could be washed.

I am a mom. Don Corleone has nothing on me.- Motherhoodisanart

 

 

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The Evolution of Parenting

Do you remember the episode of Little House on the Prairie when Albert Ingalls becomes addicted to morphine? It was a doozy complete with Albert stealing from Doc Baker, hitting his teacher and then going through severe withdrawals after Pa takes him away to a makeshift rehab at Mr. Edward’s cabin.

"Don't cry Pa. Albert will get over his drug addiction."

“Don’t cry Pa. Albert will get over his drug addiction.”

This episode shows that no matter the era, parenting is a really difficult job. Kids are kids. You will always have the needy infant, toddlers who throw fits for no apparent reason and of course, the rebellious teenagers.

The differences that come in to play between parenting during the 19th century and the 21st century, or even the generation before us is all of the technology and advancements to our world.

A lot of the technology and new inventions have made parenting in the present much easier. I feel bad that my mother’s generation had to use cloth diapers. I feel bad for the pioneer woman that had to wake up before dawn and start a fire in the house and bake bread even though she had probably been up all night with a baby. I know that dishwashers, microwaves and washing machines have made my role as a parent so much easier.

Technology is a double-edged sword though. It puts today’s parents in predicaments that Charles Ingalls never would have thought possible as he sat and cleaned up the vomit from one of Albert’s major puking sprees as he withdrew from that morphine.

The other day when I was in the shower, my 6 year old son came running into the bathroom screaming that my 3 year old son puked in the recliner while they were watching television. I quickly rinsed the shampoo out of my hair in a frenzy, horrifically anticipating the mess that waited for me when I got out.

I was happily surprised when I entered the living room and saw my 3 year old sitting in the recliner, watching his episode of Dora the Explorer with a blanket on his lap covered in puke. There was not one single drop on the chair or anything else. All I would need to do is deal with the blanket. As I lifted the blanket off of him I noticed something sticking out from the pile of vomit.

It was the remote control for the television.

Pioneer women may have had to make their own candles and hand sew all of the family’s clothes but they never had to figure out how to wash a remote control covered in puke.

Thankfully I got the remote cleaned up so my son can watch television again!

Thankfully I got the remote cleaned up so my son can watch television again!

How To Problem Solve

Problem solving is an essential part of life.

Around every corner is a minor incident or catastrophe just waiting to be remedied.

It takes great skill and aptitude to be able to fix some things quickly or have the knowledge to know when to take your time to think things through clearly.

Like most things in life you would think that this takes years of practice and only the wisdom that climbing the years of age brings.

Today that notion has been knocked out of my head.

A bumper harvest of pears this year from my neighbor’s tree has found me scrambling to make use of all of these golden green beauties. This week I found myself making several batches of fruit roll-ups or “fruit leather” as my dehydrator dubs them. I patted myself on the back for whipping up a delicious, healthy snack for the kids and have been doling them out generously.

Today my 3 year old son, Cesar, clutched his pear fruit roll-up in his hand and sauntered my way. He slightly cocked his head to the side, scrunched up his nose in a twitchy rabbit kind of way, put a pleasant smirk on his face and said, “I tink they have mossmallows at the grocery shopping. I tink they do.

In other words, the kid is already sick of these stupid fruit leathers and could I possibly just go buy him some soft, pillowy marshmallows.

And this folks is called problem solving at it’s highest form. A sweet purr to your voice, a cute look on your face and a bunch of words wrong and mispronounced.

Marshmallows was added to the grocery list.

Cesar wants some marshmallows

Cesar wants some marshmallows

How I Became a Better Person

Hi Everyone!

We are all trying to be better people right? As we grow and age we try to be nicer, more generous, healthier, smarter, etc. Something recently came into my life that is helping me to achieve all of that and I am writing about it over at Sarah’s site called The Sadder But Wiser Girl. She asked me awhile back to be apart of her star-studded line up week of guest bloggers!

Please hop on over to Sarah’s site and read how I became a better person!

I should warn you it is shallow and silly!

Have a great day!

Melissa

Stop Grabbing Your Uvula

There have been scientific studies done about this.

There have been books written about this.

This is not a new revelation and yet even though I know this, it never fails to surprise me how different boys are versus girls.

Boys are gross and weird.

If you don’t agree take a look at my case and point:

The other day my 6 year old son is coughing and sputtering. I ask him if he is okay and what is going on. He replies that he is fine and is just training himself to be able to hold the dangling thing in his throat without coughing and gagging.

Insert brief moment of silence while my mind races wildly.

Next I explode with, “What? What? You are grabbing your uvula? GRABBING YOUR UVULA? UVULA?? Why would you want to condition yourself to hold your uvula without coughing or gagging? Please stop grabbing your uvula!!”

I rest my case.

Don't grab your uvula

Don’t grab your uvula

We Broke Our Mom

Hi Everybody! This is Cesar, my mom’s almost 3 year old son. She normally writes here at Motherhood Is An Art but for the last few weeks my mom has been broken.

My name is Cesar!

My name is Cesar!

Last year I also wrote a piece on my 2nd birthday. It was one of my mom’s most read posts. Seeing as I have quite a way with words I thought I would fill in here for my mom and give you some insight as to what is going on at our house.

As I mentioned, I am going to be 3 years old in a few weeks. I also have an 8 year old sister and a 6 year old brother.

My brother Bency and sister Iris

My brother Bency and sister Iris

Together, we broke my mom.

It was a slow and gradual process but we put up an united front. By the last few weeks of summer we had officially “driven her up a wall”. There was a lot of walking out of the room to take deep breaths or her just standing and staring at us while her face twitched and turned beet red. There were also the sudden outbursts of long tangents with incoherent sentences about, “No one listens to me. No one appreciates anything.”

You could see my mom slowing cracking as she heard my older siblings fight for the 50th time over who got to be the dog in the Monopoly game.

You could see her mood change drastically when she made a big batch of refrigerator pickles with my sister while my brother was upstairs watching Phineas and Ferb. When my brother came down and discovered his sister got to make pickles he whined, “It’s not fair that I didn’t get to make pickles. You just love Iris more.”

My mom relented and let Bency make pickles too even though we already had more than enough. That batch managed to leak all over the inside of the refrigerator and my mom had to spend hours cleaning up the sticky vinegar and sugar brine. Plus, no one even likes the pickles.

She began teetering on the tipping point when all of us kids wouldn’t eat the big watermelon she purchased. Even though it was a seedless variety, my sister said the little white seeds were making her gag. My brother and I followed suit and pretended to gag too and refused to eat the red, sweet flesh.

Because my mom didn’t want to see it go to waste she pureed up the rest of the watermelon and made popsicles with it. We all took two licks of those frozen pops and deemed those gross too. Mom huffed and puffed and told us to go put them in the kitchen sink to melt. We all fought to get to the sink first and our popsicles fell to the floor and drips of the sticky substance splattered all over.

Someone made the mistake of asking for a different and better snack.

The day before school started my parents took us all out for miniature golf. On the 2nd hole I managed to fall into the water trap. I began screaming… not so much because I was hurt but because I was certain this was the straw that would break the camel’s back. I was sure this would put my mom over the edge. But as my mom pulled me off the concrete alligator as the water rushed over me I heard a sound I had not heard in a long time. It was my mom laughing! Instead of going on a ramble about how there always has to be some glitch in everything we do…she laughed as she pulled algae out of my hair. I thought it was a bit inappropriate seeing as her 2 year old had just experienced a harrowing ordeal but it was nice to see the sparkle in her eye and I began to laugh with her too. I didn’t even complain when I had to golf the next 16 holes sopping wet.

My mom laughing at me after I fell in the water

My mom laughing at me after I fell in the water

My mom is coming around and getting back to her old self. Although I noticed last night when I sneaked in the kitchen and stole a cookie without finishing my supper she started to say, “What do you think you’re doing?” and instead just finished with a “Whatever” as she shook her head in a tired, defeated way as her eye twitched a few times.

Maybe I’ll wait until later to tell her I pooped my pants and hid the underwear in the toy box.

Take care folks and I promise to start being really good so my mom can get back here real soon!

Cesar

I Get It. I Got It. Really. Truly.

“Do you get it?”

“Yep, I got it alright! It’s pretty darn funny!”

“No, I mean did you really get it? How do you get a baby astronaut to sleep? You rock-et (laugh, laugh, laugh)! You know instead of ROCKET, it’s rock-et. Like you’re rocking a baby in a rocking chair. Are you sure you get it?”

“Honey, I really get it. Really. Truly. I totally understand it. It’s so funny. If I could slap my knee any harder it would fall off. The thing I don’t get though is who on earth would put a clearance on a baby to go in outer space. That part doesn’t make any sense to me.”

“Well, maybe it’s dad who is a real astronaut couldn’t find a babysitter so he had to bring his baby to work with him.”

“Yeah, maybe. That sounds about like my luck too.”

And this is how it is now. My 8 year old daughter “gets” jokes finally. I never thought this day would come. For the last two years she has checked out joke books at the library and I have had to explain every single joke and she still could not comprehend them.

Just 6 months ago while going through a knock-knock joke phase she would make up her own jokes. Her favorite was:

Knock, Knock

Who’s There?

Tigger

Tigger who?

Tiggerific

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It doesn’t even make any sense. If I heard that joke once I must have heard it 5000 times and I had to do an obligatory laugh every time she told it. There were days that I often considered dunking my head in a bucket of boiling acid but I held out hope that this phase would soon pass. And it did.

For a fleeting moment I was happy when she finally started “getting” jokes. That is until she started explaining every single one to me and why they were funny. She does not have to tell me why an astronaut’s mid afternoon meal is called “launch” instead of lunch. I get it. It’s so hilarious; now pass me the bucket of boiling acid.

I really should just be content with this new stage. It’s sweet and innocent. It really doesn’t constitute much effort from me except for a hearty laugh every time to let her know “I got it. I really, really got it!”

Besides, I’m sure I’m going to really despise the next stage; the next stage when she “gets” jokes like: “When life gives you lemons, stick them in your bra.”

“Do you get it? Instead of making lemonade you stick them in your bra because your boobs are as flat as pancakes.”

Yep, I got it. Totally get it. It sure is funny. It’s actually Tiggerific!

cartoon

 

 

6 Things Your Child Will Never Say

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We recently moved my youngest son out of his crib and into a regular bed. Seeing as we have no further use for a crib; I listed it on Craigslist the other day. I posted a picture of it, a very brief description and the price of $40. It’s not a fancy crib by any means and I didn’t advertise it as one. It is clean, sturdy and does the job.

A man called shortly after I posted it and asked if he and his wife could come look at it. We set up a time and they came. The man was very friendly while the woman wouldn’t even look in my direction or say hello. I showed them the crib which the man seemed very enthusiastic about. The woman on the other hand rolled her eyes, shot her husband a glare and when he asked her if she was okay with it, she shook her head in a way that indicated she was completely disgusted.

I have no idea what the lady expected for $40 but apparently she was hoping for something along these lines:

Even though I kept my mouth shut I really wanted to tell that lady just how quick your child’s time in the crib goes by. You blink a few times and they are ready to go into a regular bed. Also, there is a chance your kid won’t even sleep in it. Only 2 out of 3 of my kids spent any considerable length of time in theirs.

I also wanted to tell her that her child would never say any of these things:

1. I know I could learn my ABC’s better if I just had a proper crib.

2. I promise I’ll stay asleep until 8 am if you just buy me a better crib.

3. You are the worst parents ever for buying this junky crib.

4. Tommy has a better crib than me so I bet he will be valedictorian of his graduating class. 

5. This crib is a bigger embarrassment to me than the time I had a blow out diaper at Story Time at the library.

6. I can only picture a life of hard drugs and alcohol because I had to spend my baby years sleeping in this cheap crib.

Iris crib

 

 

A Show of Hands Please

A hunched over figure, taking slow, methodical steps made it’s way through the yard as I peered out the window. It appeared to be a crippled old lady, bent over by the years of old age.

In actuality it was my 8 year old daughter a few months ago making her way home from school with the weight of her backpack crumpling her over and slowing her process.

When she entered the house I helped her remove the monstrous backpack and looked inside to find a book the size of Cincinnati. It was entitled “The Encyclopedia of Dogs”.  I asked her where it came from and she replied that she checked it out from the school library that day. Despite being alarmed by the weight and size of this tome, I wasn’t surprised at all by the title and it’s content. For the past year my daughter had been checking out books from the library every week about dogs.

5

Books are always coming home about Yorkshire Terriers, Huskies, English Sheep Dogs, how to care for dogs and how to train dogs. This new book was the mother load though as far as information. It contained hundreds of different breeds as well as common problems that exist within each dog. It explained how to get rid of fleas and mites in ears.

When my daughter wants something she goes above and beyond to gain knowledge on the subject and THIS GIRL WANTS A DOG!

I know, I know, you’re reading this and thinking, “Well, get that girl a dog.”

Iris pic3

It does seem like the simple solution to prevent my daughter from breaking her back carrying huge books around but there is so much hesitation behind my willingness to welcome a furry canine into our family. The biggest factor is that I have 3 children who still need so much care and attention. I just don’t think I can take on the responsibility of one more thing at this time. I’ve told my daughter this on numerous occasions and just when I think she understands and is willing to wait a while longer she brings me this hard core sell the other day:

Daughter: I really think having a dog around will make your life easier.

Me: How so?

Daughter: If we have a dog and one of us kids gets hurt you will no longer have to kiss our wounds. The dog can just lick them.

Me: I guess that would be a time saver considering how often you kids fall down and get hurt.

Daughter: If the boys and I are not willing to go get you something when you ask; the dog can do it. Dogs are great at fetching things. Just don’t ask it to get you a can of soda; it’s teeth might puncture the can.

Me: Great point. You and your brothers have been a bit lazy lately.

Daughter: The last thing is; I know that if we have a dog around there will be no more fighting between us kids. We won’t have anything to fight about because there will be a dog here to play with.

Before I can say anything, my 6 year old son comes bounding into the room and asks, “What are you talking about? Did someone say we are getting a dog?’

My daughter pipes in with, “I don’t know, I am trying to convince Mom that getting a dog is a good idea. I told her that if we get a dog that we won’t fight anymore.”

I will let you be the judge if my family should get a dog after you hear the next conversation:

Son: Yes, there would not be anymore fighting. I can walk the dog and she can feed it.

Daughter: No, I’m older so I should walk the dog and you feed it.

Son: THAT’S NOT FAIR! I AM TOO OLD ENOUGH! JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE OLDER DOESN’T MEAN YOU GET TO DO EVERYTHING!

Daughter: OH YEAH MR. POOPY BUTT? YOU WOULD JUST LET GO OF THE LEASH AND THE DOG WOULD RUN AWAY AND THEN WE WOULD NEVER GET ANOTHER DOG AND IT WOULD BE ALL OF YOUR FAULT!

Son: I WOULD NOT! YOU ARE SO MEAN! YOU ARE THE MEANEST SISTER IN THE WHOLE WORLD! IF MOM AND DAD LET US GET A DOG I WOULD HIDE IT FROM YOU SO YOU COULD NEVER SEE IT! IT WOULD BE ALL MINE!

A show of hands please for all those in favor of my family getting a dog!

Iris pic

How To Raise a Well-Rounded Child (Or Not)

I’ll be the first to admit; my children are not well-rounded individuals.

My daughter is a reading maniac and can rock your socks with the amount of author knowledge she knows. My middle son gives me a run for my money when it comes to a game of chess and recently my 2 year old drew a stick person that has catapulted him into the ranks of Picasso.

This is usually how you will find my daughter

This is usually how you will find my daughter

Why can they do these things?

I can only attribute it to the fact that these are the things that I like to do. These are the things they see me do.

When it comes to sports though; that’s a whole other story.

I spent a lot of time in my youth at hospitals after my forays with sledding, tree climbing, tennis, softball and general lack of grace.

Therefore, as I entered adulthood I pretty much shied away from anything physical. My husband is really no different. He spent his short-lived baseball career as a child picking grass in the outfield. I think my children were kind of doomed from the get-go with the make-up of our DNA.

This has not stopped us from signing our children up for sporting activities. I do want them to be well-rounded. I want them to try new things. I want them to understand about sportsmanship, the importance of exercise, and the difference between a basketball and tennis ball.

Our adventures into this arena have been comical at best. It’s clear we do not have the next athletic phenom on our hands after sightings of my son scoring goals for the other team in soccer, my daughter dancing like Elaine from Seinfeld or just general wincing from all of them when a ball gets thrown their way.

Part of this is due to their young age and I’m sure their hereditary genes but a large part of it falls on me. They do not see me do anything remotely athletic.

This summer I am trying to change that. We are utilizing our pool pass to the fullest. I dusted off my old baseball glove and I have been giving lessons on jump roping without trying to injure myself in the process.

It pains me to do these things both figuratively and literally because in my head I am thinking about all the great art projects I want to do and all of the wonderful books I want to read with them as I am sweating my hiney off.

Will it pay off in the end? I don’t know but we’ll give it a shot this summer.

I do know that after this summer I am going to sit down with the 2 year old and work on his artistic skills more. A talent like his can not be wasted! Maybe Tiger Woods could make a hole-in-one in golf at the age of 3 but he could draw a stick man like this?

This is my 2 year old's picture. I drew the guy on the right and asked him if he could do that. This was his first try!

This is my 2 year old’s picture. I drew the guy on the right and asked him if he could do that. This was his first try!