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

I’m In England

Hi Folks!

Today you can find me in England!

Okay, actually it is just a blog out of England called Little Steps run by my friend Dean. She is originally from the Philippines and is now living in the most charming area of England by the ocean with her husband and daughter.

She asked me to partake in her monthly Chat With A Mom and I graciously accepted. So hop on over and find my answers to her burning questions!

October Chat With Moms

Also, I believe it is tomorrow you will find me over at the Sadder But Wiser Girl’s blog doing a guest post about what made me a better person (it is probably not at all what you expect)! I will be back with the link when that post comes up!

Have a great day!

Melissa

Beautiful Minds

I looked out the window and saw my children all huddled around the slide on the swing set peering at it. I continued cooking supper and would steal glances every now and then. All of them stayed put in their places and every once in a while someone would throw their arms in the air and say “Yes!” or “Go, Go, Go!”

Curiosity filled me but I was intent on getting the meal ready.

Soon, my husband arrived home from work. I saw him walk across the yard and approach the children. He entered the house shortly after and announced, “Please make sure those kids wash their hands good before supper.” When I asked why, he informed me the kids were having slug races.

Slug races? What is a slug race? I had to run out and see for myself.

The kids having slug races

The kids having slug races

Apparently my 6 year old son discovered 3 slugs and everyone decided they wanted to enter them in a race to see who could get down the slide first. Surprisingly, even at a downward incline, slugs move at a very slow pace. My kids had engaged in this activity for over an hour and it probably could have entertained them much longer as the slugs had only completed half of their course when I called them in for dinner.

The racers

The racers

There are days that I lose faith that children remember how to play. As they grow older their imaginations wane as they are introduced to technology and television. The phrase of “I’m bored” is added to their daily language. The simple things they used to find enjoyment in are now babyish.

And then something like slug races comes along.

It restores my hope that they do know how to be creative. They can find pleasure in nature. They are satisfied with the simple joys that this world has to offer. They don’t always need something blinking and beeping to keep them entertained. They don’t need something that has come in a colorful box and found on a toy store shelf.

They just need their beautiful minds.

And they just need to wash their hands good before supper.

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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

The Battle Wounds of Childhood

The nearing end of summer signifies a great change my family will soon embark upon. No, not just starting school. Something that impacts us even greater.

The battle between summer and childhood is coming to an end.

The war that breaks out each year around the days when it starts to get warm is not one necessarily of violence or animosity. The attacks are not planned and there is no general leading the fight. It is merely incidents and accidents that weave their way through little children brought on by the force known as Summer.

Summer has a cruel way of luring children outside to play. It makes them run, jump, ride their bike and roller skate. And then without warning it knocks them down and laughs in their face.

This is where I come in. As a mother to 3 children I am constantly tending to a scraped knee, elbow or bump to the head. It seems my role as infirmary nurse is never done and my supplies of band-aids, antibiotic ointment and ice packs are always in need of replacement.

It doesn’t help that my two older children have contracted a strange addiction to band-aids and require them for every little injury regardless if there is broken skin or blood. The band-aids act as a sense of security and my children apply them generously to everything that even remotely hurts from small bumps to stubbed toes.

If band-aids were an indication of a wounded soldier my children would definitely earn a purple heart.

In this war between Summer and childhood there is no white flag to wave. There is no truce to sign. You must just wait it out until the chaos subsides and we enter the autumn and winter months when there are fallen leaves and snow to soften the blows.

Until next year when Summer rears it’s ugly head in our part of the world, lures children outside to ride their bikes and then knocks them to the asphalt with a roar of laughter and the fight between the two parties starts again.

Here is a picture I took of Bency the other day. Notice the band-aids on his eye, knee and a toe!

Here is a picture I took of Bency the other day. Notice the band-aids on his eye, knee and a toe!

 

* Also, check out MomTimes4’s cartoon today that she did with the idea I submitted!

There Really is a Candy Land

Do you lie to your children?

I do.

I tell them things like, “No, I didn’t put onions in the casserole,” or “We have to leave the park NOW. They are closing it early today,” or “Sorry, I don’t have any money for a bag of M&Ms.”

Two years ago I told my kids that there really was a place called Candy Land. This isn’t a lie. Candy Land truly does exist as I mentioned in a previous post called Yes Dear, There Really is a Candy Land.

Thanks to my mom, I really got to take my children to Candy Land this past weekend.

My mom has spent the last 6 months creating Candy Land in her backyard for my kids and many more. She found almost everything at rummage sales or the thrift store and then went to work handpainting everything herself. She also made quite a few of the things with her saw and power tools. She is truly a remarkable lady who brought so much joy to kids and adults alike with this labor of love.

Enjoy the photos that I captured on that glorious day!

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That’s my mom on the side of the tree who created all of this!

A clever sign above a mirror!

A clever sign above a mirror!

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This chocolate area was really cool. The pots are filled with cocoa bean mulch which really smells like chocolate. The kids had fun digging in it!

This chocolate area was really cool. The pots are filled with cocoa bean mulch which really smells like chocolate. The kids had fun digging in it!

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All of the children's furniture is stuff that my mom found for a couple of dollars and then fixed and painted! The treats on this cupboard were made by mom out of wax!

All of the children’s furniture is stuff that my mom found for a couple of dollars and then fixed and painted! The treats on this cupboard were made by mom out of wax!

This is an old manger converted into a little house!

This is an old manger converted into a little house!

These decorations were bought at after Christmas clearance sales

These decorations were bought at after Christmas clearance sales

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This cupboard was full of dishes and the kids had a ton of fun playing tea party!

This cupboard was full of dishes and the kids had a ton of fun playing tea party!

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My mom made tons of little cakes and treats out of wax!

My mom made tons of little cakes and treats out of wax!

One of the doll houses my mom painted and decorated

One of the doll houses my mom painted and decorated

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The table of candy

The table of candy

ribbon candy

ribbon candy

more doll houses in Candy Land for the kids to play with

more doll houses in Candy Land for the kids to play with

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My mom also cut boards and painted all kinds of signs

My mom also cut boards and painted all kinds of signs

Inside the candy house. My mom decorated this. She used blocks to make the furniture

Inside the candy house. My mom decorated this. She used blocks to make the furniture

All of the kids playing a game of Four Corners to burn off all of the sugar they consumed!

All of the kids playing a game of Four Corners to burn off all of the sugar they consumed!

My son was so sticky by the end of the day that all of the confetti on the candy table was sticking to him. My brother said he must have contracted a case of the "candy pox"!

My son was so sticky by the end of the day that all of the confetti on the candy table was sticking to him. My brother said he must have contracted a case of the “candy pox”!

This was truly a remarkable event and one that the kids and adults alike will never forget!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watching Her Save the World

I’ve always admired activists; people who are so passionate about a cause. I’ve never been passionate about anything enough that would make me want to stand out in the hot sun, rain or cold all day and shout my beliefs for all to hear.

That is why it is kind of mind-boggling to me that I am raising a budding activist.

It started earlier this year when my 8 year old daughter came home from school and told me she started her own club at school called The Nature Experts. She recruited several other children to join her crusade. According to her, they met on Tuesdays and Thursdays at recess. They picked up trash around the schoolyard and talked about ways to save animals. She also made pins for all of her members.

Her passion has continued on this summer.

She made up several signs and hung them on telephone poles up and down our street.

One sign said:

Save the animals like dolphins, clownfish, and many others. Please stop littering. You could make some animals endangered. Be careful Please. (there was also a picture of a fish saying, “My home is ruined for good. I will not live. Wha-Wha.”)

Another sign said:

Try not to cut down as much trees. We need trees to live. If you cut down the trees we would not be able to breathe. With all the trees you cut down we might not be able to live. Please stop cutting down the trees. (this one included a picture of a girl saying, “I feel like I can’t breathe.”)

My daughter with her signs

My daughter with her signs

The other day she also rode her scooter up and down the sidewalk for an hour shouting, “Save the Animals!” She made her brother run behind her holding up various different stuffed animals. I wonder what the neighbors thought!

She also recently held a lemonade stand/fundraiser in our front yard.

My daughter's lemonade stand

My daughter’s lemonade stand

The kids charged 25 cents a cup and were able to raise $5.00! People were obviously very generous!

After the lemonade stand my daughter requested that we bring the money they made along with some of her own money to the local animal shelter.

Off we went across town to deliver the $9.50 to The Humane Society to help aid them in buying food and medicine for all the dogs and cats.

I love that my daughter is trying to change the world and help out. I love seeing her determination and conviction to this cause. I don’t think I am going to march up and down the street shouting, “Save the Animals” with her but I will gladly make up pitchers of lemonade and drive her across town to donate her money. I am happy to take the backseat role and watch as my little girl takes steps to save the world!