The Target Lady on a Good Day

Often I encounter horrific incidences of rude people making unsolicited comments about my parenting (or lack of) while out and about with the kiddos. On our recent trip to Portland, however, I sat in the Target Starbucks and wept.

Driving to Portland with a 4 and a 2-year-old, let me tell you, is not for the weak. The kids did great considering the length of the drive, but after 67 potty stops, stopping for dinner, listening to The Wheels on the Bus and 5 Little Monkeys 7 thousand times, I was ready for them to fall asleep and soon they did. For just  a bit I relished belting out my favorite tunes without someone asking to turn it off or change it or telling me about how “He’s looking at me and I don’t like it!”

We make it to our hotel, I check us in, we grab our suitcases and head to the room. (Randomly enough, this was the part of the trip I was dreading. Out of habit, Eric is usually the one that gets us checked into a hotel. Not that I can’t do it, but it’s just easier for one of us to sit in the car with the kids and the other handles the details. Maintaining behavior in a crowded hotel lobby while trying to conduct business was just asking for disaster, or so I thought. The kids did great.)

Our room had one of those ginormous bathtubs right in the room! The kids were in heaven! The irony was not lost on me that I would KILL for a nice long hot bubble bath with a good book and a glass of wine, but if I even attempted it, they’d jump in with me and that would defeat the purpose. The kids did enjoy a “big bath” and then we headed to the pool for a late night swim/get the sillies out session.

The next morning before meeting up with friends for breakfast, I find a Target store to kill some time. (We are early risers and to quote a text I got from said friend, “Are you crazies up already?”) It was a rough morning. Kids were a bit out of sorts, wanting to go to the pool, Jake didn’t want to do this or that, then he didn’t want to be in a cart, but wasn’t listening, grabbing at juice boxes etc., etc. so in the cart he goes while I order a (strong) cup of coffee and something for the kids. Both kids are wailing by this point and if I didn’t get my coffee soon I was going to wig out. I am a better mommy with a cup of joe.

We get our beverages and I release them from Target cart exile. We sit down and Jake is still crying and says, “I miss my daddy.”

Kill me now.

It always comes out of left field and I never see it coming. “I know, honey. We’ve had a rough morning. But you know what? Daddy is almost at the end of his big work trip. He will be home soon. Right now though, we get to see our good friends from Hawaii. So why don’t we turn the page, and start a new part of our day?”

He comes and sits next to me and I rub his back.

“Why don’t we pretend we didn’t have such a rough morning. Let’s enjoy our milk and Mommy will enjoy her coffee and let’s go visit the toys for a bit while we wait to see when we’ll meet up with our friends.”

“Okay. That sounds good.” He has started to return to his normal happy(ish) self and the three of us chat about what the day had in store for us.

Then over walks the Target employee and I brace myself. After some of the comments I’ve received, I think over the past 15 minutes and mentally check myself for what I possibly could have said to offend her.

“Thank you. Thank you for being a kind parent. We see many parenting styles in here as you can imagine. You are a good mom,” she tells me.

And there I sat in the Target Starbucks and I just let my tears fall. It was a rough morning and it’s been a rough year with Eric gone. I knew we were seeing our dear friends, but I also knew that another hard “see you next time” was only three days away. It all just kind of hit me. I thanked her for her kind words and celebrated the fact that she’d caught me on a “good day”.

A Crap Day Brightened

Days like today just beat me up.

Quick Recap:

  • Kids woke up at 5am – Hannah with a “nice” diaper gift. (Should have been my first clue!) Poop before coffee = never good.
  • While shopping at the grocery, was rudely informed that I was in the way and that I should “teach my daughter to count apples somewhere else”.
  • Door-jacked by a 90 year old lady in the parking lot of a church, scratching/denting my passenger door.
  • Missing my deployed husband
  • Came around the corner and took a picture frame off of the wall while carrying a laundry basket – instantly shattering the whole thing all over the floor.

While I want to just go put on my sweats, drink a bottle (or 3) of wine, eat my way through a box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts, what I WILL do is focus on the funny. A friend of mine during her spouse’s deployment, decided to keep a jar of notes about funny things her kids said and did so she could relive it with her husband when he returned. Genius!

Over the last couple of days I’ve been jotting notes here and there of the funny things my littles have said. Here’s the list:

Jacob:

  • “I like ball bowling with Auntie Kirsti. Maybe you can take me ball bowling and I can take my own balls.” (I think he meant pick out his own bowling ball….)
  • “Mommy, your hair looks gorgeous today. And your boobies are just like pillows.”
  • “We live in Washington now where sometimes it’s rainy all the time.” Couldn’t have said that one better myself!
  • “Froyo is off the hoo-zak!”

Hannah:

  • “When a tail grows in my butt, then I can swim like a fish!”
  • “When I am Jake, I can pee outside.”

Jake and I do this thing where I tell him, “I wanna tell you a secret!” He leans in, eyes wide waiting to hear what I am going to whisper. Usually it’s “I love you” or “I love the way you color” or whatever it is that he’s doing at the moment. Then he tells me a ‘secret’. This is how it went this time:

Me: “I love you my special boy!”

Jacob: “I love the compost truck!”

On days like today I need the funny.

Got a funny kid story?! Tell me.

Please.

I need more things to laugh about today!

Wonderful Wednesday: No Agenda Days

I love perfect days.

Days like today. We had no plans. No where we had to be. No agenda, no expectations, just woke up to see what the day would bring us.

After a yummy breakfast and some creamy Kona in my cup, I put on my workout clothes and thought about the lonely treadmill. I wasn’t feeling it and decided to leave her lonely. The sun was shining and thought instead about hitting the beach. My body was craving some endorphins, so I decided to tackle the dang air compressor, (my nemesis), pump up the tires on the bike, the trailer, and hit the beach! Nothing like rolling on two wheels instead of four. I will admit, the looks I got while climbing the hills with the 75+ lbs of kid/trailer behind me was awesome for my ego! I am Curlymama! Hear me roar! Ha!

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We hit the lovely beach park to play play play the day away!

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Pea gravel + sand toys + beach + driftwood = heaven for kidlets!

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Sadly, we did incur one casualty: a plastic toy boat that came with our $5 Walmart set of sand toys. Jake let it set sail, the current carried it off on it’s maiden voyage, much to his dismay. I did attempt to grab it back, barefoot in that icy Puget Sound water, but it floated out past where I was willing to get wet…and there was slimy seaweed and sharp shells. So much for my roaring!

I was a bit shocked when Jake sat next to me and started to softly cry when he could no longer see the boat and the realization hit that he wasn’t going to be able to get it back. Poor kid. Sometimes the thing I don’t even see coming is the thing that means the most to him. We sat for a bit and said goodbye to the boat and decided that the seagulls would probably take good care of it.

Then we heard the familiar “ting-a-ling-a-ling” sound of the Good Humor man! (In our case it was Sno-Cone Joe!)

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No spring day would be complete without a little ice cream!

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Not quite sure how she managed to get the dot of ice cream on her nose!

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YAY ice cream!

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It was just one of those perfect weather and easy breezy kind of days. With a workout!

The Not-Quite-Perfect Perfect Day

I am sitting here listening to the rain pound the roof as a thunderstorm passes overhead reflecting on the day. The kids are napping peacefully after our morning excursions.  We ate breakfast (at the table, following our new rules! 🙂 and drew pictures and wrote a letter to Daddy for his first box o’ goodies to send out to him on the ship.

After that, getting cleaned up, dressed, and out the door went fairly smoothly. Jake was upset because he had to wear socks. We quickly sidestepped the socktastrophy and off we went. Our first stop was a success, then got to the car and realized we’d forgotten one item, so back in we went (of course I didn’t realize this until after I had gotten them both in and buckled and was double checking the list. Why I neglected to bring the list into the store with me in the first place is still a mystery!)

Forgotten item secured, off to the post office. But now the minions were asking for lunch and I knew if we didn’t eat soon it wouldn’t be pretty.  And now that we don’t do drive thrus, I braved a sit down restaurant. With two kids. By myself.

We were in Anacortes and Calico Cupboard sounded really good. And I figured we’d be able to get something nutritious there. We were seated in a corner table, it was busy and bustling but pleasant. The kids sat at the table, weren’t perfect, but did SO GOOD.  Hannah charmed the pants off the neighboring tables and Jake ate most all of his sandwich that he ordered all by himself. (He likes to tell the waiter what he would like 🙂

After a yummy lunch, we hit the post office to mail Eric’s box. I love the post office in Anacortes! No line, friendly people and open on Saturdays! The kids looked around but weren’t wild banshees. Hannah was smiling and engaging the person behind us, Jake was playing with some packing tape – and it was AWESOME! The employee even remarked on how well behaved they were and gave them each a ball!! AND JAKE SAID THANK YOU!!! Parental angel choruses were singing “Hallelujah!!”in my head!!

I know not everyday is perfect. We probably learn more from the not perfect ones. But after having a conversation with my sister the other day about kid behavior, I realized that I was having unrealistic expectations for their age. How do kids (and all of us) learn? From our mistakes. It may seem like a duh moment but for me it was an ah-ha! They aren’t perfect, they aren’t going to behave perfectly all the time – AND IT’S OK!