The Happiest Place On Earth…

…is not where you think it is.  There are no friendly mice or glamorous princesses.  Well, there might be ONE princess but she prefers neons and animal prints over pink and poufy any day.  If you’re wondering about the prince, he’s there too.  He loves legos and hex bugs and mine craft.  The queen is a stunning zumba/barbell/step-aeorbics instructor who rules firmly but fairly in the magical kingdom of Newsouri.

(It should be noted that Newsouri is, in fact, Missouri in kid-speak.)

My son, Max, is nearly five years old and he makes sure to tell me daily that he plans to run away to Newsouri in order to escape my tyranny.  I didn’t know it at first but it seems that I’m actually the evil queen in this situation.  Ruling with an iron fist and unreasonable demands like:

“Please tidy up your bed.”

“Go put your shoes in your shoe basket”

“You need to flush the toilet EVERY time you use it.”

and the worst of them all… “No, you may not have cookies before breakfast.”

I know.  You’re wondering what kind of monster I am or how I manage to live with myself issuing orders such as these.  Quite frankly, I’m beginning to wonder too.  Especially in light of his constant threats to move to his Auntie’s house…in Newsouri.

Moving to Newsouri is his solution to everything.  Don’t want to eat what I cooked for dinner?  Move to Newsouri!  Get in trouble for hitting your brother?  Run away!  To Newsouri!  Hate cleaning up after yourself?  Max says that in Newsouri, you NEVER have to clean up your toys. So you should definitely go there.  (Though I have a sneaking suspicion that these rules would be news to all the children who currently reside in the grand state of Newsouri.)

At first, I was sympathetic to these outbursts and threats.  I know it’s a sort of phase.  He’s testing, pushing our buttons, experimenting with threats and ultimatums.  I remember doing this as a kid too.  There was always somewhere that I was just certain wouldn’t have such awful rules about behaving and cleaning up after yourself.  So I get it.  I really do.  But I’m also OVER IT.  My kid has threatened to relocate to Newsouri so many times that I’ve barely stopped short of telling him to just fucking do it already.  As it stands, I’ve started to talk him through the logistics of moving out-of-state.  I tell him that Daddy and I would be heartbroken to see him go but if he really thinks it’s the best thing to do then he’d better prepare properly.  I remind him that Newsouri is really far away and well, he can’t drive yet so he’s going to have to walk and it’s literally going to take him several days to get from our house to his Auntie’s.  Also, those legos that he doesn’t want to clean up?  Yeah, he can’t really take those with him because they won’t all fit in his backpack and I’m not entirely sure that he could carry them while walking that far.  And I’m not really sure how he would eat while he was traveling because he doesn’t have much money to buy food with and I’m not sure that he knows where all the restaurants are.  So many details!  Who knew?!  His solution, of course, is to have his Auntie and cousins come pick him up in their car.  It’s a good solution.  It would get him safely from point A to point B.  Except I’m pretty sure his Auntie isn’t in the market for a cute but bitchy five-year old right now.

Sometimes I also like to remind him of the reality of how his Auntie rules her roost.  She’s the one who taught him the phrase, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”  So I’m not entirely sure where his idea of her as a permissive, lovey-dovey, everyday-is-a-party kind of Aunt came from.  The most recent example would be this conversation:

 

 

(I walked into the kitchen at 7am one day to find that Max had eaten all but one of the sugar cookies we had planned to have for their afternoon snack that day.  He was well aware that this was not ok.  I called him into the kitchen to talk about it…)

Me: Well honey, sneaking cookies before breakfast is not ok. I hope you understand that this means you will not be having a cookie for snack this afternoon.

Max: What?!  But I WANT a cookie for snack!!

Me: I know but you chose to sneak in here and eat cookies before breakfast.  Now the only cookie left is the one I had saved for Mason.  So he will still be able to eat his cookie later but you will just have to eat something different.

Max: NO!!!!!  I want to eat a cookie!!  Mason can just share his!  It’s a big cookie!

Me: I will not make Mason share his cookie.  You’ve already eaten more than your share of the cookies.  You made a choice to be sneaky and eat them this morning.  That choice has a consequence, which is that now there is no cookie for you to eat this afternoon.

Max:  That’s IT!  I’m leaving!  I’m moving to Newsourri!!  I can eat whatever cookies I want in Newsouri!

Me: (who is sick to death of hearing about Newsourri) Oh really?!  You wanna know something about Newsouri?  Your Auntie, who lives in Newsouri, DOESN’T BAKE COOKIES.  THERE ARE NO COOKIES IN NEWSOURI.  Your Auntie bakes cookies once year, at Christmas, and that’s it.  Your Auntie doesn’t even eat potatoes so I can promise you she’s not baking cookies just for fun.

Max: (looks completely shell-shocked. I think his eyes might fall out of his head.  He has never known an existence without baked goods.)  Well…I still might go!

 

 

Le sigh.  I’m at a loss.  If he were older I might seriously consider seeing if my sister would take him for a couple weeks.  A couple weeks where she just happened to need a lot of help doing projects in her house or yard.  I feel like we would both win in that situation.  Free labor for her, a little tarnishing of the Newsouri gleam for me.  But he’s four, going on five.  He’s young, if sassy, and I’m trying to get through this phase without losing my sanity.  I know his version of life in Newsouri is complete fiction, made up in his clever little head but somehow it still stings to have it thrown in my face every damn day.

I’ve started fantasizing about a preschooler version of Scared Straight; no cookies, no iPads, lots of chores, early bedtimes and someone is always using your favorite action figure. 

Until then, I’ll continue my mean mommy ways and finish each day with a visit to the bar cart.  I have a feeling there are mom’s in The Kingdom of Newsouri who do the same.

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Valentine’s Day Explained

February 14th is Valentine’s Day and from what I can tell people are divided into three basic groups about it.

Those Who LOVE It: Flowers!  Candy!  Fancy Dinners! Gifts! Kisses and cuddles!  What’s NOT to love?!

Those Who Are Cool With It: Yeah, I will totally eat a pink frosted cupcake but no, I will not make out with you.

Those Who HATE It: Ridiculous!  Waste of Money!  Romance make me want to punch people!

Haters, your rage is showing.  Which is ok, I guess.  You are entitled to your ragey feelings.  You don’t have to like Valentine’s Day.  I just feel like maybe I can help explain why other people like it so that you can, you know, calm the fuck down.  Let’s talk through some of your complaints and see if we can’t find you a little peace, alright?

  1. But it’s so commercialized!  Hallmark holiday! Greedy greeting card companies…blah blah blah…

I get this.  I really do.  I get irritated about the commercialization of holidays too.  I hate when I start seeing Christmas decorations in the store when it’s not even Halloween yet.  Hell, I went to Target recently and they’re already putting up the Easter stuff and we haven’t even gotten through Valentine’s Day yet.  Absurd.  But here’s the deal; companies are in the business of making money.  They want to sell you shit.  Any shit you will buy they want to sell to you.  Case in point: cookie dough Oreos.  If that’s not some gross abuse of retail power I don’t know what is.  So when there’s a holiday that’s existed for hundreds of years coming up, you can bet your booty every shit-selling entity on the planet is going to try to get you to buy something for it.  Bottom line, you are not a rebel for refusing to buy Valentine’s Day cards.  You’re just someone who saved themselves three bucks…that you’re probably going to spend at Starbucks anyway.  Way to stick it to The Man.

2.  Why do people send flowers?  It’s so depressing when they die!

Come here.  Sit down.  Take my hand.  No, it’s not weird that I’m caressing your arm.  Shhh…  I need to tell you something really important.  Are you ready?

EVERYTHING DIES.

All the things.  Literally EVERY SINGLE THING dies.  Stars, animals, insects, every houseplant I’ve ever had…they all die.  And thank god because spiders! Ack!  That wine you’re drinking?  Dead grapes.  That book you read yesterday?  Dead trees.  The universe you live in?  Dying as we speak.  Here’s a cheery prediction from scientists for you, “…all the stars (will) have long burned out and the cosmos is a cold and dark place. Dead stars and black holes are all that (will) remain.”  Bottom line, if you are worried about some tulips dying on your desk at work you are definitely misdirecting your angsty energy.

3.  But I hate chocolate!  I don’t even like candy…

Then don’t eat it?  I don’t really know what to say here.  I understand that you would not like to receive a huge box of Godiva truffles if you don’t enjoy chocolate but to reject an entire holiday out of hand because some people DO like to receive chocolates is a bit silly.  You can’t just go around dismissing holidays because you don’t like some of the foods associated with them.  I mean, take St Patrick’s Day for instance, many people don’t enjoy corned beef but everyone loves leprechauns and beer right?  Ok, maybe not the best example but I think you see where I’m going.  Bottom line, skip the chocolate, drink the booze.  Problem solved.

4. Romance grosses me out!

What are you?!  A 12 year-old boy?!  Get over it.  Sometimes, when two grown-ups love each other very much, they give each other a special hug and that’s how babies…oh, sorry. Wrong explanation.  But seriously, if I need to explain to you why it’s ok for couples to be a little mushy and lovey-dovey once a year then maybe you need to sit in on the other talk too.  Do you need to write a love sonnet to your partner in order to take part in Valentine’s Day?  Nope.  Do you need to gaze into your partner’s eyes and whisper sweet nothings into their ears?  No again.  Do you need to stop caring whether or not other people want to do those things?  Yeah, you probably do.  Bottom line, just tell your partner you want to get laid and be done with it.  It only has to be as “mushy” as you want it to be…or as mushy as it takes to get them naked.  *wink*

5. But I don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse and this kinda sucks.

Ok, I’ll give you this one.  This is legit.  Because if you are single and you don’t exactly want to be or you just simply feel like maybe you’re missing out on all the flower-sprinkled chocolate feasting and smooches, Valentine’s Day can kind of suck.  I’ve been there and even though I was truly happy being single at the time I did still feel a little bummed about missing out on the festivities.  The way I look at it you’ve got three fairly constructive options.  Option 1: If there are children in your life (nieces, nephews, friend’s kids etc) join in on their fun. Make them a card.  Buy them a little treat or gift.  Better yet, go hang out with them and make heart-shaped pizzas or play Candyland.  I’m being completely serious.  It’s hard to be truly down when you’re debating whether or not Lord Licorice is a bad guy or just misunderstood with a four-year old. Option 2:  Party with your other single friends.  This can be as wholesome or ridiculous as you want it to be.  Spa night at your house with the girls.  Playing beer pong with your buddies.  A movie marathon featuring the Twilight movies. (I’m kidding.) Option 3: Make someone else’s Valentine’s Day a happy one.  Take cookies to an elderly neighbor.  Secretly send a card or gift or (gasp!) flowers to someone you know who’s having a hard time right now.  Buy people’s drinks at Starbucks pay-it-forward style.  Do something that you know will make people smile.  I promise, it will feel good.  Bottom line, don’t let your relationship status stop you from giving and receiving love.  Yes, Valentine’s Day is typically associated with romantic love but I think we all know that’s not the only kind of love worth having.

6.  What the hell is up with Cupid?!

I’m with you on this one.  Not compelling as far as mythological characters go and his more recent portrayal as an armed, winged baby is just weird.  Please feel free to continue directing your rage at him.  I won’t because I don’t want to get on his bad side (he is armed, after all) but you totally can.

Bottom Line…
Happy Valentine’s Day! XOXO