The #1 Thing My Husband and I Fight About Over The Holidays

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose, and the halls all decked with boughs of holly. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, right? Well as much as I LOVE Christmas, there are a few things that come up each and every year that cause the hubs and I to toss aside the holiday merriment in favour of bickering over the tiniest of holiday details. And while there’s a list of things that fill our roster of holiday mini-battles, there is ONE disagreement that comes up every single year that we have yet to resolve: THE HOLIDAY DECOR. I blame the differing childhood family traditions for this one.

“The stocking were hung by the chimney with care”

I grew up with beautifully-embroidered, personalized stockings (with our names in the same fonts of course!), hung in a perfect row, evenly spaced, in one or two of the primary holiday colours that complimented the white and gold accents that surrounded our home. So naturally, I envisioned my mantel to look something like this:

Christmas Stockings

Clean, simple and elegant in my opinion. Who doesn’t love a Martha Stewart-esque display?

My husband, that’s who.

He grew up with a family tradition of decorating the mantel with handmade stockings made by each member of the family. All different patterns and colours, in varying sizes, shapes and materials. Names weren’t needed as each stocking was so unique to its owner that there was never a question as to who each stocking belonged to. His family’s fireplace decor was festive, colourful, inviting, warm, and sentimental. And I’m not saying that I hate this idea – I just come from a different place.

I think he envisioned our mantel to look a little more like this:

Christmas Stockings

Cute, just…not my style.

“Oh Tannenbaum”

And the Christmas tree. While I grew up with a monochromatic, look-but-don’t-touch, window display style Christmas tree, decorated in white and gold ornaments and sprinkled with baby’s breath and fresh flowers similar to this one:

Christmas Tree

The hubs grew up with a more kid-focused, rainbow-coloured, tinsel-laden version of the holiday shrub, similar to this one:

Christmas Tree

He doesn’t understand why I cringe when my children hang their unmatching ornaments around the bottom of the tree, and why I won’t let them wrap the tree in a sea of sparkly silver and blue tinsel. He just doesn’t get that I like to have only white lights evenly spaced, and each ornament hung at an equal distance from each other, in matching colour sequence from top to bottom, with only the most dainty of ornamental pieces. And I don’t think we will ever fully agree on which decorative style is better for the holidays.

So there you have it, every year when I bring out the box of Christmas decorations, the battle begins. The hubs rolls his eyes and begins with the same questions: Why do we have to use these ugly stockings with our names on them? Why can’t we use the stockings from when we were kids? Or We should get blue decorations for the tree and decorate it with lots of tinsel!

No and no thank you.

This year I’m giving in and biting my tongue. Not really because I’m being nice or fair, but more because I’ve been forced to against my will. With a new addition to the family, and a store that no longer carries the matching personalized stockings that we’ve used in the past, we’ve had to mix it up a bit. So this Christmas our mantel looks like this:

Christmas Stockings

And our tree – decorated only by our children (which explains the undecorated top and back of the tree, and giant bow), looks like this:

Christmas Tree

And you know what? Seeing the proud smiles on my children’s faces (and my husband’s face because he’s finally getting his way this year), makes it all worthwhile. Kind of.

What Not To Do When Your Kids Are Bored

I remember the unbearable feeling of childhood boredom. Feeling as though you had truly exhausted all options, left to lie lifeless on your bed in a total and complete slump.

You dragged your feet as you shuffled to the room in which your mom was busying herself with making dinner or folding laundry. Slowly lifting your glum face so that your desperate eyes met hers, you would utter those three words of complete surrender: “Mom I’m BORED.” Ready for her to present a magical solution, you would wait with bated breath to see what she had to say.

And each and every time, the answer would be unsatisfactory. “You can help me fold laundry” she would say. Or, “why don’t you get a head start on your homework?” she would suggest. Your shoulders would rise simultaneously as your eyebrows fell into a deep frown, and a big HUFFF would blast out of your lips. You’d swivel, stomp your feet, slam your bedroom door and bury your face in your pillow as if your life had truly ended.

At least that’s what I did.

Now that I’m a mom to a six-year-old girl, I’m faced with the same challenging three words on an increasingly regular basis. And until today, my responses were equally as unsatisfying – “why don’t you play with your brother?” or “you could always tidy up your room?”. She of course loathes these answers, but always comes back for more when boredom strikes.

I had recently come across (what I thought to be) a great solution for boredom through Pinterest and friends’ Facebook posts, so tonight when my girl came to me with the dreaded three words, I asked her to bring me her white board and a dry erase pen.

I proudly wrote out the words that I had seen, convinced that I had solved the great boredom plague that continually struck my little girl. I flipped the board around and presented it to her with a proud grin on my face.

….And this was her reaction….

Kids Bored

After I snapped this photo, she dropped the board on the floor, and ran bawling to her room. Sobs of sorrow bellowed through her door, and in between fits of despair, she uttered “My mommy’s the WORST, waaaa”.

While this erratic behaviour would normally set me off into a fit of full-on mom rage, I threw my head back and laughed quietly to myself, truly amused by the humour of it all.

I had become that mom. And I didn’t mind one bit.

Holiday Shopping: Why You Shouldn’t Wait Until the Last Minute

With Christmas only 6 days away, I figured it was time to tackle my holiday shopping list. I thought if I hit a rural Toys R Us on a weekday evening, suited up in comfy clothes, belly full, and equipped with a complete list of toys to purchase, it would be smooth sailing. Boy was I wrong.

The jammed up parking lot was the first sign to turn back. Worse than the US border crossing line up on Black Friday, the trail of cars went on for what seemed like miles, the black night dotted with flashing red parking lights as cars inched closer and closer towards their final destination. I screeched into a spot located approximately a gazillion steps from the doors, grabbed a basket, and began to scour the aisles.

I was lost in a sea of zombie parents, all frantically rushing from aisle to aisle mumbling to themselves in what sounded like a foreign language…Ninjago…Ever After High Doll…Zoomer? They don’t have Zoomer in stock, shit. Skylander…but which one? Their murmurs hummed in unison like zombie chants.

As I browsed through a shelf of platform-wearing, midriff-bearing, rainbow-haired slut dolls, I noticed a toddler lying on the floor at the end of the aisle. As she thrashed on the floor, screaming in gibberish like she had just been possessed by the exorcist, I scanned the area – no parents to be found. Her parents must have lost the war over the last set of Frozen figurines, or maybe they gave up all hope in life and left, I thought to myself.

I moved into the ‘Action Hero’ aisle, and as I stood in front of a sea of Avengers, Ninja Turtles and Transformers, my eyes accidentally made contact with the eyes of a zombie mom standing next to me. As our eyes met, they widened and I could see right through her bloodshot whites to the panic that lay behind them. I could tell she was thinking the same thing as I was, there are so many to choose from, which the fuck did my kid want again!?

I filled my basket and rushed to the cashier line up – which was now 30 people deep. The mom who stood in line ahead of me had beads of sweat on her forehead, dead eyes, and mascara running down her cheeks. I feel ya mama, I thought to myself.

I sighed a deep breath of relief as my turn came to step up to the holy grail that was the cashier’s desk. And as I went to prepare my wallet for payment, I came up empty handed.

I had forgotten my wallet in the car. Holy hell.

I left everything where it was and made a mad dash for the door. Luckily I made it back before the cashier had scanned my last item. Let’s just say in a state of sheer panic, this mama can RUN.

I screeched back out of the parking lot and smirked at the row of cars still waiting to start their journey. Suckers, I snickered to myself as I turned up my tunes and sped off.

The lesson to be learned: don’t for the love leave your holiday shopping to the last minute.

Mombie

Don’t be a holiday shopping mombie

 

Irritable Mom Syndrome

While I am still suffering from a little sickness that I have playfully dubbed The Mommy Singsong Syndrome, my little habit also has a dark twin: The Irritable Mom Sydrome. While my singsong side is fun and playful – like Mary Poppins and her ability to find an “element of fun in every job that must be done”, my irritable side is more “jerky” than “perky”.

I’ve been sick all week, like man cold 2.0 sick. One cough short of “call my mom” sick. I know it’s just a cold, there are worse things in life. But when you’re a mom, you don’t get to sit in bed all day in your pjs, nestled under a blanket of snotty Kleenexes. No, when you’re a mom, life goes on, in sickness and in health. Kids need to be dressed, fed, escorted to school. When you’re a WAHM (work-at-home-mom) like me, there’s no calling in sick, so you keep up with your work. Between the coughs and sniffles, you break up sibling squabbles, pick up the dog’s poop, and vacuum the carpets.

We’ve all been there (and if you haven’t, humour me). We’re unamused, overworked, and extremely tired. So we snap.

Suddenly, the hushed mommy whispers turn into full -fledged yelling at the kids in public. You don’t care who hears you bribing or threatening your disobedient toddler, because you’re too tired to give a sh*t. You have no patience for drawn-out chatterbox stories, so you mutter “mm-hmm” every 5 seconds, hoping the chatter will subside. You skip counting to three and jump straight to the consequences for their actions. The cutesy singsong mommy is suddenly singing a different tune, and it’s not pretty.

The good thing about The Irritable Mom Syndrome is that it has a short life span, like the 24-hour flu. While it’s a living hell to let it run its course, you know it’ll end. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

Today I wore my Mama The Grouch mask, but tomorrow is a new day, and hopefully tomorrow my children will wake up to the sound of one of my famous mama tunes.

Scram!

 

Yeah Write Challenge #131

Back To The Barre: Adult Ballet Classes

I’m embarrassed to admit that while I loved barre fitness, and was convinced that I had finally found a fitness regime that worked for me, it’s been almost a year since my last class. I really did enjoy it, but something was missing for me.

This Summer, I decided to give my daughter the independence to choose her own extracurricular activity, and she opted to replace her ballet dancing with tap classes. I was proud of her for deciding to try something new, but a part of me felt disappointed. That is, until I realized that my desire for her to stick with ballet, was because I had never really lost my passion for the art. I realized that I was trying to live vicariously through my daughter’s dancing adventures – that I was being selfish.

Growing up, dancing was my life. From ages 3-16, I was immersed in the culture of dance. Engaged in ballet, jazz, and tap classes for over 10 hours a week, I was fully committed to my dreams of becoming a professional dancer. I danced in a professional dance company, and my performing even led to my meeting Princess Diana.

But life happened. My passion for dance was dimmed by my desire to fit in with the high school crowd, and my commitment to the art form was replaced by my commitment to friends, parties, and boys.

Back to the Barre

Source

This month, as I escorted my daughter to her first tap class, a sign on the wall of the dance school’s office caught my eye. They were offering adult ballet classes in the evenings. My heart raced with excitement as I immediately registered myself, nervous that my fear would prevent me from committing if I waited even a minute to register.

My first class was a breath of fresh air. My experiences with ballet classes in the past had included strict dance instructors, leotards and pink tights. Slicked buns and quiet classical piano music.

This class was filled with moms of all ages, wearing yoga pants and loose-fitting t-shirts. Some, like me, were rediscovering their passion for dance after years without training. Others had never before danced, and were there to try something new. There was no judging, no competition, just a group of women, looking to get some exercise, rediscover their love for dance, and connect.

The class started with some warm-up exercises at the barre, followed by some floor work, and short choreographed sequences. It was the perfect mix of exercise and fun, and I will definitely be sticking to it.

For those of you who are interested in trying out ballet, either for the first time, or to reclaim your love for dance. Here are my top 5 reasons to give it a try.

5 Reasons to Take Adult Ballet Classes

1) Natalie Portman’s Black Swan Ballet Workout.  Hello beautiful long and lean body transformation. While some of you may prefer to bulk up and enhance your muscles with high-impact workouts, ballet will give you a long and lean physique.

2) Reclaim your self confidence. While it can be intimidating at first, learning dance sequences and performing them in front of your dance class peers will renew your self-confidence.

3) Stand tall. When I was a dancer, I was constantly complimented on my posture. I walked with my shoulders back and my head held high. Since having had children (nursing crouch), and over a decade of desk-hunching office work, my posture now rivals that of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

File:Hunchback Notre Dame 3.jpg

4) Buns and thighs of steel. Nothing strengthens the muscles in your butt, thighs and abs like a series of grand pliés and relevés. It’s a full body workout like no other!

5) Get your groove back. Ballet teaches you rhythm, and challenges your mind through the memorization and duplication of dance sequences.

Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

(Still) Coping With Toddler Tantrums

The day my boy turned three, it was as though a demon had left his body, and my sweet little prince was resurrected. For one full year, I fell victim to the terrible twos, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. I thought the worst had passed – that I’d never again have to fall victim to the toddler tirades – the blood-curdling screams, the thrashing tantrums, and the embarrassing public displays of tantrum-possessed, out-of-control flip outs.

He was potty-trained. He was sweet and affectionate. He was using his words. My faith in my parenting was renewed and my sense of relief that the worst was over was ethereal. That was, until last night.

The hubs had to work late, so I was left to bring my little guy along to his big sister’s dance class. When he was two, I would have considered skipping the class entirely, afraid that the beast would unleash his fury. But my boy was three now, so surely he would be on his best behaviour. Wrong.

I arrived equipped with the essentials: his favourite snacks, a bottle of water to quench his thirst, and some of his favourite miniature characters to keep him distracted. I kissed my girl goodbye, shuffled her into her tap class, and positioned myself and my boy by the viewing window, where I lined up his snacks and toys. For five full minutes, he was engaged, quiet, polite. He sat peacefully watching his sister dancing while munching on his sliced pears and Goldfish crackers, and I held my head high as other parents looked on and smiled at my sweet little well-behaved buddy.

But then it happened.

Tantrum

Suddenly a scream exploded through his little lips, and he went dashing up the stairs and out of my sight. I rushed after him and watched as he screeched at an ear-piercing pitch. I tried to quietly coax him back to our spot by the window, but he refused and his scream only amplified. All eyes were on me as parents and dance school staff watched carefully to see how I would react to my toddler’s outburst. I scooped him up, murmured some threats to him in the tight-lipped mom voice that we all secretly do, and carried his thrashing, screaming body outside.

I transported his beast-of-a-deadweight-body to my car, tossed him into the backseat, climbed into the front seat, and closed the door. Beads of sweat were dripping down my forehead and I held back tears as I sat there, astonished by what had happened. And then it got worse.

My boy didn’t want to sit in the car, and certainly wasn’t going to let the tirade end without an epic finale.

He climbed himself over the centre console and into the front passenger seat, where he proceeded to push all the buttons and knobs in my car while I gave him the mom-death-stare. Suddenly, a loud siren began to wail – it was my car alarm. As the alarm seemed to get increasingly louder, so did my voice as I panicked out loud. “How the HELL do you turn this thing OFF!” I barked as I flailed around in my my seat, trying every button, knob and handle in sight. “You are in SO much trouble!” I growled at my boy as I finally found the switch. All eyes were on me. I felt as though a MILLION judging eyes were watching me as I sat in the spotlight yelling at my boy. Failing as a mother.

And of course it was time to pick up my daughter as her class was over. So out we went, me red-faced with embarrassment and rage, and my boy with a devilish smile, as though he’d won an epic battle.

It was a quiet ride home (to say the least), and I was exhausted with defeat.

Shit happens. Tatrums happen. It’s all a part of mom life, and we get over it, but BOY did that moment rank high on the richter scale of fails.

Not sure what to do when you’re caught in the web of toddler tantrums? Check out this video on Parentdish.ca – How To Handle An Epic Meltdown, and for the love of mom, DON’T FREAK OUT when your toddlers do. Lesson learned.

 

 

 

The Extracurricular Jigsaw Puzzle

If you have (or have ever had) a school-aged child, you’ve likely engaged in an exchange similar to this one:

Mom Friend: “Ugh my schedule is so busy, my kid’s in soccer, ballet, t-ball, singing, piano, and swimming this year! What are your kids doing?”

Me: “Oh, well.. we’re still trying to decide, there are so many options…”

Translation: I’ve failed as a mom.

Or at least that’s how I feel.

For some reason, selecting extracurricular activities for my children feels as though I’m selecting numbers on a lottery ticket. Each number seems equally as legitimate, but how do I put them together to get the big win? How do I pick the right activities to create the best future for my children?

I’ve always thought that when the time came, I would let my children decide what they’d like to do, but the tricky thing is, when they haven’t tried anything, how do we know what they’ll enjoy?

My daughter was crazy for tutus, princesses and twirling, so putting her into ballet when she was 3 seemed like an obvious choice. For 3 years she stuck with it, and loved every moment. But by the end of last year, she was starting to get antsy. I could tell that it was time for her to try something new, but what? I didn’t want her to give up dancing because I could tell that she loved it, but I also didn’t want dancing to be her only activity, at least not until she had tried other options.

Just like mommy?

Throughout my childhood I was a passionate dancer. I started with ballet at 3, and as I grew, so did my roster of dance classes. By 8 I was taking ballet, jazz, tap, and modern, and was dancing for approximately 10 hours a week. I danced in a professional dance company, and my performing even led to my meeting Princess Diana. I was fortunate to have parents who supported my passion.

But one thing that I kind of regret, is that because I was so wrapped up in dancing, I didn’t learn the sports skills that many of my peers had pursued. To this day, I can’t catch a ball. I throw “like a girl” and my running is atrocious. I envy women who play soccer in their spare time, who can toss a football with a perfect spiral, and jump into a game of beach volleyball without a second thought.

I’d love for my daughter to have a well-balanced roster of after-school activities, but I also want her to enjoy what she’s doing.

Over the Summer, I enrolled her in a one-week dance camp where she was able to try several genres of dance. I promised that at the end of the week, I would let her decide which style of dance she would pursue for the upcoming year. Giving her the independence to choose seemed to thrill her – finally a decision that she could own.

Dance

She enjoyed every day of dance camp, and to my surprise, she came out of it feeling confident in her decision: she was to take tap.

I signed her up and thought my job was done.

How much is too much?

But now that she’s back in school, and I’ve engaged in more than a few conversations similar to the one above, I’m second-guessing myself.

Should she be doing more?

Should I enrol her in soccer even though the mention of the word brings her to tears?

Is there harm in not having my child enrolled in more than one activity?

Most families that I know have signed each of their children up for at least 2 extracurricular activities. I can’t help but wonder if my children should be doing more, but I’m also stuck wondering why it’s so important to keep them so busy.

They’re six. They’re in school for almost 7 hours a day. They have homework, and siblings, and wild imaginations.

The questions I can’t seem to answer are these:

Is it better to have them enrolled in as many activities as possible so they can find their true passion through experience, or are we signing them up for too much to keep up with the norm? Are we doing it for bragging rights?

How did you decide which extracurricular activities to choose for your children, and how many they should do? How did you piece together the extracurricular jigsaw puzzle?

 

 

 

 

He Put WHAT Up His Nose?

It was as though I had emerged from a thick and stifling fog, and inhaled my first breath of fresh air when my boy turned three.The terrible twos were becoming a faded nightmare, and I was lost in the ecstasy of the thriving threes. My boy was starting to use his words, he was wearing underpants, and had removed himself from my leg to become a somewhat self sufficient and independent little man. I was convinced that the worst had passed, and parenting my boy was going to be smooth sailing from here on in.

That is, until I woke up one morning to his blood curdling cries. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him as he squirmed and hollered and wailed in pain. He kept shoving his finger up his nostril and screaming in agony. His sobs made him sniffle, and with each sniffle his screams hit a higher note. His squeals hit octaves that could only have be rivaled by Mariah Carey’s highest notes, and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes as I repeatedly asked him what was the matter.*

After questioning his panicked sister, the source of his agony was revealed, he had shoved a plastic bead up his nose. “He was trying to smell it” she said.

Chaos ensued as my hubby and I hurried into our clothes and loaded our hysterical children into the car. We sped to Emergency – hubby behind the wheel, and me pinning my boy’s arms to his sides as he repeatedly tried to stick his finger up his nose in an attempt to remove the bead himself.

When we arrived at the hospital, we were rushed into a room where the doctor made an odd suggestion. He said, “Before I go in for removal, I’d like you to try something. This may sound strange, but I’d like you to wait for me to leave the room, and then tell your son to lie down so you can give him a kiss. As you move in, quickly plug his unplugged nostril with your finger, and wrap your lips around his as if you were to give him CPR. I want you to give a quick blow (like when you make a wish and blow an eyelash from the tip of your finger). This should bring the bead down into view, and may even blow it out.”

As the doctor left the room, I did what he had instructed, and voila, the bead was visible, but still very deep up his nose.

When the doctor returned, he took a peak, and then asked my hubs to swaddle my boy with a sheet to secure his arms. He then held his head while the doctor poked and prodded with a scalpel until POP! Out it came.

That blasted bead bounced onto the floor, and my boy giggled with glee.

This is the last time he will ever be allowed to touch anything smaller than his palm.

Relieved that it was a quick and painless process, my husband and I shuffled out of the hospital, two skipping monkeys in tow.

*Confession: I call this second child apathy. The inability to give a shit when a child cries in my house after so many false alarms, quarrels and tantrums.

Does The Second Child Play Second Fiddle?

“It needs more skill than I can tell
To play the second fiddle well.”

– C.H. Spurgeon

The other day one of my friends asked me an interesting question: “When you had your second child, did you find that people seemed less interested in holding him?”While my initial reaction was to reassure her that having a second child was just as exciting to my friends and family as the birth of my first, her question made me think…did my second child play second fiddle?

I remember being pregnant with my second. I was so worried about how having another baby would affect my firstborn. Would she be jealous of the new baby? Would she feel left out as people cooed and cuddled her new little sibling?

I also remember being worried about how having a second child would affect me. Would I be able to love it as much as I loved the first?

But what I hadn’t ever thought about was how other people would react to my second child. It hadn’t crossed my mind that they might not be as excited about the new addition to our family, or that they might be less interested in cooing and cuddling my second bundle of joy.

Do you want to hold him?

When my son was born, my daughter welcomed him with open arms. She stepped back, proud to show off her little brother, and encouraged people to hold him. I too was so relieved to find that my heart exploded with mama love for my second just as much as it had with my first. But when I think about it now, I had fewer visits when I was in the hospital the second time. I received fewer cards and emails congratulating me on the arrival of my baby, and fewer home visits from friends and family.

Now that I think about it, I do remember holding him more when people did stop by. Having to ask visitors to hold him for a minute so I could change my other child’s diaper or grab a quick drink. Was this because they were simply less interested in my second child? Had my friends and family moved from baby hogs, to baby dodgers?

I don’t take it personally. When I think about my visits with friends who have just had their second child, I am just as excited for them, and I just as desperately want to snuggle with their little newbies.

Perhaps we tend to focus our attention on the first-born child in the room to make sure they don’t feel left out. Maybe we focus our attention on the frazzled parents who are new to life with two. Or maybe we just feel less inclined to coo over baby number two because we’re worried that the new parents will think we’re being baby hogs.

Whatever the case, number two will be loved. Number two will be embraced and cuddled, and number two will not play second fiddle – because number two will receive so much love from someone that the firstborn didn’t have – a sibling. And a little extra love and attention from the mamas and the papas won’t hurt either 😉

Did you find that your second child received less attention from friends and family than your first?

Cry Me A River

As we approached the daycare this morning, my toddler tripped and fell to the ground. Immediately, he howled like a coyote and sat in his landing spot like he had broken both of his legs. He wasn’t running, and there wasn’t anything in his way, he just fell.

I was a few steps behind him, arms full of his lunch bag, his sweater, his stuffed frog, and his run bike and helmet. As soon as he landed, another parent rushed out of the door to his attention, her face wearing a mixed look of judgement and concern as she flashed a glare in my direction. I slowly sauntered over to him, helped him up, said “it’s ok sweetheart, let’s go inside” and continued on my way, unphased by the fit.

He wasn’t bleeding, and it had been a soft landing. I knew his tears were from the shock of the fall, and not from the fall itself. To her, I may have seemed apathetic, and maybe I was, but let’s face it, it happens. A lot. And I know from experience that the more I coddle him in these situations, the more he puts on the waterworks.

I remember when I was a new mom. When my precious baby girl would cry, I would drop everything, rush to her side, and do everything I could to put an end to the tears. Seeing her hurt made me hurt and I had to make it stop.

Nowadays, things are a little different. My kids don’t just cry because they’re sad or hurt, they cry because they’re tired, hungry, having fun, not having fun, frustrated, confused, excited, overwhelmed, underwhelmed, busy or bored. Every emotion seems to lead to a random burst of tears.

There’s my “fit frenzy” toddler (2yo). If things don’t go his way, his tiny little frame becomes hulk-like. I can no longer move, lift or hold him, and his voice becomes deeper, deafening, and despicable. Today alone, the following statements led him to tearful tirades:

“I don’t want to wear matching socks! WAAA!”
“I don’t want to take my helmet off in the car! WAAA!”
“I can’t reach the cupboards! WAAA!”
“I don’t like my red shirt, I want an orange one. WAAA!”
“I can’t find my yellow car. WAAA!”

And then there’s my “spontaneously sorrowful” princess (5yo). She can go from giggles to gloom faster than I can snap my fingers, and for the most absurd reasons. Just today, the following complaints led her to tears:

“It’s not fair that my brother’s birthday is before mine! WAAA!”
“I’ll be so mad if my brother ever gets taller than me! WAAA!”
“I don’t like my dinner! WAAA!”
“My brother won’t give me a hug. WAAA!”

In case you’ve lost track, that’s 9 cries. In one day. And I’m at work all day, so that’s all within a 3 hour window.

I love my little emotional monkeys, but tears won’t work with me. If they’re frustrated, need help, want something else or they don’t want anything at all, they need to use their words. Tears and whiny voices are simply not acceptable in those situations.

Don’t get me wrong, my heart isn’t entirely made of ice. A big boo boo or a little scratch – I’ll give them a loving hug and a hundred healing mommy kisses. But those manipulative, antagonistic, or overtired tears? Cry me a river sweetheart, and take a little time out. Mama’s not falling for it.

Do your kids overuse the waterworks to get what they want? How do you handle it?