Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Life's Hiccups: annoying but necessary

Everyone had gathered around the kitchen table, five pastel candles were placed in the center of the cake, and "Happy Birthday" was sung out loud to an anxious little girl. It was a very early celebration acknowledging her birthday with our out-of-town family.

"Make a wish, Lola!" Jay gleefully reminded her.

She squinted her eyes shut taking the task seriously. The candles were blown out, the wish was made, and she ran away with her older brother. "Come on, come on... I'll tell you Jay!!!" I smiled as she stood up on her toes, cupped her hands over her brother's ear, and giggled a wish she wanted to share with him.

Perhaps it was wishing she had a pony, or a new American Girl doll, or perhaps that Hannah Montana actually does show up at her party on Friday. "Tell me too." Very interested in her wish, I encouraged her to tell me. "Mommies can help in making some wishes come true."

After negotiating for some time with me she had decided to share her wish. My mother, father, sister, husband, and children anxiously directed their attention to the little girl celebrating her fifth birthday two weeks early. "I wish..."

"Yes?"

"I wish..."

I gazed into her eyes, smiled over at my parents, and couldn't wait for what she had in store.

"I wish. I wish you wouldn't scream at me."

I am pretty sure my jaw dropped. I know that my heart cried a little. I could not look into the eyes of my loved ones whom were silently eating their pieces of cake. Crushed, I stood up and made my way over to her. "I don't scream. A lot. Right, Lola?" She bit her lip, her smile gone, and sighed out loud before speaking. "Well, no. Not a lot at all, Mama. But when you do I really don't like it."

The truth is... that I do scream at her. Not often, but obviously enough for her to wish for it on her fifth birthday. That stubborn, strong willed, confident child is a true testament of my faith however I will make no excuses for myself. I am thankful for these little hiccups in life that open your eyes and validate the truth.

"Mommies can make some wishes come true, Lola. I'll try my hardest not to scream and you try your hardest to listen and on your real birthday you can wish for a really big wish."

"Okay, Mama." Her smile reappeared. She leaned over into my arms, lifted her hands to cup over my ear, and whispered "Like ice skating lessons?"

"Yes."

"And a sparkly pink ice skating dress?"

"Perhaps."

"And real ice skates with real laces?"

"Maybe."

"And..."

"LOLA!!!"

74classy comments:

Zoeyjane said...

Oh honey, I know exactly how you felt and exactly why you might scream sometimes (personally, I call it yelling, because I can tell myself it's gentler). Step by step, day by day. :)

Kelley said...

Oh babe. We all have moments like that, but she will remember your promise as she gets older more than the fact you might have yelled.

Hugs sweetie. Being a mummy sometimes sucks

Miss said...

Aw sweets. I've been there. We all have. You, my darling friend, are a GREAT mom and you know as well as I do that your kids know it too.

Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

Oh wow. I know this feeling of being called out by the wee ones. It's awful!

duchess said...

I'm a fellow "yeller" as well. I do it far more than I'd like & sometimes I just see the light in my sons eyes dim. I feel awful, but sometimes it seems like that is the only thing that gets their attention.
Thanks for the reminder. Tomorrow I'll try to remember to find another way to get the point across.

Rach (Mommy Learns to Blog) said...

You are one amazing mom. From the stories I read about the things you do with your children, the kind of children they are, the things they're learning BECAUSE of the way you are raising them.

We all have our moments. I, too, have a Lola. And I, too, embrace her independence and personality, but sometimes I hit the end of my rope too. If it makes you feel better, about a week ago I had a complete mommy meltdown as I was making grilled cheese and she was asking for 50 things at once after a particularly trying morning. Amidst tears, I told her that unlike Oswald, I am not an octopus and only have 2 arms with which to do things. We ended up having a warm and wonderful conversation, and now she daily jokes with me that I'm silly because I want to be an octopus. Now, I never SAID I wanted to be an octopus, but her comments definitely let me know that she heard me.

You are a wonderful mommy to THREE beautiful children. You are bound to have your moments, and even though Lola's comment hurt, it will just make you more aware of what is coming out of your mouth - a wakeup all of us can use once in a while. Do NOT beat yourself up!

I think my comment may have just reached blog post status!

Nap Warden said...

Gah...I feel like I fall into the screaming a bit more than I would like. Sometimes its like I'm fighting a losing battle. I try...

Crystal D said...

Oh OHmommy, I think maybe Amelia would wish for the same thing. Maybe it is just as hard to be a mom of a middle child as it is to be a middle child.
But since Lola wished it, I will honor her wish and try very hard to keep my yelling at a minimum for Amelia too.
Isn't it just like a middle child to put us in our place in the most kind and gentle way.

Kat said...

I'm only laughing because that sounds EXACTLY like something my boys would say to me.
Just the other day Tommy told me that he loves me even when I'm mean and yelling. Ouch.
I guess we all have work to do. ;)

jen said...

we can only make it better when we have our eyes opened to what needs to be fixed. and kids have a rather good way of opening our eyes, dontcha think?

Musings of a Housewife said...

Girl. I feel your pain. Almost every night and dinner my 6-year-old daughter either thanks the Lord that I didn't have to yell today or asks that I will not yell tomorrow. Breaks a piece off my heart EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Beth said...

My best friends daughter made the same wish on her fourth birthday, complete with extended family and video cameras rolling. We have all been there, especially with our more, um, spirited children.

Jill said...

Wow that brought tears to my eyes... probably because I completely saw my daughter saying the exact same thing to me.

Becky said...

I LOVE it!!!! We all scream sometimes, but I love the little reminders that help us check ourselves!!! Happy Birthday to her!

Rhea said...

Children can make us feel lower than low...and higher than high. They are little truth-makers. What a touching moment, and a great title.

Jenera said...

A few weeks ago I had reached my limit with my darling son and I found myself yelling at him at the top of my lungs. What did he do afterwards? Crossed his little arms across his little chest, cleared his throat and said "Mommy yelled at Aidan. Made me cry." And the look on his face, oh dear. I apologized for yelling but pointed out that he was not listening to me at the time. We made a deal that I wouldn't yell if he would listen. It has kind of worked. But it's hard when the little people in our lives point out our bad habits.

Noob Mommy said...

Thankfully, it's a wish that you can grant immediately :) But yeah, won't deny that one must have stung.

Wendy said...

That almost made me cry. Thanks for sharing that. It puts a lot of things into perspective for me.

Kash said...

As a MIDDLE child and as your sis, I KNOW you are the best mom ever. I look at you and cannot ever imagine being a better mom. Don't worry about Lola. She will be okay. I'll take care of that :)

the planet of janet said...

oh honey, that's brutal ... and so horribly public.

but i agree that the memory of the promise kept will overpower the memory of the yelling.

hang in there. you're doing great.

carrie said...

I have had the very same hiccup. You are sooo not alone!

DysFUNctional Mom said...

:sigh: Kids have such a way of sticking the knife in your heart, then twisting it. Girls, especially.
We all do it. There may be a few exceptions, but not many.
xoxo

Indy said...

Ouch. That one hurt to hear.

Kaci-Ellyphant said...

Ohhhh! XOXO

Frances said...

Wow, I bet that one stung.

I'm sure Hailie thinks the same thing.. and would say it if she could.

I think I am going to do my best to try and not yell at her. Thanks for giving me something to think about it..

Krystyn said...

Oh, sweet Lola. Maybe you are adjusting to her being able to hear you better. I'm sure she's just noticing more!

It's also good when your kids help keep you in check.

And, I'm sure the ice skating lessons will help.

Smart A$$ Mom said...

I will never forget the day my mom told me I turned into a monster when I yelled. It devastated me.

Domestic Extraordinaire said...

I think it is wonderful that you, instead of being upset at Lola (which I have witnessed some people do when their young children "call them out") that you are wanting to change but pointing out her how to help you change.

Many hugs to you!

Stephanie said...

I think we all scream a bit much sometimes, but like you said, you just need to be called out on it sometimes. Just take her ice skating! ;)

Kel said...

awe..that is sweet. There are those moments in life when it seems we are blind to what the 'little eyes and ears' pick up - thank goodness we have them here to remind us how to be our best selves!

~K

Lisa said...

They know how to take us down to our knees, don't they. I'm sure you don't scream too much - if you did it too much she wouldn't even be aware that you're screaming.

But there are times I have too where I feel like I'm just too hard on them for reasons that aren't important. I'm tired & exhausted, and often they receive the brunt of that, which isn't their fault. I'm only saying this because you are not alone. We all probably scream more than we should.

hugs to yoU!

Managed Chaos said...

I can so relate with how you must have felt. While we all strive to be the best mommy we can be, we're only human..and yelling happens. I guess we just add this to our long list of life lessons taught to us by our children ;o)

Mama Smurf said...

Thank you for sharing that. We've all been there. And hearing that you've been there too makes the rest of feel like maybe we're not total failures after all.

I recently "interviewed" my kids. It was one of those memes going around facebook. I asked all 3 of my kids while in the car on the way to school...."what makes mamma happy?" My 12 year old piped up and said..."Total obedience"....he said it with a smiling smirk but it still stung. Alot. I expect alot from my kids and he made me wonder if maybe I expect too much.

Kelly said...

My heart broke a little with you....I'm so guilty of the yelling and as much as I hate to do it, sometimes it's the only way to get through to them. My boys are stubborn too, or "determined" as I like to call it. LOL

Jo said...

HAHAHAHAHAH!
Hey, what does she expect. We are POLISH MAMAS for goodness sake and that is an instant "get out of jail" free card for the screaming! HAHAHAHAHAH!

Blessings From Above said...

Every parent is guilty of having our moments. Sorry that you were reminded of it during this particular moment.

Hang in there...you are a wonderful mommy.

Jessica said...

I am laughing out loud at my desk...everyone around me should know that my work is not that funny, or interesting!

Becca said...

Oh gosh! You poor thing! I bet that just tore your heart apart. You recovered quite well though. Such a wonderful mommy!

Stephanie said...

Life happens, babe. Before I read the line of what she wished for, I can just completed the same thing with my kids fighting over a toy. UGH. Why doesn't our vocal chords come with a volume control that ISN'T inside our brain!

Tracey said...

Those middle children...

I hear that from mine, too. It sucks when they call us out on it, so I understand how much that must have crushed you.

Tiffany @ Lattes And Life said...

Oh God, my heart just tugged for you. On her birthday no less. I don't know how you stood strong. I would have started crying right there in front of everyone.

Thanks for sharing though. Good reminder for all of us to be mindful of how we talk to our kiddos.

Anti-Supermom said...

The is the worst - I feel horrible when I yell at Henry and he starts crying in reaction, real tears, real sadness.

Augh.

I bet her birthday wish will be WAY better :)

molsmonkey said...

wishing to have a non yelling mommy might be my 3 year olds wish!! the american girl doll may be more realiztic!

PunkyBean said...

Oh no! I'm sorry! My three year old has started saying, "Don't yell at me Mommy. It makes me sad." I just want to cry!

So, I know how you feel. All we can do is try.

Tara R. said...

Wow... sometimes kids can really cut to the heart of a subject, right? I know my kids would have made the same wish when they were younger.

Kari said...

Wow...that post made me think, I could hear my daughter saying the same thing. It's so good that you can see the silver lining in her honesty!

Clare said...

great post, i love your humor and honesty! Lola is so cute, and she makes me laugh! Keep up the good writing !

Natalie said...

Ouch, but it is something I could see my own son saying. I have had my moments, oh boy have I had my moments. Should we scream? Probably not, but nobody ever said mother's have to be perfect.

amanda said...

oooo. honesty of a five year old. i've yelled a few times too.

Domestic Goddess (In Training) said...

Mothers' hearts joke broke across the country reading that. I can only imagine what my stepdaughter would wish!!!

Hailey said...

Love it! You always make me smile.

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

I know how you felt.....Nick has called me out a couple of times. It's as if someone sucked the air out of the room.....

You handled the situation so well.....classy as always:)

Elaine A. said...

My soon-to-be 5 yo may wish for the same thing on his birthday in a few weeks. It wouldn't surprise me, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't take me by surprise. ; )

We all have times like these and none of us Mommies are perfect.

And the end of this post made me giggle like a 5 year old myself!

MommyTime said...

Happy Birthday, lovely Lola.

I know you must have been really cringing at her wish, but you have to admire her honesty -- and her bounce-back-ability that it only took a few seconds to come up with glamorous wishes a mile long (which suggests she's not particularly scarred by whatever yelling may or may not happen in your house. :)

Kari said...

I am right there with you! Charlotte isn't old enough to tell me that I yell, but I do. Being a stay-at-home mom is hard work. And you can get stressed out easily. I try not to yell, here's hoping we both can bite our tongues!!
But, don't even for one second feel bad about yelling! Just take it in account, learn from it and move forward! I am TRYING. Failing daily..but trying and praying!!!

Kari said...

oh and I LOVED how you responded...and helped her get back to smiling! You are a fantastic mommy!!!!

designHER Momma said...

my heart cracked just a bit for you. She's a sweetheart - and you are one awesome mom.

A Crafty Mom said...

Yes, I'm another screaming mommy who's BTDT. The important part is that Lola will never remember that part of her birthday, just the love of her family all around her!!

3 Peanuts said...

Oh Mommy---

There are times we have all screamed more than any of us would like. It goes with the territory. I too though have taken a long hard look in the mirror and stopped yelling. It was a few years ago but one day my throat hurt because I was raising my voice so much. I had to be brutally honest with myself and I know that only I can control it because I never yelled when they were babies. I can proudly say that I don't yell as much anymore but it was hard getting here. YOU are a GREAT Mom because you listen and you should search and I know this wish is one Lola will forget about because you will make the change and because you are so loving.

Hugs,
Kim

P.S> it reminds me of a few weeks ago when Harry told me I was on the computer too much-OUCH@!

Maggie May said...

I know how you feel, and you are brave to put it out there. What this says is your daughter is happy and secure enough to voice her feelings to you!

Ashley said...

Happy Birthday to her! And, not yelling at your kidlings when they're driving you nuts...that's really hard!

the mama bird diaries said...

I hate when I yell at my kids. I always feel terrible about it. And then I forgive myself, apologize to them and try to be better. Very sweet story.

Tiaras & Tantrums said...

oh - you poor Dear!! Hugs for you!! I think we all try so hard and our one little moment of non-smiles and hugs is what is noticed more than the almost-always hugs and smiles!!

Michele said...

I tend to raise my voice all too often at Sarah. She is my quiet, sweet, thinker but she can still pitch tantrums with the best of them and she is almost 7. She is very stubborn and I do tend to yell.I am trying my hardest to be calmer with her. It is hard when they push that final button.

Nan Patience said...

OHMommy, how COULD you scream at those little darlings!

April said...

Oh, this was so sweet. And sad at the same time!

Every Day Goddess said...

I remind myself every day I am a work in progress. I come from a long line of yellers (my dads nickname in the shipyard used to be Screaming John George) so every day I have to work on it too :)

The best advice my mom gave me is if I don't like how they did things to change them when I was the parent. I am now telling mine the same thing.

I am P said...

Aww, we all yell! It's part of being a Mom, isnt it ;)

Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

Aw...
I laugh cuz I've been there.

Happy early birthday to Lola!

Irene said...

I am sure you know that my oldest probably would wish for the same thing! I often feel like I am yelling at her ALL. THE. TIME. But there aren't many times that I look back and think they were not justified. She can be a tough and sneaky one! And I refuse to let her get out of control.

Oh well, if we really want good, respectful children, I guess yelling is often par for the course.

Thomas said...

I don't have any kids yet but my niece and nephew have just made me so happy in my life.

Marinka said...

We all yell. And then we remember to promise not to. (and some days, we even get laryngitis.) I'm right there with you.

anymommy said...

I yell. I wish I didn't, but I do. The thing that is so cool about this moment is that she felt comfortable telling you how she felt and you accepted it with such grace.

I lack that grace with my little ones sometimes. I know it hurt, but you are awesome.

Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] said...

Knife to my wee heart.

Anna is now using the "you never play with us" line constantly.

Durn kids and their thoughts.

 

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