Stories from January 2012

An Open Letter to My Teenage Daughter

Linda Kennard

My dear moody teen,

You’ve been part of this family for nearly two decades, and I love you now every bit as much as I did when you were laid on my chest as a greasy, wrinkly newborn. While I’m not as blind now as I was then to your imperfections, I’m every bit as sure that you are truly wonderful. I know now what I could not have known then: you are an intelligent, talented, kind-hearted, wise soul with endless potential. You can be whatever—whoever—you want to be, and I want nothing quite as adamantly as I want you to be happy.

Did you catch that last bit? I said that I want you to be happy. I suppose what I’m really trying to say is that I demand it. To that end, we need to get a few things straight around here:

• Much like a black hole, your foul moods mercilessly suck everyone in the immediate vicinity into deep and dark recesses, so please refrain from exuding tension. This will take practice, but I believe in you, and I’m afraid I have to insist on this point. You see, darling, there’s only room in this house for one resident bitch, and I hate to inform you, but I claimed that role long ago—before you were even born.

• Contrary to what you apparently believe, your siblings do in fact have a right to exist, breathe, and even speak. You’re not the only one to whom I must devote my attention, so take a number, get in line, and wipe that annoyed look off of your face.

• When the family is altogether in close quarters (e.g., the car, the living room, the state), you (like the rest of us) have an obligation to at least try to be nice. In these settings, innocent questions call for friendly responses. If posed with this question, “Hey, Mom says we’re going for a walk, so where do you want to go?” answering by jolting your body, gritting your teeth, and yelling, “I just woke up! Leave me alone!” is not a “friendly” response. A simple, “I don’t know” would suffice. “I don’t know, Buddy” would be better still, friendlier.

• My wallet is not a bank, so please refrain from randomly withdrawing funds without warning and accept the periodic “No”—with a smile please—as an answer to your demands for cash.

• I welcome visits from your alter ego, mind blowing as they are. When you plop down on the couch and start chatting away about your day amidst your own smirks and giggles, I’m thrilled—really I am. (Just ignore—and don’t trip over—my agape jaw.) While these visits are rare enough to be somewhat confusing, I nevertheless find it oh-so-nice to see that light-hearted, happy-go-lucky version of you come up for air every now and again; she’s welcome to pop in any time.

Hugs and kisses my darling,
Your Adoring Mother


Sarah Logan

Every year I make the same New Year’s Resolution (eat healthier), and every year I mostly ignore that resolution (but chocolate IS healthy!). This year, I think I’ll focus on Momilutions, instead, and they’ll be less about changing what I do and more about reframing how I view my world. Here is my top five:

• Remember that frozen chicken nuggets for dinner do not represent a parenting failure. They are a means to provide my children with a less stressed mother. And hey, I buy the “all breast meat, with whole grains” ones. That’s better, right?

• Provide my children with opportunities to boost their immune systems by embracing my dirty floors. I have dark floors, two kids, and a white dog that sheds. This means they stay clean for about 5 seconds after mopping. I can run around like a crazy woman trying to keep them clean, or I can embrace the dirt (and dog hair). This year, dirt don’t hurt.

• Let my kids work it out themselves. I’m not a fan of sibling fighting, mostly because it is loud and always ends with me being called in to mediate. This year, I’m going to stop serving as judge and let my kids work out their own issues more often. We’re building life skills, kids. Let me know when you decide whose turn it is with this toy; in the meantime it will be right here with me.

• Allow my children to improve their ability to play imaginatively and increase independence by not scheduling entertainment for them 24/7. This year, I’d like to say, “go play” more and “get your shoes on, we’re late” less.

• Celebrate their creativity and individuality by allowing them to wear what they pick out, provided it is weather-appropriate, regardless of color, pattern, or style. A pink plaid turtleneck with a brown jumper, green tutu, orange tights, and rain boots? Wow, Caveman, the other boys will be jealous!

And a bonus: Give more hugs, kisses, tickles, and snuggles. You can never have too many.

Resolving to Be a Kid. Because It’s Better.

Karrie McAllister

For the most part, adults make the same generic resolutions each year. Eat better, weigh less, exercise more, live life more fully, love more openly, be a better person, blah blah blah.

It all makes you sound like you’re talking less from your mouth and more from other orifices because we all know that by mid-January, you’re no longer counting wine calories because they’re considered “medicinal” in order to not strangle your kids, which you swore you weren’t going to do.
So to save us all the embarrassment of going through another round of failures, I present a last-minute resolution to still sneak in while the year is fresh: Be a kid.

Why do I want to be a kid in 2012? Let me explain…

1.) I want to save money. Kids save all of their money, barely any of which they actually earn, except by being cute and pretending to learn good work ethics. They just happily collect cold hard cash and stick it in their piggy banks which, if you can get the little rubber stopper out, have a hole just slightly smaller than any denomination. Boom—savings galore.

2.) I want to eat less. If I eat like a kid, my problems will be solved. Tiny plates, tiny portions, and a giant mom watching over me to make sure sweets are out of reach and I eat any and all vegetables. Also, kid meals come with a drink (cabernet, please) and a toy, and who doesn’t like free stuff?

3.) I want to exercise more. My children run themselves ragged every living day, to the point that they’re just running circles around the house, from the kitchen to the living room to the dining room, chasing each other like a dog chasing its tail. Pointless, really, but they so enjoy the exercise more than I ever possibly could.

4.) I want to be happy, live life, love freely. Children are the epitome of happiness. As a joke I wrapped up toilet paper and their own underwear and gave them to my kids as Christmas presents, and when they opened them, all I heard was, “Yeah!!! Toilet paper!” or “YESSSS!!! My own underwear!” I want THAT kind of happiness, and then I want to run around with my own gifted underwear on my head, chasing my siblings around the house and then thanking my mom for the fun gift by giving her giant, goopy hugs and kisses.

5.) And finally, I want to get more sleep. Somebody, please please please put me to bed at 8:30. Tuck me in, make me read my book and let me get my rest. Being a kid takes a lot of energy, you know.

Momicillin on Facebook

This Weeks Tip

You would think at our age that we wouldn’t have to worry about these things. But, as Kate will attest, even at *ahem* 27, untimely breakouts can (and will) happen. What to do? Apply an ice cube for 30 second. Then soak a cotton ball in eye drops and press it to the “spot” for 3 minutes. The theory is that the ice and drop combination will cause blood vessels below the surface to contract—leaving you looking, well, a little less like Rudolph.