Reed says to me: “Mom, you never play with me. All you ever do is sit at your computer.”
He’s kinda right.
I feel horrible.
Though she’s not much for picking up, Tessa likes to surprise me by cleaning. I know! How lucky am I?
But here’s what I tend to do. She’s put the dishes in the dishwasher, washed the pots by hand and set them on the stove, wiped off the counters and cleaned the sink. I say thank you and praise her.
But I cannot stop myself there. What I do next shames me.
I rearrange the dishes so that more will fit in the dishwasher. I pick at any missed spots on the cleaned pots. I sweep the floor where she’s wiped off all the counter debris. I do manage to leave the sink alone.
I know. Horrible. I know better and I do it anyway.
I am holding firm on my no-cell-phone and no-dog stances.
Reed’s wallet had been lost for weeks. Sadly, he had a solid wad of money in it, given to him by his Grandfather in Boston, who had recently installed a toll transponder and had no further need for a 5 gallon barrel of change he’d collected. They’d gone to the bank to change the coins into bills and split it between the two grandkids, and Reed’s wallet had been bulging for a couple of weeks.
It went missing and Reed looked for it half-heartedly. It was only when he had immediate needs (like while we were in Tar.get) that he desperately wanted his wallet found. When he was actually home, amid the chaos that is his room, he couldn’t be bothered to look.
Until the weekend that Bruno Mars came to town. I told the kids I would take them to the concert if they would pay for half their tickets — about $18. You may think this is mean, but they appreciate things more when they’ve used their own energy to pay for it.
Suddenly Reed REALLY wanted to find his wallet, but without actually having to look for it. Is it in your room, Reed? Mommmm! I already looked there! In the car? Mommmm! I already looked there! In the couch? Mommmm! I already looked there! In your drawers, under your bed, in your laundry? Mommmm! I already looked in all those places! I’m dooooooooooomed! My life is ovvvverrrrrr because I can’t go to the conceeeeeeeert! Waaaaaah, waaaaaaah!
Tessa and I cleaned his entire room looking for the dratted thing. It took all freakin’ afternoon. He “helped” us by complaining less loudly than usual.
Finally I looked in one of the previously looked-in places:
couch cushion vortex
Reed’s relief brought him to tears.
Best! Mom! Ever! he said as he hugged me.
Who is poised to take over the King of Pop crown now that Michael Jackson is gone? My vote goes to Bruno Mars. He’s got pop instincts as a writer of catchy songs, pop moves as a dancer, and he’s pretty darn cute. Just check out this or this or this:
(And yes, some of the lyrics did cause us to have a discussion about appropriateness.)
Having the long concert history that I do — dating all the way back to Barry Manilow (don’t hate me because I’m cool) — I know how valuable it will be for them someday to say, “I saw Bruno Mars at the very beginning of his career.” And also, how groovy is it to take your kids to their first concert?
So I took Tessa and Reed. I remembered to bring binoculars and three pairs of ear plugs. Show time was at 7:30 with one opening act. But there was an additional band on stage before the billed opener, which means that Bruno Mars didn’t hit the stage until 9:40 pm. Sure, there was some impatient squirming, but it was all worth it when Bruno finally came out.
(Apologies for the quality. There was a lot of jumping up and down going on.)
We rocked and rolled and yelled and danced and had a blast together. The show lasted until 11:30 pm and the kids were troopers. They were even able to make the trek back to the parking lot. I had moments of panic toward the end when I thought I might have to carry two sleeping children a quarter-mile to the car (by the way, Roger was out of town at this time).
It was a memory in the making. Tessa and Reed exclaimed, through their sleepiness, that it was the “best night of my entire life!” And for a time I was the…
Best! Mom! Ever!
Some of the best things about writing for MileHighMamas, besides getting to know all the other Mamas, are the perks that our editor is sometimes able to share with us. This time it was entry for our families to Water World, the largest water park in the US — 67 acres. We were there all day and only able to visit a fraction of the attractions.
Not only did we get in with complimentary passes, but Water World also provided us lunch and valet service for the enormous inflatable rafts that the common people had to lug up the hills. Our very special kids? Walked to the top of the rides, cut in line by virtue of their special wristbands, and were awarded a raft out of the stash already at the top.
Tessa and Reed especially loved hanging out on the “beach” at Thunder Bay. The sandless beach with the soda pop logo.
Except for my periodic calling in for sunscreen slathering, once again I was the Best! Mom! Ever!
With my frequent insistence on tooth-brushing an clothes-folding and TV-limiting and general No-ing, hey, I’ll take Best! Mom! Ever! every time I can get it.
We’d made a deal, Tessa and I. If she could go four days in a row without any arguing with me — not over clothes, homework, TV, eating, bedtime, bathtime or anything else — she could get her ears pierced early for her birthday.
(Secretly I half-predicted enough false starts to take us all the way to her 2012 birthday.)
This arrangement was set on a Thursday night.
Friday was very pleasant as Tessa was on her best behavior. Granted, during the school day she wasn’t with me, but during the times she was, I heard “OK, Mom!” over and over.
Hear that? The angel choir?
Saturday and Sunday were the same. No fights with her brother. All chores done happily. Appropriate clothing chosen. Agreeable to a fault. Toys put away.
The transformation was amazing. I no longer had to exert such control over her because she was now controlling herself.
Which, of course we noticed and praised and reinforced in every way we could think of.
I wish there were more of a plot line (well, not really), but Monday went off without a hitch, too. So Tuesday after school, Tessa and Grandma and I went where every pre-teen girl on the planet seems to go to get her ears pierced (do you know how many such videos are on YouTube??): Claire’s.
And Tessa grew up from this:
In more ways than one.
I am quite enjoying this new relationship with my very grown up girl.