Slides and Cries and “Oh My”s

“But Mommy, I don’t want to have children,” my daughter said this morning, stomping her feet to make sure I caught the level of her devotion. “I don’t like it when babies cry, and I don’t want to listen to them cry. And how about if I go to work and you watch the babies for me and then I can see them when I come home.”

She’s four, but she’s a planner.

“And I don’t want to change smelly stinky diapers! Ewww! Will you watch them for me, Mommy, so that I can go to work?”

I smiled at my little girl, so full of determination to settle this matter immediately.

“What do you want to do for work?” I asked.

She looked confused. Her tiny jaw dropped open an inch.

“Um, get money. I want to go to work so that I can get money.”

“That’s nice, but what do you want to do for your work? Daddy works with computers, I like to write, your brother wants to be a paleontologist — what is it you want to do?”

“I want to be a dancer!” she cried, and bounded around the room. “I want to do ballet for work!”

“And you don’t want to stay home with your children?”

“No. Because first they’ll be babies. And THEN–” her face plummeted with dread. “They’ll turn into KIDS!”

I couldn’t help but laugh.

“What’s wrong with that? You could do what I do. You could take your babies to the park, you could–”

“No, Mommy! Babies don’t do anything at the park. They can’t do anything. And I’d have to HOLD them so I couldn’t go to the PLAYGROUND!”

Ahhh… the sweet musings of my little girl. She does have a point, though. It is difficult to play on the playground when you’re holding a baby. Or even a bigger child. Just last week my daughter wanted me to sit her on my lap so we could go down the slide together. Of course alarms went off in my head that she’s too big for this now, but you try saying no to her bright shiny eyes.

I gathered her in my lap, which consisted of perching at the top of a twisty-slide with an opening the size of a mouse hole, grasping my daughter’s shirt to keep from having her squeeze away from me, only to duck my head and begin our descent at the same time another little girl decided to run up the slide from the bottom, leaving me screaming, “Look out! Look out! I can’t stop!” and all the other mothers turned toward me like heads at a tennis match and the slide held onto me like mud and let me slip down bit by bit at the same time, twisting my body as I kept my little girl in a death grip trying not to crash into the other girl now half-way up and looking terrified.

She spun a nimble 180 and slid down the slide like a ghost, while I remained half-on, half-off and bruised my elbow so badly I couldn’t lift a glass of water later that night when I recounted the story to my husband.

“…and my elbow still hurts,” I finished.

My daughter came up behind me. Brushed some hair out of her eyes in a frenzy.

“And Mommy, I don’t want to have babies because they’ll sit on my lap and I’ll hurt my elbow when we go down the slide!”

Before I could reply, she was out of the room. I wonder, sometimes, what I’m teaching her about motherhood, family, life in general. The truth is, I loved when my children were babies, and I love having them as little kids. I hope in the end, my little girl remembers that I did hold her when she cried, and I did carry her down the slide, and I’d do it all over again.

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77 thoughts on “Slides and Cries and “Oh My”s

  1. When my daughter was five she told me she wanted to have 8 kids! But she also wanted to work and planned to buy a big house in Sweden where me and my husband and the other grandparents could live with her and her husband and their kids. So we could all help her take care of all the kids.

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  2. Oh, sorry to hear about the elbow, Melissa. But I can’t stop laughing at your daughter’s deductions. 🙂 Such a simple mind is a child’s!

    You are a great fun mother, also one who revels in it. And it is because of that, I am pretty sure she will remember the good things when it is time.

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    1. Thank you so much, AIT. I do enjoy having fun with the kids. Nothing makes the day go by faster or better than when we’re laughing and smiling. Sometimes I just grab my camera and record the kids’ laughter, as it’s the best sound in the world.

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  3. Your little girl’s logic is irrefutable and so so funny because it’s oh-so-true. But just wait and see what a wonderful mother she will be – because your example of the sore elbow is undoubtedly one of many mommy sacrifices she will always remember. 🙂

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    1. Awww, Dor, thank you! I know in my heart without a doubt that both of my children will make the best possible parents someday, if that’s where their lives take them. My son, especially, is so loving and caring and gentle around little kids and babies. And my daughter has now decided that she does want to be a mommy. For today, anyway! Good thing she has lots of time to make up her mind.

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  4. Beautiful post! My Vic started planning her wedding and future family at the age of 4…. She wanted to work in my company and said she would make tea! So much ambition!!!

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  5. I remember daughter #1 wondering how she would have children and work when she was only about 8. I still remember we had that conversation in the car–an important time and place to have conversations when life gets busy. I told her in the car “I’ll help you.” Oh my she remembered and took me up on it when grandson was age 1-6. Ha-ha — I never would take it back or eat my words.

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  6. I think it’s great that she understands she has the option of whether or not to have children. It’s a choice and she doesn’t HAVE to. So, if she does have children she can really appreciate them in her life, instead of possibly resenting them because she never had a choice in the first place.

    I definitely did my own roller coaster of whether or not I wanted kids. I’m glad that when I discussed my not wanting children I got support instead of just “Oh you’ll change your mind one day”. Yes, I did change my mind, but not because I was worn down and just gave up. I gave it a lot of thought and I am very excited to be a mommy (in January!).

    I’m sorry about your elbow! Is it going funky colours?

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    1. Congratulations on your upcoming new baby! 🙂 And becoming a mother! It’s a great adventure, and sounds like one you are so excited to take. (And the elbow’s fine, now. Far from the worst bruise I’ve ever had. I bang into things all the time…)

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  7. Now there’s a girl who will be master (or mistress) of her own destiny! Stand back and make way – I love it! You can relax about the grandmothering years, as she clearly has them figured out for you 🙂 I know, and you’re still firmly entrenched in mothering little ones yourself! You do a lovely job Melissa, and I hope you keep going down slides with such verve (minus the injuries wherever possible).

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    1. Thank you for the sweet compliments, Dagne! 🙂 Ever since my daughter was born, and I mean when she was just a baby, I’ve said about her, “she has her own mind about things.” I don’t know how I could tell with her so young, but it was obvious to me right from the start. And I love that about her! And I treasure it and encourage it and look at it as a gift.

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  8. Next time you go down a slide, I highly recommend knee pads, elbow pads, and maybe a helmet. And never, ever go down a slide after the kid with the wax paper in his hand. 🙂

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  9. I love those random conversations with kids. Never know what they’ll come up with. I told mine to quit making stuff up the other day and she looked at me, dead-serious, and said, “But I’m NOT making it up. I’m a habitual truth-teller.” Yeah, and my name is… Anyway, we can always count on them to make us laugh…and think, can’t we?

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  10. Ha! Melissa, I could not stop laughing hearing musings of your daughter. She has her thinking cap on since such a young age. 🙂 I had a smile on my face throughout this post and I still feel the presence of smile on my face while typing this comment.
    But honestly just like her, I think the same about children. Although I love children, yet I too find it irritating when they cry. So it’s fair enough for me.
    And Melissa you do not worry much about your elbow, while going down slide next time. Do not tell anyone, but at 27 I do enjoy this stuff. Every time I visit a park, I continue with this, until the security guard throws me out of the park. 🙂

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    1. Good for you! 🙂 It’s important to nurture that inner child. Good for the soul. And I bet someday, if you have a child, the crying will pale in comparison to the amount of love you’ll hear instead.

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  11. So sweet! But, ouch–slides can be dangerous for big kids like us…
    My daughter is almost six, so she sounds so much like yours. “Mommy, I want to have two babies, one a boy and one a girl, just like me and Christian, so they can play with each other.” Then a week later, “Mommy, I don’t want any babies, ever because they come out of your tummy and it hurts.” And the next day, “Mommy, I want lots and lots of babies, like maybe nine!” Overall, she is baby-obsessed. I took care of a newborn until she was one year old last year in my home and she still insists that baby was hers to keep.

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  12. Children really do have the simple answers that adults sometimes over complicate. This morning, our daughter was looking at the chalkboard an dwrote twow. She almost argued for three minutes that was how you spell two! Funny what children do.

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  13. Aww, now there’s a ‘woman of substance’ …Gosh, this young ‘event’ planner is going to go places for sure! Hope the elbow’s on the mend, Melissa, take care.. 🙂

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    1. I’m feeling great, thanks! 🙂 And yes, my little girl has her own mind about things — I’ve said this since she was born! It’s a great trait, and one that I try my very best to nurture.

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  14. I love these conversations with your kids. Your daughter’s as smart as her Mum. I also think you should go on that slide as often as you can. Next time make sure that no-one’s running up the wrong way, and get someone to take a photo. The years fly by and our kids grow up so fast, you’ll be glad to have it.

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    1. I do go on the slide all the time, and the swings, and the monkey bars 🙂 but you’re right! I should get someone to take a photo of us together. I have many photos of the kids, but of course I’m always the one behind the camera. I’d love a photo of the kids and me having fun.

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  15. I loved that! She’s great! My son hates to hear babies crying too. Unfortunately because he has an impulse control problem, he’s likely to be heard saying very loudly to me. “What’s wrong with that baby?! Why don’t the parents make it shut up!? Babies are so stupid! They cry for nothing ALL THE TIME!” Sigh… he’s almost 7, and we are thinking to try and have another baby… perhaps we ought to wait? 🙂

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  16. This is adorable! Your daughter sounds incredibly bright, I like how she’s trying to secure you as official babysitter and nappy changer already. Very enterprising!
    – Emma

    The M Word Mag: themwordmag.wordpress.com

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    1. Oh yes, my daughter is incredibly bright! 🙂 So is my son. Very often my husband and I look at each other and say, “I thought we had a few more years before they became smarter than us!”

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  17. I often wonder what messages I’m sending to my own kids about parenting, life, etc. Every once in a while, I try to be more intentional, to craft my message more formally, to give them “the right answers.” But then I remember that real life isn’t lived by the book. I remember that trying to boil life’s complexity down or trying to control it is just foolish. I love reading your stories about your adventures in life. And if anyone’s kids have a great chance of succeeding in life or at least starting with an understanding of how to handle it, yours do.

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    1. Wow, Kevin, thank you. You must be quite the inspirational pastor (but of course I knew that already!). And you are right. There are no “right” answers. Most times I feel the best thing I can do for my children is just to listen to them. They’re very smart, they just need to feel heard. (But as the saying goes, I DO have all the answers… 🙂 guess it’s just knowing when to share and when to shush up.)

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  18. I’m sure you’re teaching her all sorts of WONDERFUL things about being a mommy. It’s just that the downside is readily apparent to the casual observer, while the immeasurable perks aren’t quite as obvious.

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  19. One of the most amazing things about being a parent is that innate ability most people have to step back and put the needs of someone else first. It happens millions of times, every single day, yet it goes almost completely unnoticed. Sooner or later, that very same trait will emerge in your little girl. It has to: look where she came from.

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    1. What a nice thing to say. I’m not even sure how to answer, other than to say thank you. 🙂 And you are so right. The millions of nice things we do each day, though they may go mostly unnoticed, do have an impact.

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  20. I shared your blog with my oldest daughter, who is the mother of a 7 year old, and 4 year old girls. Your story reminded so much of my precious granddaughters. The 4 year old loves to talk to mommy about who she will marry and she seems to think that kissing on the cheek is how you get married. Thanks for sharing your stories.

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    1. Thanks for sharing my blog with your daughter — sounds like your granddaughters are very sweet! The little one might be right in some part of the world, marriage traditions do vary, after all! 🙂

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  21. It’s always fun to see how kids deduct and make their conclusions. Not always very rational, but usually very down to earth. I had a great time reading about your daughter. And I am sure she will see things differently when she grows older.

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    1. Thank you, Otto! 🙂 And if by “older” you mean a month or two since I wrote this post — then yes, she now wants to be a mommy! Her reasoning does fascinate me. And often surprises me. I’ll be talking about something, going on about my day, and all the sudden she’s jumped to some conclusion I never saw coming — there’s a lot of explaining to do around here, on a regular basis!

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    1. Hi Arindam, thanks for checking in. And no — not busy with any books right now, just life. I’m volunteering a lot at the children’s schools, and with all the demands of having school-age kids, I can’t find the time to write anymore! It’s okay though, as this is such a special time in their lives. And I feel so lucky when I walk into my son’s school and his face lights up, he races across the room to me and shouts to everyone, “This is my Mommy!” 🙂 Can it really get any better? (Well, I did have almost an hour this morning to myself, which I’m using to answer long overdue blog comments!)

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  22. I loved this! 🙂 My daughter is currently going through a lot of hard-thought-out “when I grow ups…” and babies and future career opportunities figure very heavily in them. About 6 children and working at a bakery seem to be her current aspirations. 🙂 And if she has her way, I’ll be the one changing lots of diapers and cleaning up lots of other messes, lol.

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    1. Sounds like she has her future all planned out! For today anyway, right? 🙂 And can’t say I blame her for trying to find a way out of the diaper situation — she’s not the first, that’s for sure!

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