No Smoking Crack In The Living Room!

mary and jackThe youngest child,the baby in the family really does have a charmed life.   By the time the third or fourth or sixth kid comes along parents are old and exhausted.

Making up rules and laying down the law takes a ridiculous amount of effort. So we lighten up a little, then we lighten up a lot.

When Jack and Mary were little I was a beast, a fun, silly, loving  beast, but a beast nonetheless. Rooms had to clean, vegetables had to be eaten, and if anybody messed up my favorite punishment was the bathtub.  I made them sit in timeout in the bathtub. I’d say things like, “just stare at the grout for ten minutes then well talk.”

And my temper was epic back then. I had volcanic explosions, things were broken, lots of things, like boom boxes and Swiffers. Stuff that cost me money to replace, but I couldn’t control myself.  I didn’t tolerate whining, eye rolling, bad attitudes, laziness, back talk. Once when Mary and Jack whined about a happy meal toy I threw their brightly colored cardboard boxes, food and toy out the window. They were shocked and speechless but nobody every complained about a toy again. (Even back then I didn’t believe in spanking.  I was way to creative for that.)

Sandor is ten now and the boy has it good.  Being explosive and having nuclear meltdowns  takes a lot of energy. I’m more inclined to talk to him, to analyze the situation and sort things threw. Yeah, I still get really mad sometimes but I can’t remember the last time I broke anything.  If he makes all A’s he gets thirty dollars, but if he walks in with a B, I say something lame like. “You better fix that grade young man, you understand?”

For years I was a category five hurricane, now I’m a downgraded tropical storm.  His room is a mess, he sometimes listens to music he shouldn’t, he and his friends stay up too late on the weekends and sleep in their clothes. Still, I have rules and he sticks to them. He has excellent manners, knows how to shake hands like a man, always makes the honor roll and he actually likes vegetables.

But I’m pretty sure he gets away with stuff I never would have put up with fifteen years ago. But my one rule still stands for Sandor and I’m not backing down. “No smoking crack in the living room!”

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Finger Sucking and Toe Kissing Baby Stuff

toesWe do the weirdest most wonderful stuff to babies and I’m trying to figure out when and why that stops.

When you hold a baby, who’s only wearing a diaper, it’s almost impossible not to kiss their tummy. Or better still, we raspberried their bellies, making that famous prolonged fart noise.  We called those “Zorberts”  The babies would squeal with laughter. Their grins eating their fat faces and the result was hysterical, contagious happiness. I think I kept on Zorberting the kids until they were five or six and even then those ten second fart noises on their tummies made them laugh until they almost cried.

Why did that stop? It was fun and funny. But I’m thinking if I Zorberted 25 year old Jack’s hairy belly it wouldn’t be a cool moment.

When babies have jelly on their fingers or  play with your lips, the first thing you do is start sucking on their fingers, right? Again the result are peels of exquisite laughter. It’s beautiful. Trust me,  I don’t want to suck my kids fingers anymore. And after baby-hood, finger-sucking only takes place during early dating, right?

Toes, baby feet, they make me absolutely crazy. Baby feet look like uncooked biscuit dough and have an almost unworldly softness. the softness of baby feet have made me tear up and I don’t know exactly who. Who hasn’t kissed those fat soft baby feet over and over? Cause it’s one of the best things in life.  Do I want to kiss my ten year old son’s feet now? HELL NO! I think the almost primal need to kiss baby feet stops the moment they start walking. The fat softness disappears and they start to smell. No kissing required.

And when we hold a baby we all, almost instinctively, smell his hair. We hum and rock. We loose ourselves in the unmatched innocence and beauty of the new born. Babies are like prayers in our hearts, released, we are able to talk to God in a language we don’t know.

There was one thing I did to my babies, I don’t know if anybody else did and I’ve always was afraid to ask. When my kids had stuff on their faces, chocolate or jelly, stuff  like that, I would sometimes lick their face clean, like a cat licking her kittens. Obviously, this isn’t something I would do in public, I didn’t’ lick my kids in Wal-Mart. but if Mary had Jelly on her cheek and there wasn’t a rag handy, yeah, I’d lick her face.

To this day, all my kids think licking people is the funniest thing.  If Lexie and I are posing for a picture and Jack is in the room. odds are he’ll sneak up and lick one of us just as the shutter clicks. The ultimate photo bomb. Apparently, my wolf like licking warped them in some weird way.

I miss all those baby moves that resulted in sheets of laughter. But I guess Zorberts are gone for now. Until the next generation joins us and then the finger sucking, toe kissing, face licking will start all over.