I judged a mom today.

I judged a mom today.

I did. I judged another mother.

Treat others how you want to be treated.

Don’t judge a person before you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

Yeah, I know. I still did it. My jaw dropped. She probably heard my teeth slam together in an effort not to show my judgement. I didn’t confront her. I didn’t say a word. She wasn’t harming her daughter in any way I could see – other than her tween daughter will hate her in a few years and leave as soon as she’s 18.

I’m judging again. I’ll stop.

I took Emma to the orthodontist.

Some parents sit in the receptionists’ waiting area and some sit in the extra chair provided near the dental chair. I like to sit with Emma and discuss where we should play hooky before taking her back to school.

The row of dental chairs are separated by a free-standing, frosted glass window. There is no privacy. The orthodontist made her rounds. She examined the patient next to Emma.

Orthodontist: Oh! Look how nicely these are coming along.

Mom: Uh, huh. Can we take them off now?

Orthodontist: Oh, she still needs more time. We still need to fix her bite and then we’ll fine tune.

Mom: Can you take them off, please?

Orthodontist: We never hold anyone hostage with braces. But I am not recommending this. Her treatment is not complete.

Mom: Yes, I know. I would like my daughter to have an imperfect smile. You know? I don’t want her to have perfectly straight teeth. It shows character if her teeth are not perfect.

I looked at Emma. My mouth dropped. I tipped back in my chair to get a better look at the mom and daughter.

Emma: (whispers) Mom, stop!

Me: I want to see them.

Emma: How old is the girl?

Me: Your age? Maybe a little younger?

The daughter stared at her hands in her lap while her mom argued with the orthodontist.

Mom: I never wanted her teeth to be straight. I just want them almost straight.

Orthodontist: We can take them off today if this is what you and your daughter wish. Please understand that the price doesn’t change, whether you paid in full or are making payments.

Mom: Yes, I know. Please remove them.

If I thought this was best for my daughter and this was something my daughter wanted, by all means, judge me. Walk in my shoes. Write about me on your blog.

I have the feeling this wasn’t the daughter’s wish.

How long does a parent have control over how their child looks? Even if the daughter wanted straight teeth, she probably wasn’t paying for the braces herself. Braces are a luxury, in most cases. I’m not sure the daughter ever had a say at all.

A parent can somewhat control how a child looks when they’re young. A baby is a little doll you can dress up even if the doll keeps you up all night, shoots yellow poop up the back of the cute outfit you bought from Target, and rips out every hair bow you place on her head. And Emma still won’t let me style her gorgeous curls.

When does a parent cross the line? Deciding where bones should be – teeth are bones, right? Straight but not too straight teeth? 

I’m not the greatest mom. I yell at my kids in public. I’m sure I’ve put them in danger by road-raging my way to the grocery store. I rarely watch any gymnastics practice. I’m cool with making chocolate chip cookies for dinner when Scott is out of town. I show my daughter it’s ok to eavesdrop and judge others. I don’t want to have more kids because, well, I’m just done. 

Emma: Mom?

Me: Yeah, Em.

Emma: Thanks for letting me keep my braces on. I’m glad you’re not like that other mom. You’re the best.

I judged a mom today because sometimes you need a shot of adrenaline in the arm to let you know you’re doing ok.

___________

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No, thank you.

I thought I was in the clear for a few years.

Scott and I are deep into the school-age years of parenting.

It’s the years some might call the “honeymoon of parenting.” These are the years when the kids are independent enough to make their own dinner or take a shower yet aren’t old enough to roll their eyes and take off in their car.

Hm, honeymoon.

“A honeymoon is the traditional holiday taken by newlyweds to celebrate their marriage in intimacy and seclusion.”

This ain’t no honeymoon. 

This is re-living your childhood. I don’t have any memory of being an infant or toddler. I barely remember kindergarten or even life-changing events like my siblings being born. The pieces I do remember from my early childhood probably stem more from looking at pictures than the memory itself.

I couldn’t pull on my own life events to help guide me as I raised my babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Scott didn’t help either. Like every parent, we didn’t know what the hell we were doing. Once Emma learned how to talk, the first thing we did was film her saying “tequila shots!”

Our daughters are in 5th grade and 2nd grade.

Without calling my kids out and embarrassing them with the details – they each tried out for two separate things they’re passionate for. They both didn’t get it and other kids did. They both got the “sorry, you’re not good enough” slip handed to them on their way out. To make it worse, they happened to receive this news on the same day.

They both came home in tears. That’s an understatement. Let me try again.

They both came home with their heart ripped out, humiliated for even thinking they were good enough, they swore every kid pointed and laughed at them, and they vowed to never pursue anything that required a try-out. I know the feeling. Whether it comes from a teacher or a peer, someone telling you you’re not good enough feels like a slap in the face.

And then the girls pulled out math homework and the world came crashing down again. We had a rough night.

The real world caught up to the two babies we have no idea how to raise. The world where everyone makes the team ended last night. Emma and Kate learned that there are kids out there better than they are. They learned about rejection.

“No, thank you” is hard to hear, even as an adult.

I told the girls they are braver than I was at their age. As a child, I didn’t even try-out for anything. If it involved a stage or drawing attention to me, I didn’t want to do it. My rejections came more from friendships. Scott’s rejections were always sports-related. Even now, I told the girls every book they read in school has a pile of authors that received rejection letters. Rejection comes with the writing territory. I expect the answer is no and often it is. But that doesn’t stop me from trying again because I have to be good if I heard one yes.

I realized the only way I handle rejection is through maturity, something both girls don’t have yet.

The girls are still hurt.

I guess the point of this post is parenting is hard. You trade sleepless nights for toddler tantrums. You trade toddler tantrums for your preschooler yelling, “tequila shots!” to the class. You trade “tequila shots” outbursts for facing rejection.

But I don’t need to tell you that.

Scott and I went to bed last night feeling worthless because our kids felt worthless. The same memories of rejection we felt as kids showed up again. Our kids are going through the part of life we remember.

I hope they come out with more courage.

___________

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Screw you, anonymous.

I couldn’t sleep last night.

There were monsters under my bed. Ok, that’s not true. They were in my phone. Fine. More like monsters in my head only they weren’t monsters. They were people yelling at me. People named anonymous.

These people read the New York Times article, Why I Decided to Stop Writing About My Children.

I don’t know why I read the comments.

Internet rule number one: never read the comments. It takes thick skin to read what anonymous has to say.

I couldn’t sleep last night because my thin skin got a paper cut.

I read the comments because I am this article. The author admits she screwed up. She’s not writing about her kids on her blog anymore. This author’s blog is not different than the thousands of other blogs written by parents – she wrote about her children growing up for the past seven years. Parenting is and will always be a hot topic because becoming a parent is life-changing. It’s metamorphic. It’s relatable. Your life, your body, maybe even your personality can be separated into before kids and after kids.

She wrote about her son starting puberty.

“It seems an obvious line-crossing that I wrote about such an intimate detail, but I did. At the time I didn’t pause for a split second; I was more than willing to go there. I had been writing and reading extensively about parenting tweens. I knew people might be mildly shocked, but mostly interested.”

Her dad called her and said she should stop to think about respecting his grandson’s privacy. She made the decision to stop writing about her kids. Now she writes about nature and trees.

I am not the author of this New York Times article. I don’t know anything about trees. I managed to kill three of them in our backyard.

This author might as well be called a witch and burned at the stake. I’m next. The commenters, anonymous, were talking to me too –

“You’re a narcissist. This blog is all about you.”

“Your kids will hate you when they’re adults. Have fun with that.”

“You just wrote about your kids by saying you’re not going to write about them.”

“Get over yourself.”

“How would you feel if your mom wrote about your first period?”

“You have no respect for your children. You are a terrible mother for giving them no privacy.”

“These bloggers think they can call themselves writers for using their children as stories.”

“That grandpa is a hero. Hopefully, this writer listens to his advice. Shame on her.”

“I hope your kid’s friends don’t read your blog. You just caused your son to be bullied.”

Then I woke up.

I can only speak for myself.

Screw you, anonymous.

I write about my children. I tell their stories. I write down what they say for others to read. I share pictures. I use their real names. I started this blog when Kate was 6 weeks old. My first post documented Kate’s first smile – which is funny because she hates smiling for pictures now. I have been writing about Emma and Kate for 7 years. It’s the only thing they know – “my mom is a writer.” They are proud of that. They are proud of me.

My kids know I write stories about them for others to read. I think they would like their stories as adults. I would want to know what I said as a child. Everyone loves to hear stories of an early childhood they don’t remember.

My kids have never read my blog in its entirety. I’m not sure they would want to read about my bikini wax or my advice to men on how to get laid. Maybe one day, they’ll appreciate my writing as a woman. Or not. I am not the first mother to publicly write about adult topics. I do not write about Emma and Kate’s changing bodies or their drama at school. I don’t write about their insecurities. I do not write about them as much as I used to but that is just because of their ages. That is life. They are becoming independent. My life – my blog – is opening up to more than just my kids.

This little blog – yeah, it’s about me. I’m the main character. It’s my perspective on life as a mother, wife, sister, daughter, and friend. I know my kids because I raised them. They are two of the funniest people I know. And they know it. I want the world to laugh with them.

If you think I’m taking away their privacy then don’t read it.

Oh, and make sure you tell Mark Zuckerberg that because, to me, a blog post about my kids is just a long caption to a photo. I wouldn’t post a picture of them naked much like I wouldn’t write about which future boyfriend makes them cry.

I can sleep tonight because I know I am doing the best I can. As for my future adult children – I hope they write. For damn sure, I hope they read and write. I hope they write stories about their crazy mother in the nursing home.

I hope they write better than I.

________

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It never rains on her birthday.

“Mom! UGH! It’s says strong thunderstorms on my birthday!”

Emma turned 10 years old on Tuesday. May 24th at 12:05 in the afternoon.

It never rains on her birthday.

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Ten is just another birthday to her. In one of those ten years – I can’t figure out which one – presents switched from princess clothes and tiaras to books and nail polish.

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She recieved more clothes than she would probably care for. But maybe that is how we raised her. I was never a mom to dress her up in dresses and bows.

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And what is 10 years to her anyway? She won’t appreciate her birthday until the privileges come with them. 16 to drive. 18 to buy a lotto ticket. 21 to buy alcohol. She’ll appreciate her birthdays when the birthdays give her wings.

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Birthdays are more meaningful to the parents, especially when the birthdays fall somewhere between the girl and the woman.

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This is not one of those open letters. This is not a post for Emma with advice on growing up. She’s 10. She won’t listen to me.

It’s just another happy birthday post.

It never rains on her birthday.

________

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Coors Light.

Beer me.

I use the term often, as any good parent should. When the kids push us off the ledge, the beer numbs the fall.

Even though I have two daughters that are at the age when estrogen is brewing just below the surface, they are still kids. When it’s time for bed, they still need help. I’m at their side, reminding them to brush and floss their teeth. They still ask for a kiss goodnight. I am usually the last one to turn off the lights. And after they are asleep, I still pick up their toys in the play area. The things I find amuse me – drawings, puppets made from socks, a stack of pillows for a fort,

an opened Coors Light can, full of water.

Emma: AGH! MOM! TURN OFF THE LIGHTS! TOO BRIGHT!

Me: Is this your beer can?

Emma: What are you talking about?

I squinted at her.

Me: Ugh, you’re telling the truth. That means…oh no.

I shut Emma’s door and opened Kate’s.

Me: WAKE UP.

Kate: UGH! MOM!

Me: Is this your beer can?

Kate:

Me: Kate Audrey. Is this your beer can?

Kate:

Me: I found this opened beer can full of water. Were you drinking from it?

Kate:

Me: You told me earlier today you got a cardboard box from the recycling bin. Did you take an empty beer can too?

Kate: (sighs)

Me: TELL ME NOW.

Scott: What’s the problem?

Me: Kate got your empty beer can from the recycling bin, filled it with water and she was most likely drinking it.

Scott: You sound so accusing.

Me: Kate, I’m going to ask you one more time. Is this your beer can?

Kate: Ugh. I’m done talking about this.

The kid pushed me off a ledge. She kept the beer and there’s nothing here to numb the fall.

 

___________

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Halfway there.

They say after you have a baby, you blink, and then that baby is headed off to college.

I call bullshit.

A kid doesn’t just wake up one day and become an 18 year old. It’s a process. Time slows down after the age of 9.

And do you know why years 9 through 18 are slowed down? I’ll tell you why – it’s so Scott and I can be slowly reminded we’re going to be grandparents one day. THAT’S WHY.

The hormones that will make my grandchildren have showed up with their pretty, little eye-rolls.

Emma turned 9 this weekend. I usually write a sweet post about Emma’s birthday. Emma’s birth made me a mom. She made Scott a dad. Her grandparents became grandparents and her aunts and uncles became, well, aunts and uncles.

And when you’re a newbie at raising a baby, you will get unsolicited advice. Maybe it’s not so much advice but a warning. Like a hurricane. It’s coming straight for us and all we can do is board up the house and hide.

“You’re doing good, mom. Believe it or not, you’ll miss these days when she’s a teenager!”  – an older mom at Target, watching me wrestle a screaming, arched-back baby Emma in my arms.

“Oh, this is nothin’. Just wait until junior high!” – my dad, during a five-year-old Emma meltdown.

“Well, she’s 9 years old now. She’s not a kid anymore. 4th grade is the year. You’ll start to see a few girls…with body changes.” – the pediatrician, at Emma’s wellness check.

If there is one thing my kid overachieves at, it’s exploding estrogen. The teenager showed up last year. It was subtle at first.

You’re the meanest mom ever! I tell all my friends you’re mean!

That’s cool. A big kid meltdown. When she’s mad at me, she runs to Scott. And when she’s mad at Scott, she runs to me. We have this all under control. She has no clue we’re on the same team.

Then it unraveled within the year.

I don’t like my hair in a ponytail because my face looks fat.

I just walked around the playground by myself because no one would play with me. I want to change schools now.

That girl said she’s not going to be my friend anymore. Everyone hates me because I’m ugly. And Kate is the pretty one.

Watching a child change into a woman is painful. Heartbreaking, even.

I could write advice about middle school and the awkward years. But she wouldn’t relate to it because she hasn’t been through it. And I know the first rule of age 9 through 18 because I invented the rule – don’t listen to your mother. 

She’ll figure it all out.

She’ll figure out those mean kids don’t hate her. Those mean kids will just turn into asshole adults. The world is full of them. They probably don’t even know they’re assholes. She’ll learn to brush them off.

She’ll figure out she is not ugly. It won’t take a family member to tell her she’s not. Or even a girlfriend. Or a stranger. The only person that will get her to believe she is pretty is a boy.

And as far as a dislike for her hair up, well, I don’t like my hair up either. Not because of the word “fat” but because I feel like I look like a boy. If she doesn’t like her hair up, then good. She cares. Wear your hair down, Emma. Be your own woman.

She’ll figure out that raising a child never gets easier. Worry is a cloud that hangs over parenthood. Worrying about her baby taking its first breath is just as scary as worrying about her toddler falling down the stairs. And that worry is just as scary as that “child” driving off to college, freshman-stye.

She’ll figure out one day that she’ll be a woman that blinked. And she’ll call bullshit too.

Because she is my child.

Kate quit soccer.

Can I ask you some advice?

Of course, I can. This is the internet. Everyone has an opinion behind the safety of a keyboard.

Do you force your child to take extracurriculars? 

Are you an enforcer parent or let-your-kid-quit parent?

Are you the parent that doesn’t let your child tell you no? She told me she didn’t want to but I’m going to make her go to summer camp anyway. It’s a part of being a kid.

Or are you the parent that allows your child to make their own decisions? Fine, call your dad and tell him you quit soccer. It’s ringing. — Hello? — I quitted.

Kate quit soccer.

Me: Kate, get off my leg and go run on the field with your new friends. They’re yelling your name. Go, girlfriend! Go play soccer!

Kate: No. I hate soccer.

Me: You didn’t even try it. Go kick a ball back with that little girl. Isn’t she in your class?

Kate: It’s too cold.

Me: It will warm up when you run around.

Kate: I’m not as good as Emma.

Me: But your team is with girls your age. You don’t have to play like Emma.

Kate: I don’t want you to watch me.

Me: Ok, I’ll turn around and watch Emma on the playground. Go play!

I turned around and felt Kate release my leg. I checked to see where Emma was at on the playground and then turned back around to sneak a glance at Kate.

She was gone.

I scanned heads again. Kate was not with her teammates on the field.

Then a pink coat caught my eye. She was a soccer field away.

Me: KATE!!

Kate turned around.

Kate: I QUITTED!

Kate sprinted towards my car.

Me: EMMA, LET’S GO! HURRY! KATE! STOP! WAIT FOR ME!

We made a solid choice when we enrolled Emma in soccer. We put her in. She didn’t complain. And the child blossomed. Athletically, maybe a little bit. But it’s her confidence that blossomed. She’s changed. She’s happy. It might have to do with switching schools and milking the “new kid” status. Or it might be the sense of unity that comes with a sport like soccer. Whatever we did, we scored a goal with Emma. The stands went wild. Parenting high fives all around.

We took Kate back to the second practice.

Well, here come the boos.

A soccer ball was thrown at my head. I cried on the sidelines. Kate kicked the car tires in a meltdown. Scott threatened to drop kick Kate back on the field. And Emma stormed off to the parking lot and screamed, “SOCCER PLAYERS DON’T QUIT, KATE!”

Kate quit soccer again.

The enforcer parents told me to keep trying soccer with Kate. Or try dance. Or gymnastics. Kate has said no to everything. I’m not an expert parent but my gut is telling me the school switch, the move and enrolling her in soccer was too much change.

Do I know what’s good for her? Maybe.

Is she a kid just being a kid? Well, she’s Kate being Kate.

Fighting with her sister after school is a childhood requirement. She’ll never quit that.

We told Kate she could quit soccer. To me, I feel like we just scored another goal.

Do your kids do extracurricular activities? Do you make your child stay in after-school activities if they don’t want to? Have you let your child quit anything? Do you think parents put too much time into extracurricular activities? Tell me. It’s just you and your keyboard.

 

Lies I told myself before kids.

Lies I told myself before kids:

1. I want a houseful of kids. I’ll keep popping miniature humans out until I have at least 12 of ’em. Birth control becomes your best friend after the delivery of your first child. Kicking legs over and saying, “no, get that thing away from me. I’ll get pregnant looking at it” comes after the delivery of the second.

2. Geez, when I have kids, my house will be picked up when company comes over. There’s no point in picking up anything until the kids go off to college.

3. I’ll be the hip mom wearing cut midriff tops with my teenage daughter and it will be adorable. No.

4. I will never lie to my kids about Santa. I’ll tell them the truth to avoid the big disappointment around age 12. Or 17. “Santa brought you an American Girl doll for Christmas? That’s so crazy that you told Santa that and never mentioned it to your dad and me. He must have pulled off a miracle considering we’re celebrating in Wichita and the closest American Girl doll store is three hours away!”**

**You found some lady that sold American Girl dolls from her doll – possibly drug – ring out of her basement in Wichita. Your brother-in-law went with you to make sure you were not murdered two days before Christmas. For the $300 that you paid for the dolls, they should really include a free bag of cocaine.

5. My kids will be best dressed in school. I can’t wait to dress them up like dolls. Your kids look homeless.

6. As soon as I deliver a baby, I’m marching my butt straight to the gym. Have fun with those rock hard double D boobs exploding with milk. Maybe they’ll think it’s sweat. Oh, you just got paged – baby is hungry! I said THE BABY IS HUNGRY. Wake up. (clap) Open your eyes.

7. We’re doing this parenting thing together. My husband will be a hands-on dad. Watching your husband sleep through the night for weeks will be the true test on how much you love him. It’s 3 am. Take his duck decoys, bow and arrows and tree stand off Craigslist before he wakes up. The life of a mother is not always fair.

8. I will be sure to stay in close contact with all my friends after I have kids. What was that girl’s last name that went to my Bachelorette party? When did I even meet her? Did we go to high school together?

9. How cute! I have like two grey hairs at age 18. Ha! Don’t look at the top of my head! Like, so embarrassing! You have 1,015 by the age of 33. They never stop multiplying. The kids did it. You’re crossing your fingers in hopes that some hip chick in Los Angeles or New York starts a grey hair highlights trend.

10. I want to have all girls so my house doesn’t get destroyed. There might be some truth to that statement but the payoff to a non-destroyed house is dealing with the she-devils coming home from the crypt, I mean school. I mean angels.

11. Kids can’t be that much harder than a puppy. Uh, you can lock your dog in a cage while you’re gone.

12. I’ll make sure I always have a hot date night set up with the husband. “And would you like to take a look at our wine menu this evening?”  Text message from mom: Kate screaming for her mommy. She hit her head. Lots of blood. When are you coming home?

12. When I have kids, I’m just going to save the sanity of the people on the plane and drive the kids to all of our family vacations. You shut your mouth, kidless me drinking a jack and coke. I will challenge you to a glare-down at 35,000 feet. I don’t even hear a screaming kid.

13. Dressing up on Halloween with the kids, running through sprinklers and catching lightening bugs in the summer and watching The Little Mermaid will be the best part of parenthood. Yeah, that’s not a lie.

 

Did you tell yourself the same lies as I did? Did you think parenting would be everything you thought it would be? What is the hardest part of parenting? Do you think it was rude of me to put Scott’s hunting stuff on Craigslist? I was hormonal and sleep deprived. Nothing was sold. 

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What the…

Kate: What the?

Me: Kate. Stop saying “what the.”

Kate: What the?

Me: Do you say that in school?

Kate: No.

Me: Then stop saying it here.

Kate: What the?

Me: Stop!

Kate: Daddy’s not here! (jumps) What the! What the! What the!

Me: Go to your room.

Kate goes to her room for about 15 minutes.

Me: Ok, Kate. You can come down.

Kate walks back down the stairs and steps on a toy.

Kate: Ow! What the?

Me: KATE. You CANNOT say that.

Kate: Why can’t I say that?

Me: It doesn’t sound very nice.

Emma: But they’re not bad words, right mom? Why can’t she say that?

Me: You’re right. They’re not bad words. But she is implying that she’s going to finish with a bad word.

Emma: Maybe she was going to say “what the heck.”

Me: Yes, maybe. But she needs to finish the sentence with “what the heck.” And even then, that’s still not a very nice thing for a 5 year old to say. Kate, where did you learn “what the” from?

Kate looks up from playing her toys.

Kate: What the?

Me: Oh my God.

Emma: Mom, you can’t say “oh my God.” You should say “oh my gosh.”

Me: Kate, who says “what the?”

Kate: I made it up.

Me: No, you didn’t.

Kate: Mom! You need to listen to Emma! You can’t say “oh my God.” You’re not saying very nice things either!

Me: What thhhhh. Oh.

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Lego Land.

Emma has my squinty eyes. Kate has Scott’s blonde hair.

Boom. Easy. Our genes went this way here and that way there.

Emma and Kate’s temperaments – ah, now that’s tricky. All it took was a trip to Lego Land for Scott and me to see our personalities in a 7 year old and 4 year old’s body.

“That’s your kid. You discipline her.”

Kate is totally being talked about by the Lego Land employees. But I mean, all that matters is that the kids are happy, right?

 

Employee: I’m sorry, ma’am. But these coupons are for the Aquarium, not Lego Land.

Me: What? It says Lego Land right here?

Employee: You need the other half of the coupon. They misprinted them. See the small print on the back here? Lego Land got printed on the Aquarium coupons and vice versa. Do you have the other half of the coupon?

Me: It’s in the car.

Employee: ……

Me: ……

Scott: Damnit. I’ll get them. I’ll be right back.

I stepped out of line with the kids. Emma and Kate looked at the fish swimming along the walls. Kate climbed up on top of a fake rock to get a better look.

Employee: Oh! Miss! You can’t climb up on that rock!

Me: Kate. Get down fr… ah!

Kate turned around on the rock. She made a V with her fingers. She placed the V on her face so they are positioned under her eyes. She snapped her hand away and pointed directly at the employee. She stepped off the rock and looked at the fish from ground level.

Scott walked back in. We paid and walked into Lego Land. An employee asked us to stand in front of a green screen for a picture.

Me: Ugh, I’m in my workout clothes.

Scott: Just take the picture for the old man. We won’t buy it.

Kate: I’m not smiling!

Me: Shhh. Fine. Don’t smile.

Scott, Emma and I smiled. Kate glared.

We walked into an elevator that took us up to another level. The doors opened to a man welcoming us to Lego Land. He started explaining how Legos are made.

Me: (whispering) Scott. You won’t believe what Kate did. She…

Employee: Who is the oldest kid here? You! (pointed to Emma, because she is the tallest) Come here and pull this lever.

Emma followed his instructions. She went along with the skit and received a souvenir for helping. We continued on to the next room. We waited in line for a ride.

Me: So anyway, about Kate. She climbed up on a rock at the front while you were getting the coupons. The employee asked her to get down. She turns around, does her V point to her eyes then snaps her finger to point at the employee.

Scott: SHE WHAT?!

Employee: How many is in your party?

Me: 4.

Employee: Ok, next car. Two and two.

I grabbed Emma’s hand and Scott grabbed Kate’s hand. We rode a point-and-shoot ride. We each got a gun to shoot targets for points. Scott scored the highest. Kate got 2nd highest because she probably practices sniping in her sleep. The ride ended. Emma and I hopped out of the car. Scott followed us with Kate.

Scott: Bug. Do you see my contact anywhere?

Me: No. I don’t see it. Our car thing is right there. Do you want me to have the employee stop and look?

Scott: No, I have more at home. I’ll manage until we get home. Not a big deal.

We walked to the picture kiosk. Our picture was taken on the ride and displayed on the TV screen. All four of us have our guns up and aimed. Scott, Emma and I had intense faces. Kate is smiling.

Me: (whispering) That little brat. She’s smiling.

Scott: She is! I can’t see anything! I need a patch.

Employee: Would you like to buy it?

Me: Oh, no thank you.

We let the girls run loose in the rest of Lego Land.

Scott: What did you say to Kate after she did her V point to the employee?

Me: Uh, nothing.

Scott: NOTHING?! You need to discipline her! She should have apologized to the employee!

Me: But she got down. Apologize?! I pretended she wasn’t my kid! That employee made me mad. He knew we had the coupons. I know he can override that on his little computer. It’s not my fault they misprinted them. Who reads the fine print?

Scott: You and Kate are the EXACT SAME PERSON.

Kate: (standing in a cage above us) Hi mommy! Hi daddy!

Scott: (Puts one hand over an eye so he can see) Hi, Kate!

Me: Hi Kate! (make a V with my fingers and point at Kate) We are not the same person, Scott. Kate is some kind of hybrid of crazy. You know I’m not that crazy.

Scott: Oh, really?

Me: I smile for pictures, Scott. Kate is not me. Dude. It’s freezing in here. Hey, can you see my nipples through my shirt?

Scott: (Scott covers one eye with his hand) Ohhhh my goshhhh.

Me: I’ll just sit with my arms up. Ha! You’re the one that looks crazy with your hand over your eye.

Kate ran up to Scott and me. She stopped in front of us and crossed her arms. An employee walked up holding Emma’s hand.

Employee: We can’t have kids leaving the play area by themselves. The parent needs to be there to take them out. She took off. (points to Kate)

Scott: (closes one eye) Sorry about that. I’ll take them now.

The employee left.

Scott: KATE. You need to behave. Did you do your V point at an employee when we bought the tickets?

Kate scowled and scrunched her nose.

Me: Scott, don’t yell at her now. Hey, let’s go ride one more ride then we can go home. Ok, girls?

Emma: Ok! I want to ride with you, mommy!

Me: Ok. Kate, you ride with your dad.

 

Mini Me.

Mini Me.

Look who's not smiling now.

Smile for the camera, Scott! And you wonder where she gets it from, folks.