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Monthly Archives: October 2012

“It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge of the rival…”

I remember that the most scandalous part of sixth grade was a day where the school counselor herded all the girls into the school cafeteria. We all had heard rumors from the older girls about this day and we knew we were going to hear about something *important*, something that obviously the boys couldn’t handle learning about. What followed was….prepubescent Fight Club. I can’t talk about it. Let’s just say I never knew the wonder of ___________ and how my body would _______ and even though there is pain ___________ there is also _______ and _______ and horseback riding and running on a beach! (edited for content. Penalties for sharing classified information is harsh).

While I appreciated this heads up on the horror joy of womanhood that was coming my way, it also set me up for great disappointment that every major life change wasn’t preceded by a film starring “Karen” and “Karen’s mom”. It would have been nice of Karen’s mom to let me know that first kisses may feel like getting my face swallowed by a hyperactive octopus, or that I probably wouldn’t be getting a black Trans-Am OR Jake Ryan for my sixteenth birthday. But what I really needed was a warning that once you turn 35, your warranty runs out and you begin to visit doctors that you didn’t even know existed.

I recently went to a back doctor for some chronic lower back pain, and he sent me to a physical therapist. I’m not exactly sure what I thought would happen, but since most of my expectations come from Lifetime movies, I thought it would be much more exciting than it was. Quite frankly, it was kind of boring. First they hooked me up to some kind of machine and stuck these stickers to my back. I waited for them to scream “CLEAR!” and shock me, but she just calmly turned the machine on and walked away. I kept waiting…and waiting…thinking any second now I’m going to feel something, but after a while, she came back over and turned it off. After this, I sat on a table and she instructed me to do some crazy difficult exercises like “point your toes” and “touch your nose”. I looked around, expecting to see a former Olympian fighting to recover from running injuries, or someone learning to walk again after throwing themselves in front of a car to save a child. I thought I would hear shouts of “I can’t do it! I just can’t!” and “You MUST DO IT! Come on, WALK!” Instead I saw this old guy squatting and grunting.

The next time I went, they had me lie on this table that had rollers underneath it and it would roll up and down my back. Sounds pretty nice, right? Well, it would have been if there wasn’t another table three inches away with the squatting grunting man on it. He wasn’t squatting on the table. That would be weird. But old squatting grunting guy lying on a table was just as awkward.

Me-“So. Back pain, huh?”

Him-“Grunt”

Me- “Yeah. I hear you.” (awkward silence…then I turn my head to come face to extremely close face with him) “Well. This is a little awkward, right?”

Him- “Grunt”

Me- “Right”

After this I saw the doctor. Or “doctor” as I am not completely convinced it wasn’t some homeless guy dressing up in a white lab coat. His main advice to me was “Here’s some muscle relaxers. If you take them, they will knock you out, so instead of taking a pill, just crush them up and all day long, you can dip your finger in the powder and just take a little, as you need it.”

Do I look like Doc Holiday??

You have failed me, Karen’s mom. I’m kicking you out of the Fight Club.

Have a question or subject for Mama Mondays? Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies.@gmail.com

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Mama Mondays-“So don’t ask me no questions, and I won’t tell you no lies, so don’t ask me ’bout my business, and I won’t tell you goodbye…”

“How much of your child’s past do you share with people and how do you respond to questions about their adoption?”

Every person who has adopted a child encounters this struggle to some degree.  I honestly don’t know why, but the non-adopting world can be so fascinated with details of adoption stories, and sometimes common sense goes out the window. I mean, you would never ask a person where their biological baby was conceived or ask how much their hospital bill was, but people don’t seem to have any problem asking why a birthparent placed a child or how much the adoption cost. So, all that to say, if you are considering adoption, just know that it will happen, and it is better to be prepared ahead of time.

I try to follow two main principles for this issue- the first is that my main objective in all of life is to honor and love God in how I love others and the second is to protect my child. In real life, those two can get swapped but it’s important to keep them in the right place. That means that it isn’t my right to be rude in response back to someone. It means that it’s not okay for me to have resentment in my heart towards someone who is intrusive. It means that I put aside what is comfortable for me to sometimes lovingly tell someone if their questions are hurting our relationship. The second principle of protecting my child is simply this- their adoption story is just that- theirs. When they are old enough to understand it, they have the power to tell or not tell. When they are young, I am entrusted with that story, and I need to protect it’s sancitity for my child. You can always tell, but you can never untell.

So lets’s talk real life examples…

A woman sees you at the park with your child (assuming a transracial adoption), and asks you if you are their nanny. You smile and say “no, he’s my son”, and she asks “oh, where did you adopt him from?”

In this case, you may answer with a country, which might spark more questions about that country. When people have asked me specific questions about Malachi being from Ethiopia, I always answer with facts about Ethiopian adoption. I do not talk about Malachi at all. For example, someone has asked me “So, did his real parents have AIDS?” (take a deep breath. It’s not okay to smack someone in public). I answered “Birthparents (correcting their language) place children in Ethiopia for all kinds of reasons, like economic struggles, disease, lack of resources. We were grateful to have a great agency help us and we are so happy he’s in our family”  Most people will not press for details.  Some will. If they said “Did he know his real parents? Does he remember them?” I might try for a light joke and say “Hey, he threw up on me last week, that’s as real as it gets, but if you mean his birthparents, I don’t know if he remembers them, but I know they loved him.”  I just keep bringing it back around to generalities. Like I said, most people will catch on that you aren’t going to share personal details. I have only had two encounters where I’ve had to say “I love to talk about adoption, and I’d love to answer any question you have about adoption, but I am sure you can understand that his story is personal and we want to allow him the freedom to decide who gets to hear it.”

“So how much did he cost?”- if you haven’t heard some version of this question, just brace yourself, because you probably will. Again, I bring this back to adoption education- I might say “Oh, we could never afford her, she’s too priceless, so it’s a good thing you don’t pay for children.” If they press, I might say “Cost for adoption paperwork is widely varied, depending on a lot of different factors ranging from zero cost to thousands of dollars. There are many people involved in helping an adoption happen, and so people pay for those services.” Once I got this question- “so did you pay her birthmom when she was pregnant?”, and I said “In some adoptions, people might help with birthparent expenses like medical care and in other adoptions, an agency may be helping with that. All adoptions are different, depending on the laws in each state.”

“Why did his real mom give him up?” I have gotten this question about all three of my kids too many times to count. My first response is always the same-“Birthparents place their child with a family for so many different reasons, but at the heart of most of those reasons is a deep love for their child and a desire for them to have a good life. We are so grateful for our child’s birthmother because she gave us an incredible gift” If you keep your answers general and your demeanor friendly and educational, most people get it that you aren’t going to answer personal questions.

“Was he/she a crack baby?”- This is the time when it’s okay to smack them. I’m kidding. Sort of. I mean, there is no real way to put a positive spin on this question- it’s intrusive and insulting and just plain rude. I would probably say “I’m not sure I understand your motivation in asking me that, but I want to believe the best about you. Can you help me understand why you are asking me this?” Chances are, they will be unable to answer, because really, there is no good reason for this question.

As your children get older and you can gauge where they are regarding their story, you can ask them for feedback on how they would like you to handle these questions about them. If you have a child who is willing, you can role play these scenarios with them and allow them to practice responding to questions. It’s important that your child see you answer these questions kindly, with grace, and with a matter of fact attitude.  If you are overly flustered or highly irritated, sometimes kids translate that to=mom’s upset about adoption=I am to blame for this.

It’s difficult sometimes to believe the best about others when you feel like you are being interrogated about your child, but I believe that most people are just very curious and their curiosity overrides their sense of social propriety. And if all else fails, you can just smack them. I’ll cover your bail.

Adoptive parents, what’s the craziest question you’ve ever gotten?

Have a question or subject for Mama Mondays? Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@gmail.com

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“Let mercy lead, let love be the strength in your legs, and in every footprint that you leave, there’ll be a drop of grace…”

You see her at the park…she’s with a beautiful child who is holding her hand. The child is eager to play, that is obvious, and you watch as she bends down to her child’s eye level and speaks in the child’s ear. Reminding them of the rules, no doubt, as the child nods impatiently as children do because I know mom, I KNOW…she lets go and the child runs. You watch the mama’s eyes as she follows her child like a hawk, and you chuckle and think “Helicopter mom”, because you know this park is safe. As you sit with your friends, you notice her,now comforting her child who is crying. And while typically you’d see a mama hug her child and send them back with a breezy “You’re okay!”, this mama is bear hugging her child, wrapping them up tightly. You watch as she hands her child an odd looking toy and the child begins to chew on it. You think, maybe even comment to your friends “Geez, that kid’s a little old to be chewing on toys like that.” The child returns to playing, but after awhile there is a commotion.  You see her child, standing next to a crying child, and hear shouts of “she pushed me! I was just standing behind her waiting to slide and she turned around and pushed me!” The mama quickly gathers her child, instructs her to apologize and ask for forgiveness, and you watch them leave, mama looking resigned and the child chewing on the sleeves of their jacket. As she pulls away, you hear the murmurs of other moms talking about bullies and my child would never and the things we all say when we think we know….

But we almost never know. You didn’t know that before she got out of the car to walk to the park, her eyes scanned the park, immediately noting how many kids were at the park, if they seemed shy or outgoing, the safety of the equipment, and what the ground feels like. It’s second nature for her now, she catches herself doing it even when her child isn’t with her. Every park, library, store, church…they all get a quick mental calculation of triggers, dangers, quick exits if needed. For you, reminding of the rules is “be nice”, “share”, “don’t talk to strangers”, but you didn’t know that she whispered “Remember that we don’t hug anyone who isn’t in our family”, and “If you need something to chew, remember to come find me.” You didn’t know that a split second before “SlideGate”, that mama saw what was about to happen, but couldn’t make it there in time. She saw the child leaning on her child, excited and playful, and she watched her child’s face change from relaxed to anxious to angry. You didn’t know that as she drove away, she wondered what kind of consequence to give her child. You don’t know that it’s complicated.

You don’t know. You can’t tell from looking at this beautiful healthy child that she has Sensory Processing Disorder. You don’t know that she walks a daily tightrope of too much stimulus and not enough stimulus and the tipping point is sometimes paper-thin. You don’t know that a gentle hug feels painful, so she only gives and receives hard hugs. You can’t understand why chewing is soothing. It’s okay- her mama probably doesn’t understand it either. You don’t know that her child is now aware that other kids don’t need this, so now she fights the sensory need and the embarrassment. You didn’t know that for ten minutes, her child was dealing with what felt like an oppressive smothering sensation every time that child leaned into her until she snapped and pushed away the source of the stress. You couldn’t see that later that night, that mama let tears come as she prayed for her baby, prayers for healing, prayers for patience, prayers for discernment, silent prayers of Daddy please just help her. She falls asleep, (or doesn’t) thinking about the doctor’s appointments, therapists, and school issues.

This mama isn’t perfect. She is at times oversensitive or insensitive to her child’s needs. She vacillates between treating her child like a typical child and turning down a birthday party invitation because it’s held at Chucky Cheese, and she knows that is a environmental recipe for disaster. Don’t misunderstand- she can handle the tantrum. She doesn’t indulge rebellion or allow struggles to excuse behavior. But you probably don’t see her child hiding under a table with their hands over their ears because the noise is deafening to them. You can’t see through her baby’s eyes that process the lights and sounds and smells and touches like a bad acid trip, swirling and raining down on her as her brain tries to filter what is important (her friend talking to her) and what is not (the noise the bathroom door makes when it opens. It’s squeaky and hurts her ears).

This mama is tired. She is stretched thin. But she is grateful- the stretching has made her heart pliable, tender, accepting.  Her child has taught her a technicolor picture of perseverance and courage. She’s turned her mama’s heart more towards her Father. And when she looks at a crowd of parents and children, she is reminded that almost all of the time….she just doesn’t know.

Have a question or subject for Mama Mondays? Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@gmail.com

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Rock Paper Scissors YODA!

Driving in the car with Malachi and Selah…

Selah- “Mally, you wanna play rock, paper, scissors?”

Malachi- “Okay, how do you play?”

Selah- “You go rock or paper or scissors and then we see who wins…ready?”

Malachi- “Yeah okay…rock rock rock ROCK!”

Selah- “No, you don’t say that. You say all of them and then choose one!”

Malachi- “Okay. ALL OF THEM ROCK!”

Selah- “NO! Like this- rock paper scissors and then choose one.”

Malachi- Okay. ROCK PAPER SCISSORS ONE!”

Selah- “MALACHI! Stop! Say rock”

Malach- “Rock”

Selah- “Say paper”

Malachi- “paper”

Selah- “Say scissors”

Malachi- “scissors”

Selah- “now choose one of those to say”

Malachi- “Which one is de winner?”

Selah- “they all have a chance to be the winner, just you have to choose one.”

Malachi- “Okay. ROCK PAPER SCISSORS ROCK!”

Selah-(choosing paper)-“I win!”

Malachi – “No I win. I did rock. Rock is better dan paper!”

Selah- “no, paper wins because it covers rock. Rock beats scissors and scissors beat paper.”

Malachi- “Nuh uh. Rock wins because my rock is so so so so HUGE!”

Selah- “That doesn’t matter. Paper still covers the rock. My paper is really huge too.”

Malachi- “No it’s not. My rock is huger. My rock is made of a thousand million rocks and it also has a sword.”

Selah- “That’s not right. Rocks don’t have swords.

Malachi- “I know. It’s a light saber.”

Selah- “Well, it doesn’t matter because my paper is a paper airplane and it can fly over the light saber and cover it up so it wins.”

Malachi- “No, my rock wins because the light saber cuts the paper up into a million pieces and makes it cry.”

Selah- “Paper doesn’t cry, and I’m NOT crying because I WIN. Let’s do it again.”

Malachi- “okay. ROCK PAPER SCISSORS PAPER!”

Selah- (choosing scissors)-“HAHA I WIN AGAIN!”

Malachi- “No I win! I cover you!”

Selah- “No, scissors cut the paper so scissors win. I know you don’t get this game but it’s really fun.”

Malachi- “No, my paper wins because you’re not allowed to have scissors. Mommy said”

Selah- “Mommy, am I allowed to have scissors in this game?”

Me- “Yes. Malachi, it’s okay for Selah to choose scissors in the game, let’s be sure to be a good sport okay?”

Malachi- “I still win. I got the paper and my paper is so so so huge-”

Selah(interupting)-“I know. It’s huge. But my scissors are the biggest scissors in the whole world and they cut your paper NOT YOUR HAIR into tiny pieces and that’s where snow comes from.”

Malachi- “MOMMY! SELAH IS CUTTING UP THINGS AND SHE NOT POSED TO HAVE SCISSORS!”

Selah- “MALACHI! I’T JUST PRETEND! Stop trying to get me in trouble! I’m not gonna play with you because you are not playing with a good attitude.”

Malachi-(contrite)” Please She-she? I will play de game right!”

Selah- “okay, but this is the last chance, ready?”

Malachi- “ROCK PAPER SCISSORS LIGHT SABER!”

Selah- “MOOOMMMMMMYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Moral of the story is- Lightsabers trump everything. Selah’s probably related to Edward Scissorhands. Little brothers are rotten.

Have a question or subject for Mama Mondays? Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@gmail.com

Follow me on the Twitter @brandyb77

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Mama Mondays- “If I wrote you a symphony, just to say how much you mean to me, if I told you you were beautiful, would you date me on the regular?”…

“How do you make time for your husband when you have small children??”

Great question! Let me explain why it’s a great question-because you must do it. The relationship with your spouse is the most important human relationship you have, and it can’t be nurtured without intentional time and energy.  Sometimes this means you have to say no to good things so you can say yes to the best thing.

Our kids are very aware now that Wes and I go out on dates. They hear us talk about it and plan for it. They see us getting ready to go out, and sometimes we tell them the next day where we went. It is a normal part of life for them. In fact, recently, Selah saw me putting make-up on and said “Who’s babysitting us tonight?” I’m not sure if I should be offended at that.  We talk about dating intentionally in front of them because I want them to see a husband and wife who are pursuing each other romantically. I want them to see us continuing to learn about each other and making an effort to be creative in loving each other. There are countless studies that state that one of the best ways to raise healthy kids is to have a great marriage. Dating your spouse is a parenting issue!

But we live in a twitter world, where information and interaction is instant and limited to 140 characters. Sometimes just a little conversation is difficult enough to get, much less a real date. Fight this fight- it is worth it.

Here are some practical tips-

*Put dates on the calendar. It’s too easy to allow time with your spouse to fall to the wayside, so get it on the calendar and get a sitter booked.

*Invest in other couples to help share childcare. It’s difficult to find a good sitter, especially if you have a child that requires more than just someone “keeping an eye” on them. Money isn’t a good enough reason not to spend time with your spouse!

*Plan at home dates. Sometimes a sitter just isn’t happening, or sometimes for us, one child has a need that I don’t feel like I can ask a sitter to handle (Selah’s sensory needs are high or Josiah’s asthma is out of whack), but waiting until the kids go to bed (or putting them to bed early- it won’t kill them!), and eating dinner together is also precious time. Resist the urge to do chores or just watch television.

*Dates aren’t enough to keep a relationship going- there needs to be daily intentional meaningful interaction. That’s the goal- it doesn’t always happen! But keep it in your mind and at the end of the day ask yourself “have I invested in my marriage relationship today?”

*Wes and I keep in touch during the day with phone calls, emails, and texts. He recently began a new position at our church, and his margin of time for phone calls has decreased a lot, so I am not as able to talk to him during the day, but we touch base with each other still. Try hard not to make these points of contact just about the kids. I might send him a funny video or quote I read, or I’ve sent him an article and asked what he thinks about it. Something funny I do (at least I think it’s hysterical- but after 15 years, it may not be as funny to him) is any time I hear Prince’s “Kiss” on the radio, I call his phone and sing it on his voicemail. I’ll do it with other songs too (because really, it doesn’t take a lot of convincing to get me to sing pop music on someone’s voicemail), but that song never gets missed.

*Make small doses of interaction a priority and make your children aware of it. Wes and I talk at the dinner table. The conversation doesn’t always revolve around the kids. They are instructed to wait patiently if Wes and I are talking. I want them to witness this!  It is so easy for kids to believe the family revolves around them, and we as parents sometimes make that even easier for them by putting their desires and interests above everything else. If I tell the kids that I need to talk to daddy, they know that means they are not supposed to interrupt. It is okay for your kids to wait five minutes for you to be able to check in with your spouse! One thing I’ve done is tell them “every time you interrupt, there will be one chore waiting for you when we are finished.” It’s funny how suddenly what they NEED to say becomes less important ; )

*Make overnight trips a priority. Sometimes it just isn’t possible, and circumstances just won’t allow it, but do everything you can to try. If you can’t because your child has significant special needs and you live in the middle of a desert surrounded only by potheads as potential babysitters, then okay. If you can’t because your child cries when you leave and no one else knows how to make their eggs exactly the way they like them, then I’m going to gently and lovingly tell you that you are going to reap what you sow, and you will raise a kid who believes the world caters to them.

*Lastly, remember that a relationship isn’t built on big chunks of time. The little daily interactions are what make or break a relationship. Marriages that are in trouble aren’t in trouble because they don’t have dates- that is just a symptom. Make spending time together and interacting in a meaningful way a DAILY priority. One of the best way to do this- Put. The. Phone. Down. Seriously. Just put it down and step away from it. No text, email, or phone call is more important. It can wait. Technology is a great thing, but one thing that has really hurt us is that instant connection to email and texting has led us into a state of believing we are needed RIGHT NOW.  Stop facebooking and tweeting about your love for your spouse and just love them.

Do you have a question or subject for Mama Mondays? Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@gmail.com

Follow me on the Twitter @brandyb77

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“In the wee small hours of the morning, while the whole wide world is fast asleep, you lie awake and think about the boy, and never ever think of counting sheep…”

I have migraines. Well, lately I should say I have migraine. Just one migraine. One freaking long migraine. It’s like a bad houseguest that just won’t leave. I’m currently on day seven of it, and starting yesterday, I began to take a round of steroids to try to get rid of it. I fully expect to be winning the Tour De France by the end of the week.  I wasn’t going to blog about it, because I thought it might sound like I am whining and asking you all to send me flowers and queso and copies of Gerard Butler movies, but I am NOT. I wouldn’t turn any of those things down, but I am not asking for them. No matter how close some of you might live to me. Or to a place that sells queso. Or if you happen to have a car. And a heart.

I’ve taken steroids before, and I have to say…I’m not a fan of them. They make me feel stabby. And a little like the Hulk. Yesterday when Malachi was whining, I kept hearing a voice in my head saying “DON’T MAKE ME ANGRY!” But irrational anger can be mostly controlled with copious amounts of candy corn and episodes of One Tree Hill on Netflix, but the one side effect that I really hate is insomnia. Not just run of the mill insomnia either- this is crazy rambling thoughts and compulsions to get up and do projects insomnia. Deep thoughts about the state of the world and why no one really dies on Days of our Lives.

This was my night…

“Okay, brain, time for sleeping…sleep…sleeeeeeeeppppp….not sleeping. Count sheep…does anyone actually do this? I don’t particularly like sheep, I want to count baby pandas…one…two…three…oh my gosh, three baby pandas, I can’t stand the cuteness…like a little baby panda gang…I’m gonna give them little purple bandanas and call them the Bamboos…hmm..a gang sign might be hard with those paws…okay, forget about baby pandas Brandy…Sleeping sleeping sleeping sleeping sleeping is good sleeping is awesome sleeping is something we should all do…maybe I should get up…I could read….is it weird if I read Harry Potter again? There’s just stuff I still don’t really understand…if Hermione has the time travel watch thingy and Dumbledore has had it this whole time, why can’t she go further back and save Harry’s parents…instead, she saves Buckbeak? What the heck? Is Buckbeak some kind of metaphor that I just don’t get? Does the whole story hinge on Buckbeak?? I mean, he’s kind of cute and all and I appreciate him helping Sirius, but really, that’s the most important thing she could do with that? Seriously. Haha…Serious…Siriusly…that joke never gets old…I’d do so much more with a time travel watch thingy….I’d go back to high school…I’d tell 9th grade me that that tribal print jumper thing will be regretted…If I were Hermione, I’d go back and whisper in my mom’s ear while she was pregnant not to name me Hermione…(turn and look at Wes)…look at him, he is so cute sleeping there…he’s sleeping…HE IS SLEEPING WHILE I LIE AWAKE…look at him sleeping all there like he owns the place…HAVE FUN RUMPELSTILTSKIN, IT WON’T BE SO FUN TOMORROW WHEN I AM GRUMPY…I’m hungry…is it weird if I make a grilled cheese sandwich right now? I don’t know if we have cheese…ugh, we have american cheese, that’s not real cheese…Someday I am going to open a cheese appreciation museum and it will feature all kinds of cheese but we will unapologetically shun american cheese. We will no doubt be picketed by Westboro Baptist but I. don’t. care. We will have a petting zoo and a grilled cheese sandwich bar. People can bring their own sandwiches if they want but if they bring American cheese, we will pull a Forrest Gump bus kid and say “You can’t sit heeuh.” And Wes might even show up, looking WELL RESTED with his disgusting Kraft singles sandwich and I will have to say “I love you. You are the love of my life. You are the father of my children. But you have to get out of my cheese museum.” Friends will interview to be the curator of my museum, and in the interview, I will ask them what their thoughts are on Velveeta. If they don’t immediately throw up, I will lean over my desk and coldly say “It’s attitudes like yours that are what’s wrong with our country.” This would make a good screenplay, like just one woman’s journey to rid her community of processed cheese product…starring Anne Hathaway…I’d call it “American’t”…

Eventually I fell asleep and in the light of the morning , some of the these ideas didn’t seem so good. Not the cheese museum idea. That is money.

Have a question or subject for Mama Mondays? Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@gmail.com

Follow me on the Twitter @brandyb77

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“Don’t be scared, I’ve done this before, show me your teeth…”

In chapter nine of the parenting handbook, there is a section called “Weird Crap to lie about to your kids.” You know, things like “your face is going to freeze that way!”, “this will hurt me more than it hurts you”, and “mommy and daddy were just wrestling!” But I want to address one thing today, and this is the biggest parenting racket there is- the Tooth Fairy.  It seems innocent enough right? Hey kids, when you lose a tooth, place it under your pillow and the Tooth Fairy will leave you money and take your tooth! Isn’t that nice?  I bet you can’t WAIT to fall asleep!

A few months ago, my two youngest had this conversation in the car…

Malachi- “Selah, what does the tooth fairy look like?”

Selah- “Well, I’ll tell you that she does NOT look like mommy!” (looks at me in the mirror and winks)

Malachi- “I know dat. She has wings and a long dress and a goblin face.”

Selah(glancing at me suspiciously)- “What?! She does NOT.”

Malachi(soothingly)- “uh huh. Don’t be scared. She won’t hurt you, she just comes into your room at night and RIPS your teeth out.”

Selah(thoughtfully considering whether or not to believe him, then deciding she probably shouldn’t risk it)- “MOMMY!!”

Me-“Okay Malachi, that is enough. Stop scaring your sister”

I look back into the mirror and see Malachi stare at Selah until he gets her attention, then make a goblin-esq face and reach menacingly for her mouth…

While I don’t condone teasing, I don’t blame Malachi for thinking the Tooth Fairy is kind of a creepy idea. Let’s break this down- there is a lady. She is a fairy. She comes into your bedroom, reaches under your pillow while hovering over your sleeping vulnerable body to engage is some body part trafficking. Also, how does she know? I mean, how does she know when your child loses a tooth? It’s not like Santa- he just has to remember one date, and he’s got like hundreds of little helpers to keep reminding him of that date because let’s face it, Santa is very old and probably a little senile. But the Tooth Fairy is different. She has to know when your child loses their tooth, even if it’s two minutes before bedtime. I think it’s clear she has some sort of bug in people’s houses. Isn’t that illegal?? You expect me to believe she isn’t sitting around in her control booth, listening in and judging me for watching Honey Boo Boo? That she isn’t taking sides in every single argument Wes and I have? Come on! I am not that stupid! Let’s be logical here. So she takes the tooth, leaves the money, and goes back to…where? Where DOES the Tooth Fairy live exactly? I mean, she’s got to live alone, no roommate is going to tolerate enormous piles of stinking teeth everywhere. She probably wants to get married, her tiny glittery biological clock is ticking away, but when Captain America goes to pick her up for a date, he’s probably like “So…this is your place. You must really like…art? Wait, is that couch made of bicuspids?” and she blushes and stammers “well, you know…I had a lot of them sitting around.” They go out, have a few laughs…but Captain America never calls her back because for sure, if you walked into a girl’s house filled with used body parts, you’d call the police. So we are back to a lonely rejected girl, possibly feeling a bit vengeful. Come on in, Glenn Close! Would you like to pet our new bunny?

I mean, if we are going to say that taking teeth is normal and even a bit whimsical, why stop there? Why can’t we have a Toenail Fairy? I imagine her wearing a house dress with parrots on it, smoking menthols and gathering toenail clippings into her bag, storing them next to the stolen ketchup packets and brochures for Atlantic City. What about a Discarded Hair Fairy? She gathers it up and spins it into tiny sweaters for her mouse friends. She only has mouse friends. She is shunned by the Fairy Community.

I also wonder, what is the process of assigning fairy duties like?

Head of the Fairy Creation Committee speaking to a group of girls- “Okay, you, you there, your name is going to be Sparkledust, and you are in charge of sprinking flowers with dew to make them shine…and you there, yeah, let’s see…you are Shimmerburst, you get to paint the leaves colors in the fall, and you, you are SingBright, you teach the birds all their songs…and you…

A girl steps up, hopeful and excited about her new fairy job…”yes? I’m here sir!”

Head of the FCC- “oh. yeah. Um..your name is (mumble incoherently…)

Girl- “I’m sorry? I didn’t quite catch that?”

Head of the FCC- “yeah. It’s Tooth Fairy. You are going to be in charge of gathering…teeth.”

Girl- “Teeth? What are those?”

Head of the FCC- “yeah…those are things in kids mouths used to eat stuff. They fall out. There’s blood and stuff on them. You’ll need to give the kid some money. You probably should start saving or something…we don’t really have a budget for that…you know, cutbacks and all…”

Girl- “Um…what do I do with all the teeth?”

Head of the FCC- “that’s not my department. You could ask them (points to two girls taking a smoke break by the enchanted willow tree), they gather stuff too..(whistles and yells)..HEY! HEY TONI! HARRIET! COME MEET THE NEW GIRL!”

Such a depressing story. I’m quitting you, Tooth Goblin Fairy! When my kids lose a tooth, I’ll turn to them and say- “Go throw that body part in the trash. On your way, clean up any other thing you’ve done that’s disgusting and I’ll give you a dollar.”

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