Sunday, December 05, 2010


I have to admit it. Most days, my children quite simply drive me nuts. They are demanding. They are time-consuming. They are life-sucking little creatures who reside in my house rent-free.

Given their general stats, one would wonder why any person in their right mind would consciously decide to have children. And in my situation, it was a well-planned, well-executed, well-thought-out decision. There are no accidental "oops" children in my family. So why then, being a rational person, did I decide to have children? To be honest, I don't really know the answer to that question. Perhaps it was some primordial drive to procreative. Perhaps it was the challenge of convincing Ruanita to do something she initially balked at. Perhaps it was millions of years of genetically embedded maternal inclination coursing through my veins. Whatever the reason, I gave into my instincts and now have a houseful of children to contend with.

As I said at the start of this post, my children drive me crazy most days. If that were the entire story, I am afraid they would have been placed for adoption years ago. However, children are cunning. Mother Nature is the great manipulator. She has provided my children with just enough endearing qualities to force me to keep them and raise them and love them. I thought I would share a couple of those endearing qualities today.

1. I love the way all three of my children add a T to the word "comfy," thereby making it "comfty." They will snuggle with me on the couch and tell me how much they love cuddling because it is so comfty. Their blankets are comfty. Their warm socks are comfty. Their footie pajamas are comfty. I wish their beds were a little more comfty so they would stay out of mine, but what can a momma do when besieged by big blue eyes and claims of comftiness?

2. I love that my daughter Sophie is a double agent for the adult camp. She will tattle tell on the boys in a skinny minute. If the boys are in another room being suspiciously quiet, all I have to do is say, "Sophie, will you go see if your brothers are doing something they aren't supposed to?" She will stealthily sneak into their room, feigning complete innocence and interest in what they are doing. She will hang out long enough to get a full grasp of their shenanigans. She will then report back to me with the details of their mischievous activities. She provides me with that invaluable parenting commodity...the element of surprise. I can then bust the boys...and bust them good. I love my little covert spy.

3. I love that Lucas considers himself his little brother's protector. That is not to say that he is always civil to Nicholas. Or even humane. As a matter of fact, Lucas is Nicholas' greatest tormentor. Quite frankly, he tortures Nicholas. I have seen him purposefully rip pictures that Nicholas was coloring. I have seen him sit on Nicholas. I have seen him rub his dirty socks in Nicholas' face. I have seen wedgies and swirlies and Indian burns...Lucas utilizes the entire arsenal of brotherly harassment. However, Lucas is the one and ONLY person allowed to torment Nicholas. If anyone else even thinks about picking on Nicholas, Lucas will come to his defense and will protect him at all costs. Perhaps it is simply that Lucas is a territorial bully and Nicholas is HIS bitch.....but I like to think, instead, that it comes from innate love and brotherly affection. That's what I am telling myself anyway.

4. I love the way that Nicholas adores his older brother. Despite the daily torment and persecution described above, Nicholas would follow his big brother to the ends of the world. In his eyes, Lucas is the be all and end all. The epitome of a god on Earth. Nicholas wants to wear what Lucas wears. He wants to play what Lucas plays. He wants to eat what Lucas eats. When picking a movie or a game or a TV show, Nicholas will always defer to Lucas. He will not voice his opinion until Lucas does, and he will then always agree with Lucas. He's been known to say "I agree with Lucas" before Lucas even voices an opinion. Perhaps his adoration is simply a coping mechanism. Isn't there a psychological term for people who develop a perverse dependence on their torturers? Regardless...even if it is a coping mechanism hinting at a deeper psychological disturbance...I find it incredibly endearing. I hope it is a precursor to a continued close relationship in their future.

5. I love the way that my kids freely throw about hugs, kisses, and "I love yous." They are not at all shy about sharing their affection. Nicholas will be running around playing and will stop as he walks by me to yell out a quick "I love you." I will be coloring with Sophie and she will suddenly, out of the blue, lean over and hug me. Even Lucas, my big sophisticated seven-year-old will ask for hugs and kisses at bedtime. We've always been extremely affectionate with our kids, so I am hoping that it is our influence on them making them such loving little people.

6. I love that my children get so excited over such seemingly insignificant things. There's an old cliche about seeing things through the eyes of a child. It's cheesy, but true. Children are both humbling and awe-inspiring in their view of the world. My children make me see things in a whole new light. Worms are suddenly fascinating. Ants are amazing. Dinosaur names are musical. Crayons are one of humankind's most significant inventions. Christmas lights are breathtakingly beautiful. Santa Claus is absolutely wonderful and somewhat creepy at the same time. God is benevolent and grandfatherly. Cake batter licked off dirty fingers is better than even the most intricate and well-crafted of designer desserts. Grilled hot dogs taste like heaven on Earth. Sparklers and fireworks are cool...from a distance and with hands firmly planted over ears. Shrek is hilarious no matter how many times you see it. Water is for playing in, not drinking. Milk is the nectar of the gods. Every trip to the grocery store should be accompanied by a cookie. Band-aids heal all wounds, both physical and emotional.

So...I still do not know what prompted me, a perfectly reasonable woman, to have children. It was a completely irrational, nonsensical, blindly optimistic decision. It was one of those decisions that usually end with catastrophic consequences...lifetime imprisonment or deportation to a third world country or....gulp...a Vegas wedding to a toothless hooker. However, I can honestly say that it was one of the best stupid decisions I have ever made. Yes, they drive me nuts. Yes, they suck the life out of me. But what would I be without them? They made me a mom. By far the best job I've ever had (though hostess at The Sizzler comes in at a close second).


Jessica said...

Hey, I had a Vegas wedding! ;)

Shannon Ralph said...

Jessica--I changed my comment to say a "Vegas wedding to a toothless hooker." That is a little more along the line of what I had in mind. I am sure YOUR Vegas wedding was nothing short of lovely and dignified. :)

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