I need to admit something. I have a little problem. A fluffy, white problem to be precise. And no, it's not the kids unstuffing the couch on a regular basis.
(That's just a minor fluffy, white distraction.)
Confession: I love marshmallows. They are so cute!! And sweet and soft and fluffy, just like me!! And my kids love marshmallows.
How do you think I get them to smile for family pictures??
Hello, everyone gets a marshmallow if you smile!!!
How do you think I get Phil to take his allergy medicine?
HELLO!!! Put it in a marshmallow!! Works for pets AND 2nd graders.
If we are having a rough day, I'll just make it rain mini marshmallows in my kitchen Lorax-style.
Yesterday morning, my Dad and I were watching Noah run around the house in a circle. Wiiiiiiith a marshmallow in his mouth. My Dad looked at me like, "Um, Jen?" Busted. I am pretty sure I missed most of parenting 101 but I do remember something on the back of the marshmallow bag about being a choking hazard. I might as well hand him a dry cleaning bag to play with and let him hang off the mini blinds while he carries that thing around in his mouth. Dad and I extracted it and went on our way, but it wasn't long until Noah got in the pantry and found himself some of THESE.
OK, OK, I am going to admit. Buying these was not my best choice. But I feel like I say "no" to my kids so many times, for so many things they want. They are the askingest pigeons in town and I am like the bus driver all. day. long.
And honestly, most of the time they aren't even asking for much and I am not able to give it to them. They don't even want to drive the bus! So I always say yes to the extra hug and kiss and when they asked for the $1.99 bag of Jumbo Marshmallows at Aldi?? Of course I said yes! Make it rain!! And there isn't even food coloring in these, ALDI, BABY! 90 calories!!?? #worthit.
Paul came into the family room last night and said, "Honey, we need to talk."
"What is it, dear?"
"Honey? Why do you keep buying marshmallows?"
"Um, I don't know." (Um, I do know. Magically delicious.)
"Do you know how many bags of marshmallows we have in the pantry?"
"I have no idea." (Actually, I sort of had an approximate idea)
"Like FIVE, Jen. Like one on every shelf. I think that's enough marshmallows. Marshmallows aren't even good for kids!" and he looked at me with that sort of sweet half-bewildered half-disappointed face you might use to talk to a puppy. "Are you buying them every week?"
"Honey, I don't even have many opinions about parenting our kids or what they eat, but this. This, I am pretty sure of. Less marshmallows."
I took some time to ponder that. I am sure a few years ago I would have said "I CAN FEED THE KIDS AS MANY MARSHMALLOWS AS I WANT, DAMMIT!!" and left it at that, but I am slowly learning that occasionally Paul has valid points that bear weight on the parenting of our children.
So, I pondered it all of the way through yoga (where I try to work on my marshmallow belly- a problem more related to four kids than actual consumption of marshmallows) until about halfway through half-boat I burst out laughing.
And couldn't stop laughing.
Until Paul could no longer do yoga either and finally relented with, "WHAT ARE YOU LAUGHING ABOUT!!??"
"Honey, you just had to have a marshmallow intervention."
"I know, Jen. It was serious."
And we were both laughing.
There are worse things that could happen. Marshmallow interventions are my new favorite thing. I am glad I took the time to listen to Paul because I think that was necessary. Five years ago, I might not have done that, I would have made up a story in my head about how Paul doesn't really understand what it's like to be me and how deep my love is for marshmallows and for our children. Also, if I hadn't gotten defensive I might have taken the marshmallow intervention very personally and started to beat myself up. I have also slowly been learning that mom guilt is not productive either.
Later that night I got on Pinterest quickly to look for something and the first post on my feed was "The Perfect Schedule for a Two Year Old." I took the bait and was immediately disappointed to find that the perfect schedule for a two year old did not include marshmallows or PBS kids or running errands. Well, crap. Should I beat myself up? But I look at my Noah. So happy, so loved.
And I decided that was great for that mama and her two year old but I would do what was great for mine. And maybe I could take a tip and throw in some more crafts when I got around to it, that looked nice.
We learn, we move forward. We know better, we do better. You take what works for you, and disregard the rest. We owe it to ourselves to be gentle. I have to be soft and fluffy with myself, just like a marshmallow. Only with (slightly) less marshmallows.