Writing Advice From a 2 Year Old

I was working on my outline when I had to step away. You would think I knew the drill. Leave paper and pencil with two year old on the move=

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From what I can decipher, she’s telling me to fill the page and wrap it up. At least that is what it looks like to me. So, in honor of my up and coming writing partner/critic, here’s a couple of things she has taught me about writing.

1. Any empty space must be filled:

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2. Read, read, read:

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3. If you find a book you like, take a page from it:

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4. If you’re going to be a writer, look the part and take any time you have to write:

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Sweet 16

Today is our 16th Wedding Anniversary and as much as I would love to say they have been the sweetest of my life, that would be a lie.

My marriage, like any marriage, has had it’s ups and downs. We have had good times that have sustained us through the bad. The bad times have made us stronger. If it wasn’t for the difficult times and the opportunity we had to work together and make it through to the other side, our marriage wouldn’t be as strong as it is today. To this I credit my stubbornness and my husband’s love. It may not sound massively romantic (my husband is certainly not impressed), but during the hard times in our marriage, it was sheer stubbornness that kept me going. I refused to believe that things wouldn’t work out, that things wouldn’t get better, and that our marriage wasn’t going to last.

I am not romantic at all, that’s not to say romance doesn’t move me. The sweetest thing my husband ever said to me was “You hold this family together, you are the center, and this family doesn’t work without you.” As sweet as that is, I disagree. My husband is the love in this family. He is a cheerleader when I don’t think I have what it takes, he is a comedian when I take things too seriously, he is a compass when I veer off course, and he is the person I have chosen to spend my life with. When I tend to get stuck in trudging through the bad times, stubbornly, he reminds me that we are doing this because we love each other.

The hard times in our marriage is what defines us. Every challenge and disappointment that we have faced together have made us stronger. We may not have risen victorious over some of them, but we have always held firmly to each other. And my husband has always reminded me why we faced them together. We have built a life together.

I hope that my children learn many things from our marriage. How to treat the person you love and how to put in the hard work to build something to last. I hope they find in their own marriages that of the highs and lows that they will experience in their relationships, it is the lows that make your marriage stronger. When you have someone who fights, builds, and cultivates beside you, with the same goal in mind, the relationship is that much sweeter.

Happy Anniversary to my husband and the family we have created.

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Naked At The Olive Garden

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Going out to dinner with a two year old is always a mistake. At least I think it is, because I don’t remember the other three being like this at two. Maybe it’s like childbirth. The memory of the pain just disappears after the ordeal, something your mind does to fool you into having another child. Which would explain why I thought it was a swell idea to go to the Olive Garden with the husband and two girls (the boys escaped to hang out with friends).

It started out fine. We declined the booster seat, because in the hands of a two year old, it becomes a murder weapon. I forgot that they have what my six year old refers to as “wheel chairs.” So, she spent the majority of dinner ramming the woman behind us and trying to crack the teeth out of her skull. The salad on her plate ended up on the floor in a nice tidy pile (should I be happy it was in a pile and not strewn around the floor?). A grape was used as a volleyball when she tossed it in her sisters spaghetti and it was lobbed back by a six year old who thought that was appropriate behavior. The husband might as well have been at another table since he was in la la land (probably day dreaming about the family he could have had).

Whether the other three were like this or not, I can say this two year old upped the ante when she took her diaper off at the table. Just stood up on her chair and whipped it off. I wonder how many diners thought, ‘Wow, this is a first.’ My daughter officially turned a family restaurant into a strip joint. It’s times like this when I look at my husband and think, ‘You must have been a horrible child.’ I can only imagine what he did as a child to make his mother lay down the “curse”. Because, let’s face it, one of us was bad enough to get “a child just like you,” and I was a good girl. Well, I wasn’t bad enough that I should have a child who would do a strip tease on a chair in the Olive Garden.

In advance, thank you for not mentioning that’s exactly what I do have.

Summers End

To most people summer is still in full swing. Around here…not so much. Two of my children started the new school year last week and the oldest is starting online school next Monday. In this family, Summer is officially over.

The raspberries and strawberries are done for the season. The experimental potato in a pot is doing it’s thing (whatever it’s thing is). The onions, peas, and beans are growing like crazy in our garden. The garden by the way is too small. My children have turned it into a snacking garden, so we have yet to enjoy the benefits of fresh veggies at the dinner table. Garden expansion is scheduled for Spring 2014. Another thing that I put off for the season, but for a good reason since I was in the middle of writing my novel.

It is not impossible to enjoy the remainder of summer with two children gone all day, it just isn’t as much fun. The youngest and I left the oldest sleeping at home (he is a teenager) and met up with family to go to a park. Every time I go somewhere with her, I marvel at my ability to track her every movement. Following one child around a park is an experience I could never get used to again. Well, maybe after they are all out of the house and have children of their own. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy myself, I always find myself amazed by my children. Watching my two year old strut around the park interacting with other children was interesting. I just assumed she was shy (she refuses to have conversations with adults), but watching her chatter at the other kids proved me wrong. As the youngest, she has constantly been compared to the other three. “She has attitude like her sister”, “She has dimples like her brother”, and “Yep, just like the oldest, runs off to poop in the corner.” She is a mixture of all of them and somehow her own little person.

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And she is TWO, which has officially earned her the nickname “Dictator.” Which of all the nicknames I have given my children over the years (Nugget, Chunky Monkey, Pissy Missy) is probably the most accurate one I have come up with. And this is the child that doesn’t know Summer has ended. Summer won’t end for another three years for this one. No matter how mom is feeling, my youngest will want to play in the pool, dig in the dirt, go to the park, eat out of the garden, and picnic on the deck. Seasons don’t matter to my youngest (I could make the same claim for the other three), so we finish out the Summer that doesn’t feel like Summer anymore. And I know when she is released from the house, she will head straight for the garden for her morning snack before her daily trek to the play set. Then we’ll come in for lunch, her smelling of Summer (dirt, sweat, and sunshine) and finally the Summer nap crash. It most be wonderful to be a two year old, but being the mother of a two year old at nap time is a hundred times better. 🙂

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From Palace to Pig Sty in 3.5 Seconds

Three of my four little angels were gone last week. My parents picked them up for a week of Grandma and Grandpa time. My husband and I got to spend a week basking in the memories of a single child household. However, we had been left with the high maintenance child. She surprised both of us. We took her to Como Zoo for her first visit. The Sparky Show confused her (I’m sure in her limited experience, all animals wave and blow kisses), as did all the clapping, laughing and cheering. Like her sister before her, any of the exhibits that included water was her favorite. Overall, the whole day was great. My two year old had been replaced with a sweet, reasonable child.

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Marais enjoying her day.

Dad went back to work and we swam, swung, gardened, consumed all of the raspberries straight from the bush, and cleaned. My house was glorious! Both boys’ rooms were cleaned top to bottom, same with the bathrooms, the family room, the living room, and the kitchen. A glimpse of how my house would look without children. To be honest, I don’t hate the mess, I just hate stepping on a ‘Don’t Break the Ice’ block that’s been hidden under a blanket.

The other three came home and all was good. My babies were all back under one roof. With them came the temper tantrums. The two year old seemed to think she had to make up for the week she let me off the hook. And the youngest three went back to arguing. How could I have forgotten that?

To cut my boys some slack, it is my girls who destroy everything. How can a six and two year old cause such a mess? Sometimes my house is like a scene from Sharknado. The two year old floods the bathroom at bath time. There’s a body count in the kitchen (how does one six year old have so many dolls?). And I walk away at the end of the day exhausted, wet, bloody and feeling like I lost a limb along the way.

Turns out when all is said and done, I miss the chaos. A clean and quiet house is overrated. Of course, I could be a few crayons short of a full box. I don’t think so, after all, I am realllly looking forward to the new school year. T-minus 12 days. But until then, look for me in the mess. No, really, someone might need to send in a rescue team to find me in the pile of toys and blankets that has taken over my living room.