Posted in Mommyhood

How My Girl Became a Game of Thrones Fan

Yes. You read that correctly. I think – I must admit that I’m not sure – that My Girl has been binge watching Game of Thrones with The Husband and I.

And if you aren’t a fan of Jon Snow and Khaleesi, let me just give you a small tidbit of some of the scenes it contains: The Mountain (appropriately named) literally squeezes the brains out of poor Oberyn Martel; a 10-year-old boy is pushed out a tower window after accidentally witnessing some brother on sister action; a father is beheaded in front of his daughters; and let’s not forget the Red Wedding (which, I don’t even need to explain as you can surmise from the name). Yes. Grade A parenting skills right there.

A False Sense of Security

But let me explain.

My Girl lured The Husband and I into a false sense of security. So really, this is all her fault.

At four weeks old, My Girl was sleeping all through the night. I used to love to brag about that.

My Girl made bedtime easy when she was little. And who wouldn’t trust those big eyes?

At age two, when we made the transition to a “big girl bed”, we had no sleepless night. No getting out of bed; no need to put a child lock on her door to hold her captive; no disruptions to our sleep. I used to brag about that too.

Now I know what happens to braggarts. Something about eating their words.

A Real Sense of Desperation

From age four-ish on, those non-disruptive nights became something of the past. I shouldn’t complain too much, because it could always be worse. Right?

Could always be worse (that’s the mantra I repeat to myself).

But My Girl has a terrible habit of getting up around 2 a.m., going to the bathroom, then creepily coming into our room.

Her end game is just to have me put her back to bed and lay down with her for a few minutes. Which usually happens. I know – trust me, I know – that if I stopped getting up and laying down with her, she would probably stop. But let me tell you why I do this. It’s twofold.

  1. Typical mushy mom reason. This won’t happen forever. As much as I wish for a full night of uninterrupted sleep, there will be plenty of nights and years for that after My Girls grows out of snuggles. (Though, we have a deal. She promises to never be too big for snuggles. I think I’m supposed to buy her a unicorn though to seal the deal…) These late-night sessions of puzzle piece (what we call snuggle time because she fits in my arms perfectly, like a puzzle piece) have an expiration date. I’m not really eager for it to approach.
  2. Reason number two is probably the more pressing issue though. In the middle of the night, I’m a little scared of My Girl so in a half-sleep state, I do whatever she says. That’s not because she throws an early dawn fit or anything normal like that. It’s because she creeps the hell out of me.

Imagine this: deep sleep, slow creak of the opening door, near silent footsteps approaching the bed, dark eyes boring into your sleeping form, and raspy breathing. Now let’s take it a little further. Imagine opening your eyes and staring at you intently is the little girl who clawed herself out of the well, climbed through your TV screen, over the open case of The Ring and into your bedroom.

That was a reference of the horror flick The Ring. I’m spelling it out clearly for my mom who will have no idea what I’m talking about when she reads this. And if you also didn’t catch the pop culture reference, stop reading now and look up the image of The Ring girl. The caption should say My Girl at 2 a.m. I’ll even you help you.)

Now we’re all on the same page. That’s exactly what My Girl looks like in the middle of the night. Long night gown, because even at night she needs to be “fancy,” white blankie hanging in front of her to give her even more of an aura of creepiness, and long, ratted dark hair hanging in front of her face. I cut to in a short bob a couple of months ago for this sole reason. When you wake up to Death in Girl Form facing you, you do as it says.

Nighttime Ice Cream Runs

Bear with me. I’m getting back to GoT.

So The Husband and I have been aware that My Girl does not do well with staying in bed anymore. We didn’t realize how bad the situation was until she had her first sleepover with Jane. The morning after the sleepover, during breakfast My Girl and Jane were unabashedly telling me their intentions for the previous night.

They had waited until The Husband and I went to sleep. Then they were going to get up and eat ice cream all night long. You have to love and appreciate their honesty. Luckily, Jane is a bit of a scaredy cat and decided she couldn’t do it.

Thank you, Child! We’re keeping you around because My Girl needs a positive influence, apparently.

Also, you have to love their plan. Don’t we all want to get up and eat ice cream in the middle of the night?

Nighttime Sneaking

A few weeks later, we realized that My Girl doesn’t need to be urged on to midnight travels by anyone. One Saturday night, while My Girl was (supposedly) sleeping and The Husband was working in the garage, I watched Hocus Pocus (as any well-respected, 30-something year old does when she’s by herself. I made it more adulty with a glass of Malbec).

The next day, My Girl put on an “original” play for The Husband and me. A few minutes into it, we realized that it was suspiciously a lot like the plot of Hocus Pocus. Finally, we asked her if she had watched the movie the night before.

My Girl: “Just a little bit. I saw the part when the boy woke up the witches and then they woke up the zombie. But in the end the zombie wasn’t bad. He yelled at the mean witch and helped save the girl by putting her into an empty grave.”

Me: “That was the entire movie!”

My mind is reeling. How did she watch that? How often does she do that? And, Lord help us, what else has she seen?

My Girl, with no shame (NO SHAME, I tell you), went on to demonstrate how she used to sneak down the stairs, halfway, and watch the TV. But she realized The Husband could see her from where he sits in the recliner.

So now she will lay down (right here, she pointed) in the hallway, look through the bannister and see almost the entire TV screen.

But if we were watching TV in the great room, she would have to crawl through the back of the room (again with a physical demonstration of how it works) and hide behind the far side of our sectional couch to see the TV.

And like the excellent parents (excellent and immature and, for sure, inadequate parents) that we are, we were speechless and then laughing. It wasn’t until later that I started to think of the things we had watched recently: Deadpool 1 and 2 (internal groans from me), The Tudors (which was aired on HBO, if that tells you anything) and a recent binge watch of EVERY SEASON of Game of Thrones.

We were all dying to see who sat on the Iron Throne. And when “all” apparently I meant my 8YO as well.

I’m honestly too afraid to ask her if she watched any of those. I think ignorance is best in this situation.

But that’s how My Girl became another Throner like rest of the world… And why I now watch Friends reruns almost exclusively. If she starts asking “how you doin” though, I’m in big trouble.

Posted in Mommyhood

Unwed Marys and Modesty

My Girl: (gasps) “But I’m a virgin!”

My Girl has been walking around the house for weeks doing this. She gasps in surprise and says (very sincerely, I might add) “But I’m a virgin!”

Did I mention she’s Mary in the church Christmas program? Perhaps I should have led with that.

I’ve never been so happy to have COVID cancel something as I was this holiday season. My Girl’s Christmas Program was cancelled.

That’s not true. I wasn’t happy to see the program cancelled. But I was happy to avoid the conversation I was sure to happen eventually – “Momma, what’s a virgin?”

Tough and Truthful Conversations

So I’m not good with these hard conversations (see when I just kept telling My Girl to ask her father here). I know avoidance isn’t the answer, but exactly how do you explain “virgin” to a 9-year-old with modesty issues, the love language of physical touch and an early propensity to be boy crazy?

That’s not rhetorical. Feel free to comment below if you have ideas.

The Sister’s Honesty

I’m not like The Sister with her honesty and anatomically-correct vocabulary. Maybe it’s because she has four children, which means four times the questions. (And yes, it’s true… I’ve yet to mention The Sister without also mentioning that she has four kids; I can’t help it… it blows my mind! She’s basically a super hero.) Maybe it’s because the oldest of her kiddos is bordering on teenager-dom.

Either way, her youngest, the heart-wrenchingly cute, four-year-old Boo knows more about the female body that My Girl does at age 9.

How do I know this?

Because The Sister sent me the following picture of Boo at preschool.

Boo's Modesty
See that sweet, sad face? That’s the face of a little girl who didn’t get to finish putting the private parts on her monster.

She is pouting because the teacher made her stop drawing her monster before it was complete.

It’s missing its vagina. Her words not mine.

I’m blushing over that fact that I just wrote vagina and am posting it on the internet. Boo, on the other hand, stood up in class and cried out: “But my monster is missing its vagina!” There may or may not have been descriptive hand motions included with this outburst.

Who am I kidding? There were definitely descriptive hand motions.

So while I envy The Sister’s ability to be honest and open with her children, I hate to admit that I’m more like Chandler – just walk away when the conversation gets tough.

Chandler’s Avoidance

Recently, when Chandler tucked Little LuLu into bed for the night, she accidentally bumped… um… him.

Little LuLu: “Dada… Why you got a little stick in your pocket?”

Chandler, in his infinite daddy wisdom, just walked out of the room. I can’t say that was the most educational approach, but in all honesty, it’s probably the one I would have gone with too.

It was also his second response when he went back in to finally say goodnight.

Little Lulu: “Dada… Did you get that stick out of your butt yet?”

At that point, he left the room, only to fall to the floor laughing.

So I can agree with Chandler… At times the best answer to difficult questions is ignoring them. That’s the method I use when My Girl consistently sings a specific Hamilton lyric incorrectly.

She sings A Winter’s Ball like this: “Now Hamilton’s skill with the quill is undeniable/But what do we have in common/We’re reliable with the/Ladies/There are so many to devour/Ladies/Looks, proximity to power.”

Her mistake is in her choice of the word “devour.” The brilliant Lin Manual-Miranda actually uses the word “deflower.”

But when I went to correct My Girl, I had second thoughts.

My Girl: “It’s not devour? Then what is it?”


Surprisingly, I couldn’t think of a better alternative. I wasn’t about to explain why Hamilton would want to “deflower” a lady during their courtship. On second thought, devour works just fine, especially because she thinks in literal animal terms. Plus, kudos to My Girl for keeping with the rhyming integrity of the song.

Modesty in Want

I just hate to give My Girl more information than she already has. I worry about the combination of that knowledge with her already flagrant disregard for anything resembling modesty.

I’m sure modesty is something that will come with maturity. Let me rephrase that: I hope modesty is something that will come with maturity.

As of right now, My Girl is very, very immature.

If I had a dime every time I woke My Girl up and found her naked under the covers… Well, to quote Maren Morris, I’d be sitting on a big ass pile of dimes.

Yes, she is naturally a furnace who runs around in shorts and short sleeves even in the winter. And yes, the air conditioning doesn’t quite bring the temperature down in her room on hot summer nights. Even so, I can’t stress to her enough the importance to keeping some stitch of clothing on while sleeping.

But the reason I remain fairly confident that modesty will come is because her best buds are not much better. If you recall the terrible night of My Girl’s sleepover (memory refresher here), My Girl was not the only one who didn’t hear the implied instructions of going into a private room when I directed the girls to change into their pajamas. Everywhere The Husband tried to go (the great room, the living room, the upstairs bedrooms, and yes, even, the actual steps) there was a different naked child happily preparing for her bedtime routine.

So it’s not just My Girl. Either that, or my friends and I are raising the new generation of nudists.

Proud (Virgin) Mary

That’s brings me back to my 9YO who was consistently practicing her Christmas program lines around the house.

(Gasp) “But I’m a virgin!”

My Girl Mary
My Girl as a Proud Mary. Proud and Curious Mary.

I just kept waiting for the inevitable. The question that was bound to come.

“Momma, what is a virgin?”

It wouldn’t be the first time she asked me that. The first time was this fall when we watched Hocus Pocus. Curse you, Bette Midler. I was tortured over the is she ready/is she not ready question in regards to watching the movie. But I was more worried about the witches and zombies disrupting her beauty sleep than the question of why Max was able to light the black candle and bring the Sanderson Sisters back to life.

“Momma, what’s a virgin?”

At that point, I was unable to foresee her starring role in the Christmas program, so I said the first thing that popped into my head. “It’s a young boy.”

Case closed. Curiosity satisfied, since Max was, indeed, a young boy.

And then came December and her Mary lines.

So I waited. Every time we practiced her lines, I held my breath, waiting for the question.

But it never came. Maybe My Girl isn’t as curious as I thought.

The question never came but the cancellation did. I finally released that held breath and was slightly relieved we didn’t have to listen to My Girl’s practicing any more.

As a replacement to the program at church, Monica and I planned a neighborhood, small, outdoor program – with the help of some neighbors and Phoebe.

My Girl resumed her role of Mary; Jane was an angel; and Little LuLu was the perfect sheep keeping watch at night. I wrote a quick script for the program.

Obviously, I removed the troublesome line.

Instead, My Girl was scripted to say to Jane: “How can this be? I’m not married.”

What did My Girl say when practicing her lines throughout the house??? (Gasp) “But I’m a virgin!”

Posted in Mommyhood

Tis the Season for Lying

I can’t wait for My Girl to stop believing in Santa Claus.

There. I said it. I feel better.

Now let the torrents of judgements and insults rain down.

It’s not that I’m in a hurry for her to grow up. And I don’t want to ruin the (albeit false) magic of Christmas with Santa Claus and his flying reindeer and his omniscient presence making My Girl behave.

I’m in a hurry to stop lying to her about it.

I am not in a hurry for My Girl to lose her faith in Santa.

Liar Liar Christmas is on Fire

Again, this is not motivated by my pureness of heart. It’s motivated by my lack of adequate lying skills.

I’m a bad liar.

It’s true. Ha. I couldn’t lie about it if it wasn’t true. I was never good at lying – not as a kid, a teenager or certainly a mother.

As a teenager, the biggest whopper I ever told my parents was this:

As I was driving home a few nights ago, on a lonely, dark, country road, I ran over something. I was driving my dad’s car, so immediately, I was very concerned. (My dad, at this point in the story, sat up and started listening intently.) So I pulled over to see what it was. There was no one around, no one to help. I finally realized what it was… a pig! (Both my parents and The Sister were looking at me curiously and with much concern by now. I also had to clarify for my dad that his car was completely intact.) I didn’t know what to do. So I drove home. Tonight, though, I found in the mail a ticket from a police officer for hitting the pig and leaving it on the side of the road. (At this, my parents were outraged on my behalf.) I paused, waiting for the inevitable question. Finally my dad asked, “But how did they know you hit it?”

“Because,” I said, enjoying my moment. “The pig squealed.”

Ok, ok, ok. It’s a super corny joke. But I had my family hanging on to every word and believing me. It speaks to my lack of lying, though, that I instantly grinned as I said the punchline and let them in on the joke.

So that’s it – my best lie. I peaked at age 17.

Lying is like tap dancing. It’s full of complex movements with your feet, matching but opposing movements with your hands. It’s intricate and keeps going on and on and on. Your mouth has to work quickly saying one thing, while your mind is working behind the scenes to make your words plausible.

Did I mention I can’t tap dance?

I can’t lie either.

The mother of all fibs

I never notice this as a shortcoming until I had a child – and not just that, but a child who doesn’t let anything slide.

Lying to adults is different. Mainly, because I think half the time they aren’t really listening anyways. Adults have their own distractions, their minds on their own things, and they don’t think I hung the moon and stars.

Kids, on the other hand…

My Girl doesn’t hear me tell her to put on socks before we leave the house for school – though I take her by the shoulders, look deep into her eyes and make her repeat after me. Go. Get. Socks.

But the one time, three years ago, when I may have mentioned as a side remark some obscure “fact” about Santa – that she will remember until her grave. Not only that, she doesn’t have the polite notions of an adult who will often let it slide when you show a crack in a semi-thought-out lie. She will call me out on it and beat it until that dead horse has flies buzzing around its carcass.

This Santa lie is like a boulder balancing precariously on the top of a cliff’s edge. One soft breeze, one resting butterfly, one misstep and it’s going to come crashing down on top of someone’s head.

Me. I’m someone.

‘Tis the Season for Christmas Lying

It’s little things. Like now that we practically live with the Chandler/Monica clan (quarantine be damned!), we have to coordinate our Christmas lies. Monica bought the girls matching Christmas ornaments (the Schuyler Sisters from Hamilton, obviously) for Christmas. I don’t usually give My Girl ornaments, but it’s tradition for Monica. Santa brings the ornaments. I about ruined the whole damn thing because I was going to hand it to My Girl on December 1st to put on the tree.

You know those girls would compare ornaments. You know Jane would ask how they had matching ones but My Girl’s was from me and hers was from Santa. You know I wouldn’t have been able to tap dance my way out of that one.

Then comes the elf

That blasted Christmas elf. If ever there was a person in the world who I would like to smash in the face with a coconut cream pie, it’s the evil person from Hallmark (it’s got to be a Hallmark executive, right?) who thought of Elf on the Shelf. That person and Thomas Jefferson. (Yes, I’m still obsessed with Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson is a big Richard Cranium, I’ve realized. So he deserves a pie in the face, as well.)

It’s not just me who has some choice four-letter words for the maker of Elf on the Shelf. The Sister shared this epic #themomfail with me recently.

A friend of her, probably (understandably) doped out on motherhood exhaustion and post-Thanksgiving tryptophan, accidentally set up her elf with its head facing backwards.

Another difference between children and adults? As an adult, I would look at that elf and think of the Exorcism of Emily Rose. What sort of demon possessed Santa’s helper and turned its head backwards.

This momma’s children, on the other hand… their heads went somewhere else. Now these kiddos are thrilled because their Elf on the Shelf is PREGNANT!!

When are the baby elves coming??!!!

I’m praying for a Christmas miracle for the momma who accidentally introduced her kiddos to a pregnant Elf on the Shelf this holiday season.

Pray for this momma during the holiday season. She needs it. And maybe a wine Advent calendar like my dear sister got for me at Aldi. Did I mention how much I love my sister?

There’s No Joy in Joy the Elf

This is the first year that Monica decided to introduce an elf to her home. If I was a good friend, I would have told her to run for the hills, hide under her bed until December 26, anything to avoid that Elf on the Shelf. But I’m not a good friend. I would like a little company in my misery.

But on day one, she about ruined it for all of us. She sent me a picture of her cute elf perched on a Christmas decoration touting Joy to the World.

“Put that damn thing away!!!!” I texted back.

Our elf doesn’t show up until the day after Thanksgiving. Monica was going the route of the over-achiever and had her elf (ironically named Joy) set up on Thanksgiving night. Hells to the no. I need any extra day of reprieve I can get.

She promptly put it away, because she also was happy to put the thing off another day, and because she knew our girls would talk and we’d have some ‘splainin to do.

Holly and Snowflake

I’m sure that when this Santa Claus lie unravels, it will be because of Holly, our Elf on the Shelf. Part of the reason is because we don’t talk about Santa much, but we talk about Holly all the time. All. The. Damn. Time.

Yes, I complain a lot about our elf, but she is fun. And yes, she brings a level of joy to My Girl that I thought was reserved for a pet unicorn or talking pony. That is exactly why we have Holly and I continue to move her every night into a new fun and mischievous place.

But she puts my tap-dancing skills to the ultimate test.

The bane of my existence… a happy, deceitful Elf on the Shelf.

(On a related note, check out how I tried to standardize the Christmas lie and Elf on the Shelf last year. It hasn’t taken off because B. Swift continues to flaunt the rules and out do me.)

Add to the fact that Christmas is a delicate castle of cards with Holly sitting precariously on top, we also included an elf pet a few years ago – Snowflake the magical, mini reindeer.

I take it back. If there’s someone on this planet who I would pay big bucks to pie face, it’s the person who came up with the elf pets. Perhaps it’s the same person. Then – two pies! Double-fisting style!

This year, My Girl reread the book – apparently paying attention to details – about the Elf Pet. (I also discovered to my complete horror that Netflix now has an elf pets show. You people are KILLING me!)

If you haven’t read this little piece of Christmas fiction, I’ll give you the Cliffnotes version: Santa needs more reindeer to pull his sleigh, but apparently the North Pole is suffering a flying reindeer shortage. But the Elves on the Shelf (Elf on the Shelves? Elves on the Shelves? Not sure the correct plural to use…) are swimming in mini magical reindeer, like Scrooge McDuck swims in gold coins.

So the elves decide to send their reindeer pets to all the little boys and girls. If they love their reindeer pets enough, on Christmas Eve, the mini reindeer will grow up to be a real reindeer – Pinocchio style – and have enough magic and strength to pull Santa’s sleigh.

Nice story. And it explains – packaged very nicely with a red Christmas bow on top – why children can touch and play with the Elf Pet and not the actual Elf. What it doesn’t explain is why the reindeer comes back year after year for more loving.

As I’m writing this, I just realized the true evil genius behind Hallmark. They didn’t intend me to keep giving Snowflake to My Girl year after year. They expected me to BUY A NEW ONE.

Coconut cream pie is too good for them.

This year, My Girl realized that Snowflake has been visiting our house since 2017. She gave me the following choices to explain this travesty:

  1. Snowflake isn’t real. Thus, Holly the Elf isn’t real. Thus, Santa Claus isn’t real. Thus, I’ve been lying to her the whole time. That’s a lot of thuses.
  2. My Girl did not sufficiently love on Snowflake so he has yet to reach his full potential or full size.

Not great options, I must say. I went with secret choice #3. Snowflake isn’t really Snowflake, but a brand new reindeer. My Girl did such a great job at loving the last few pets that Santa sent her more. So, this isn’t actually Snowflake but… uh… Candy Cane.

Did she buy it? I think so. There were some tears because she misses Snowflake. And she eyeballed the washing instructions tag that is still on Snowflake (which she nailed me on last year), but she didn’t mention it.

Which leads me to my next cause of concern…

Maybe My Girl stopped believing in Santa Claus sometime during the last 12 months, and now she’s just screwing with me to make me sweat.

Well done, My Girl. Well done.