1 is the number of you in the house. I know, obvious, right? But let’s just establish the fact that there really is only one you. I remind my kids of that often – one mom to all of you – especially when they all have a national emergency at the same time. You know, the finding of shoes, the I have nothing to wear, I’m starving, I’m bored, can I go outside cries? that happen almost 24/7? Waiting for the inevitable cry of Mo—oo-ooo–m (please imagine that as elongated and with as much enthusiasm as possible) from a child waiting to find out if his brother did in fact look at him with a face that showed that he was teasing him is a normal part of motherhood.
2 is the number of shoes that are always lost. You see, there will always be two shoes sitting by the entry way. But are they matches? 9 times out of 10 – no. I’m not sure how one shoe ends up downstairs in the bathroom and the other upstairs by the door. Or the other up under the bed and the other on the shelf. It happens. Please tell me that my children aren’t the only ones with the incredible power to make the other half of $14.99 shoes bought on sale from Target disappear. This is also the number of cups of coffee needed before 9am.
3 is the number of meals that should be served each day. Secretly I think my children are hobbits. You know, the hobbits from Lord of the Rings who are always always, and I mean always, hungry? My kids want second breakfast within minutes of first breakfast. If this list went to 100 then that would be then number of times a day I hear I’m hungry (please use the same elongated tone and whine as used and imagined in point number one).
4 is the number of times you will hear, on average, I’m starving after they ask for third breakfast. However, they are never starving enough to accept the celery with peanut butter or plain crackers. Apparently this kind of starving only is satiated with fruit snacks, chips, or freezie pops in the freezer. But not the lime green freezies. They’re the last last choice in freezie selection in this house. I guess I’ll have green. That’s the cry then. Such torture to have the green.
5 is the number of times you will remind them before walking in the store that we are not, in fact, getting any type of treat despite the absolutely clever and targeting marketing to children done by Target. (Or Walmart for those of you who shop there, but I’m a Minnesota gal and we’re fiercely loyal to Target up here in the frozen tundra) The Legos, Cars, and other over priced paraphernalia placed at eye level with a mini bench does not go unnoticed. My new strategy? The Target sticker. One can never be reminded too many times to buckle up in the cart. Ask for the sticker. Every. Single. Time.
6 is the number of times it takes to figure out how to move around a room with ninja like skills. Or to get ice cream from the freezer after the kids are in bed, but not really asleep. Oh, I know you get this. With motherhood comes the amazing ability to move like a stealth in the night. Our feet become lighter than air, we know what part of the step to miss, and we are ultra thankful for WD40 for making doors less squeaky. Don’t wake the baby.
7 is the number of attempts it takes to get dried cereal off a bowl not immediately rinsed. At some point I think there is some secret bonding agent between Rice Krispies, Chex, Fruity Pebbles (yes, yes, I purchase these sugar laden morsels every once in a while) and ceramic bowls. I don’t care how much dish soap, soaking, and upper arm strength you use, that cereal is simply not leaving the bowl until you get a knife and start scraping it off. They should really get in contact with Gorilla Glue. Yes, Gorilla Glue, consider this your introduction to the new power in bonding.
8 is the number of underdogs one can do on the swing before my underdog fervor is replaced by the words lets work on learning to pump. Kids that can pump the swing should be a right of passage just like sleeping through the night, riding a bike, going to Junior High and so on. Until your child masters the pumping make sure to alternate arms so that each bicep is equally toned from the constant pushing.
9 is the number of months kids are in school and not bored. Which you’d think would make the three months that they are home (or not homeschooling, because when I homeschooled inevitably summer was met with I’m bored) full of exploring, excitement, and much much to do. However, I’ve learned (just like at We are that Family) that by day two they are immediately bored.
10 is the number of times you’ll say why don’t you clean your room? when they’re bored. Which, in case you are wondering, is met with all of a sudden kids that get along for ten minutes and children that magically disappear. I mean like disappear better than the David Copperfield trick with the vanishing plane. They’re like shoes – they start upstairs and next thing I know I see them outside on the swing. Not complaining about being bored any more. But, as you guessed it, they’re now hungry.
11 is the number of shoes that are now missing pairs. Trust me, once you start looking for missing shoes you’ll realize the enormity of the missing shoes issue. Little did I realize that looking for shoes would result in a minor shoe avalanche at the front door which would all of a sudden give evidence to the fact that there are almost a dozen shoes missing mates (They should get on Tinder). This is stranger than socks. How does a shoe get lost? I no longer look at the shoes on the side of the road and wonder.
12 is the number of months in the year (of course) which goes by way too fast. Every birthday, New Year’s Eve, and major holiday will remind you of this point. Even though in the middle of the year it feels like it can be dragging by (and oh yes, all of you moms in the midst of potty training I remember. I remember. Torture. You’ll make it to the other side where you aren’t doing laundry constantly). Twelve is also the number of eggs in the carton that when mixed with pancake mix will create in the kids opinion the best dinner ever. Well, that and macaroni and cheese and hotdogs. Or, in my house, anything with corn in it. Including corn on the cob.
13 is the number that is considered unlucky. So let’s skip it.
14 is the number of attempts that it will take to make a hard right turn in Target with the large jumbo cart. I’m starting to think that thing needs a permit class to drive it and warning noises when it’s coming around the corner. As an experienced large cart driver I tell you it’s all in the hips, move with the hips first, brace and just turn. You’ll get it. And if you take down the end cap with fruit snacks at the end, well be thankful that it wasn’t pickles or either items in glass jars. Which are also at eye level of wandering kids.
15 is the number of times you’ll wish that your four year old still would fit in the cart at Target as you observe him getting sidetracked by all things yummy, shiny, expensive, and at eye level. Please see number five for more evidence. And fourteen. Or simply watch any mother at the store with an independent, curious, running, lovable, and precocious four year old.
16 is the number of books that children would like to be read at night. Typically I read this number books divided by either four or eight. And sometimes I might skip parts. Especially in books that aren’t clever or fun to read – you know what I mean – those books about Spiderman or Barbie (back when I had little girls) and the text is almost a mild form of torture. Let me read Cat in Hat any day. Or Go Dog Go! Reading about how Barbie was going to the Halloween party and she couldn’t choose a shirt that matched is what gave all parents the ability to create abridged versions of those childhood classics.
17 is the number of times that my children have now asked for a snack while I’ve been writing this post. Yes, moving on now.
18 is the number that our children turn when they are considered an adult. Like my oldest daughter, Hannah, did several weeks ago. Now I’ve had eighteen years of me being a mom and me wondering what happened to that little girl who had black Powerpuff shoes, a bottle of mixed colored sand that she called her power, and a collection of Polly Pockets with plastic clothing that would rip after two uses. That number makes me wish I had not skipped so much of the text in those Barbie and My Little Pony books as I would now give anything for just a couple more sweet hours with those little ones who when they’re little who never seem like they’ll be big. And yet they grow. Fast.
19 is the number of times a day you’ll contemplate selling, packing up, donating, or packing away the Legos that you constantly find all over. Legos are worse than shoes as far as the ability to scatter. I’m not sure if my kids carry Legos in their pockets that gradually fall out throughout the day (think PigPen, but this time a trail of Legos) but I’m telling you, there are little Lego pieces everywhere. Every where. Car. Living room. Kitchen. Laundry room. Bathroom. Stairs. Hallway. And sometimes, if I’m lucky, in the Lego box.
20 is the number of times in a day where you might wonder if you’re a good mom. And let me tell you, first you are, and second, for every twenty times that you wonder this replace it with another twenty times two times reminding you of all the awesome that you do. Let go of mistakes and embrace today. This moment (or one within the day, because you potty training moms really don’t have to embrace those moments.) Just keep doing one thing. Kiss the tops of their heads. Text I love you. Stand on the sidelines and cheer. Let them run in the sprinkler. Serve watermelon for dinner. Laugh. And just be you. The mom.
Twenty motherhood truths. Oh yes, and the number of times I’ve said because I said so is infinite and therefore not countable. But we all get that. All of us. And if you don’t yet, you will understand, simply trust me, because I said so.
And yours? What are your truths?