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Over the weekend, as we finished up our Mother's Day dim sum, Revi made a friend. Revi makes friends everywhere she goes. So do Fable and Archer and Bo, of course, but Revi could go pro in the "Let me fold my hands nicely in my lap and be cute on command" department. She sits quietly in chairs and smiles. Which makes her a hot commodity, especially in busy restaurants.
And so, as an elderly woman two tables over began playing peekaboo with Revi, I knew what was coming. Their game of peek-a-boo soon became a love fest of flowers and treats until Revi was cradling a bouquet of carnations and bag full of candy.
"But what about me?" asked Bo.
"I know. This is ... let me just ... hold on."
I politely tried to explain to the woman that the gifts, although kind, were unnecessary and that, well, there are four of them so I feel a little uncomfortable with the fact that one child is holding four flowers while three were not.
I realized halfway through my attempt to "fix" the situation that the woman did not speak English and/or was not concerned about playing favorites. She only had eyes for Revi.
Being loved by all people is not the goal. I regularly remind my kids that there will be plenty of people they meet in their lives (good people!) that they will NOT vibe well with.
At this point, Bo had gotten out of her seat and started yelling, "WHAT ABOUT ME! HELLO!? WHERE IS MY FLOWER!?"
I wanted to echo her words because COME ON! You can't give ONE child all of the things and ignore the other children. Instead, I told Bo to come back to the table so we could have our lunch.
"I have a VERY cool surprise for you when we get back in the car," I said. "Shhh. Don't tell anyone."
Moments later, I had Bo back at the table. Angry, but seated.
Revi responded (as she so commonly does) to Bo's frustration by giving all of her flowers to Bo, who then proceeded to tear the petals off with her teeth.
Revi screamed. Bo screamed back.
Fable tried to repair the flowers. Archer shook his head.
CHAOS ensued. Feelings were hurt.
Resentment was palpable. Nobody was hungry. We had enough food to feed 100 people.
Sunday was one in a series of experiences that have left me feeling conflicted and guilty and frustrated. And while I don't fault anyone for being drawn to some people/children/my children more than others, I am fiercely loyal to every underdog and will always have the back of whichever child is getting the least amount of attention.
I recently spent the morning crying in my car because I witnessed one twin happily participating in a group that the other twin was shunned from. Like, SHUNNED. "YOU CANNOT PLAY WITH US, SORRY." And the thing is? This particular twin who wasn't included was OK. She was fine. She's a tough kid. But f**cccccckkk if it isn't difficult to watch one child elevated by the same peers who belittle the other. This is one of the trickiest parts about having twins, specifically twin girls. Specifically VERY different twin girls who socialize very differently. My kids may be equals in our house but outside? In the real world? On the playground? In a restaurant on Mother's Day?
Not even close.
And I get that. I accept that. Being loved by all people is not the goal. I regularly remind my kids that there will be plenty of people they meet in their lives (good people!) that they will NOT vibe well with. And there will be many people who meet them (good people!) who will not vibe well with them back. And these people may vibe well with siblings. Or friends. Or significant others. And that's OK. We are all drawn to different things in different people. We all appeal to different people differently.
Back at the car, as Revi climbed into her seat clutching her broken flowers, I reached into my purse and snuck Bo a piece of gum.
"Shhhh," I told her. "This one's just for you."
She thanked me with her eyes and then turned to Revi and at the top of the lungs screamed, "I GOT A PIECE OF GUM AND YOU DIDN'T. HA HA HAHAHAHAHA."