Guess who is my favorite right now?

By Mir
December 17, 2011

Without compromising the privacy of the underlings in my household, I can tell you that the three little ones ’round here have VERY different reactions to impending travel.

It’s funny, really, to watch them all exhibit such different behavior. An interesting anthropological study, you might say. Because there’s that whole nature/nurture thing, plus two of the three share DNA, yet they could not be more striking in the various reactions they have.

And I, of course, just have to deal with it all. With a smile. When I can manage it. So, yes: The kids head off for vacation with their dad, today, and here is what my morning wrought:

One creature has been on edge ever since the suitcases appeared. Said creature has been skulking around the house mournfully, glomming on to me at every opportunity, rarely leaving my side. This creature is DEEPLY WORRIED about the import of said suitcases, and convinced that no good can come of them. This creature may still be suffering from the ill effects of post-traumatic suitcase disorder.

One creature has been brimming over with glee for days. When asked what the very best part of the past year has been, said creature happily rattled off half-a-dozen happy things and bounced while doing so. This creature rose early this morning, readied itself, and came downstairs all smiles and happiness. This creature was packed and ready to go and had kisses and hugs for everyone.

The last creature woke up late and surly, and discovered to its MIGHTY DISPLEASURE that the One True Shirt was not only not laundered and ready, but completely unavailable because it had been left to soak and was still wet. And lo, there was gnashing of teeth and stomping of feet and screaming and crying. There were threats and refusals to go without The One True Shirt. There was pleading to just wear it sopping wet. There were screeched accusations of parental cruelty and uncaring. Packing was angry and scattered and I am not convinced it even remembered to bring clothes. Eventually there was flouncing out the door, followed by a barrage of text messages about how YOU COULD STILL BRING THE SHIRT LATER and I NEEEED IT and responses about actions and consequences and then—the coup d’état, if you will—the “you should just send me away so your life will be happy again” zinger, designed to provoke and agitate.

My reactions to their behaviors have to be as varied as they are, of course. Thus:

1) It’s okay, it’s okay, you’re staying with me, nothing bad is happening. Here, have a chewy stick and sit in my lap.

2) I love you so much! Have a wonderful time. Be good for your dad.

3) Actions have consequences. You don’t get to act this way and then get a favor from me. My life would NOT be happier without you because I love you too much to either send you away or let you get away with acting like this. You’re better than what you’re showing me right now. Trust me. Trust how much I love you and that I know this is hard but it’s my job to do what I’m doing. You can’t make me stop loving you, but that doesn’t mean I like this behavior.

Dude. I need a nap.


  1. Beth A.

    Can we take bets on which underling is which? Because clearly Monkey is currently chewing on a stick, Chickadee gleefully prepared for her trip with Dad, and Licorice is throwing fits about you not preparing her favorite (PRESHUS) shirt.

    Am I right?

  2. Megan

    Variety is the spice of life. Which makes the Only Shirt That Matters lover something like cayenne pepper? Bit hot on the tongue and sometimes far too much if the dose is large enough, but worth it for the zing it brings to life?

  3. Hally

    I like Megan’s answer. ^^

  4. Stimey

    Small creatures and their…feelings. Ugh.

  5. Nelson's Mama

    My frustrated, immature, tired Mama self would have wadded the One True Shirt up in a zip-lock bag and let It deal with it at the final destination.

    Words of wisdom from Megan. Still dealing with cayenne pepper at 20 ):

    The Suitcase Disorder: Due to said disorder guess who’s going to the beach after Christmas instead of staying at Grandma’s this year?

  6. Sarah

    I love “the underlings” as a collective noun for kids and pets. I am definitely adding it to my vocabulary.

  7. meghann

    Ooh, I think Beth nailed it!

  8. Varda (SquashedMom)

    Love this. Beth DEFINITELY nailed it. Also? As much as I love my kids? I’m envious of your getting a break from them for a few days. Looking forward to this upcoming holiday “vacation” with some dread.

  9. All Adither

    What Varda said. Also kind of wishing I had a glommy dog right now.

  10. brigitte

    To #3, my evil self might not be able to resist that I WAS sending her away, that’s what the suitcases were for. You show mighty restraint!

  11. liz

    Why didn’t you just dry the damn shirt for Licorice? She lacks the opposable thumbs to turn on the dryer. :)

  12. Jan

    I suppose it’s too late, but could the favorite shirt not be packed in a zip-loc and laundered upon arrival?

    It’s just that I, too, am a forgetful one sometimes, so I have pity for that creature.

    (Also, I don’t want you stealing my Mean Mother Of 2011 away from me at the last minute.)

  13. Lucinda

    I think I need to memorize that last paragraph as my unnamed child also behaves like that at times and all I can do is wonder what I did wrong to raise such an ungrateful child. It’s hard to remember that she’s 10 and it’s not about me. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Katherine

    I suppose I’d have sent the wet shirt in a bag and let it be dealt with upon arrival.

    I’m feeling grateful that I have mostly drama free boys, except when I want to take pictures.

  15. addy

    Ya, I’m with you. Truly the ONE TRUE SHIRT is not a matter of life and death. You will live – maybe – if I let you.

  16. Pats

    Sometimes the text messages make me regret the whole “getting the teenager a phone” thing.

  17. mattiepie

    I think a lot of the drama in your household is caused by your unyielding necessity to always be right. So she forgot to wash and dry the shirt. Yeah, maybe next time she’ll think of it earlier, (probably not – teenage brain!) but you are really pushing her away. You think she’s going to one day wake up chirping,”Oh, I am SO glad you were a complete hard-ass over every single solitary last dang thing. I can’t thank you enough.” In reality, she’s going to be resentful. All the little skirmishes add up after awhile to create a big unmoveable wall.

    You had this same contentious relationship with your own mother, right? And you’re not exactly close now, right? The pattern is continuing.

    What harm would it have done to let her bring the shirt in a bag and finish washing it at her dad’s? She’s a 13 year-old girl who wants her favorite shirt because it makes her feel pretty.

    I’m not trying to be contentious myself. Sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture when you’re in the middle of it. I was all for my kids learning consequences, but sometimes it was okay to just be nice about slip-ups. You don’t have to “win” every time.

    My mom parented a lot like you. We are not close. There’s much resentment on my part about things that were said and done to me. I chose to do things differently with my own and they are fabulous adults. Not an irresponsible, jobless, uneducated axe-murderer in the bunch. Sometime kids don’t rebel so hard when they’re not being pushed even harder from the other direction at every turn.

    I’m sure you’ll have a rebuttal explaining why I’m a bitch, a troll, have it all wrong, etc., because you always have to be right and always have to have the last word. I’m just giving you the perspective of how it was for a person who lived this from both the child side and the parent side.

  18. Sassy Apple

    Ummmmm…..hey mattiepiie? Mir’s not your mom, Chickadee’s not your kid. Free speech, yada yada….but when you write your own blog, you pretty much get to be right and have the last word. Except this time, I stole it because I didn’t want you to have it. Happy Holidays.

  19. Lori N

    Oh man, your Chickadee and my #1 could have some amazing mornings together.

    Love having a (in my case) pre-teen girl in the house — it takes me back & I get to watch those feelings and fits from the outside. It also makes me thankful my mom let me survive to reproduce.

    And Sassy Apple ==> Seconded :)

  20. Neen

    Oh boy! I have one who goes crazy at sight of suitcases . . . ‘you’re gonna LEAVE ME!’ angst flows all over the place! Boy oh boy guilt trip doggie eyes can do a number on ya! LOL

    Holiday madness nd craziness is taking place here. Not liking the antics of the rude folks I’m having to deal with as they are causing problems for ones that I love. Part of me wants to take a serious serious clue bat to their heads!! My pre-teen is doing pretty well thus far . . but I’m not looking forward to drama incidents as those don’t fly with me . . .At. All.

    And there have been drama incidents in regards to the rude folks. So, boyfriend and I have decided that the drama incidents generated by the rude folks can go take place elsewhere – they won’t be taking place in our vicinity over the next couple of weeks unless they decide to put their heads on straight and step up to becoming nice well-behaved adults rather than the temper tantrum childish antics that have been displayed in recent days.

    @ Sassy Apple – I third your comment!!

  21. Heather

    Loving your first two comments, bahahah.

    My middle underling (male, 8 y/o) displays behaviors of your oldest, and it scares the bejeebus out of me that I have such a drama king – it’s like, new territory for me. My daughter, 10.75 going on 18, also has these tendencies, which is expected, but DAMN, I get tired of it from them. I find myself saying things like #3.) all the freaking time.

    Hang in there – and enjoy the respite.

  22. The Other Leanne

    Uh, mattiepie, issues much?

  23. Billie


    I’m sorry your childhood sucked. I’m also sorry that you felt the need to spew your filth all over Mir. Are you going to tell me that your entire childhood sucked JUST because you didn’t get your way even once? Somehow, I can’t believe it. I’m sure that there are a ton of differences in how your parent raised you, how Mir was raised, and how Mir is raising her own kids. Don’t generalize and say that she is ruining her kids because of one little slice of her life that you get to see. If you can’t agree with her parenting style, go write your own blog telling people how they should raise their children.

  24. JennyA

    Happy Holidays to Casa Mir, for lo, they are definitely upon us….

    (PS: One of your commenters seems to be having a bad day. Probably Licorice put her up to it as revenge for the suitcases.)

  25. Beth A.

    Mattiepie…I’m not sure (since I don’t live in the MirOtto Household), but I think the reason Chickadee’s shirt wasn’t ready is because Mir didn’t wash it. Not because Chickadee didn’t wash it. And therefore Chickadee was mad at her mom for not being her servant.

    I could be totally off base there.

    Also, Sassy Apple…love your comment!

  26. Heather Cook

    Whoa, Mattiepie…. I suspect you have moved from “I have issues” to “I have subsriptions”.

    I am sure that you read this blog with your own set of bias-glasses on so that you can judge each of Mir’s choices and say “see! she thinks she’s right, again… just like my mom!” and soothe yourself that, in fact, YOU are right. Again.

    Please go troll somewhere else. Hey, you could visit my blog. I have an ex-husband who regularly tells me what a horrible mom I am through text messages so I don’t have a blog troll of my own…

  27. Liza

    Hi Mir,

    I’m procrastinating over here and catching up when I should really be working on something else. But I wanted to chime into the chorus of “back off, mattiepie” voices to remind you that you are a fantastic parent, your underlings love you very much, and you should keep trusting the fabulous instincts that have brought you this far.

    Also, on the off chance that the wet shirt in question belongs to the underling I’ve met, I would have no fear that this will be a lifelong scaring experience causing you and said underling “not to be close” when the underlings reach adulthood.

    Mattiepie, I have a super-willful 3 year old. Wanna come by and tell me everything I’m doing wrong?

  28. Natasha

    Argh! I read mattipie’s comment and wanted to leap to your defense, but everyone else has already done it better than I could.

    Just know that I concur ;-)

  29. mamaspeak

    I skimmed the “you always have to be right” thing bc I get that too!

    It didn’t even show up as a blip on my radar bc I have a 5yo (& 8yo,) that will totally pull what you described here. The little one is the definition of willfulness and the big one started in on moody last year. What can I say, they’re overachievers. One of the things my girls have been taught is to think for themselves. That means they do their packing when we travel. I have a packing list and tell them to pull out 4 shirts (we discuss weather of where we’re going,) and then tell them to pull other items to go w/said shirts. I come check what they’ve pulled, but they make sure they’ve filled the list. If they realize they wanted to something & it’s not clean, if they pack when they’re supposed to, it can be washed. Last minute, not so much. It really only has to happen once & they seem to find the time to do it in a more timely manner. My mom thinks I’m mean & putting too much responsibly on them. But she also won’t go out w/them if their outfits “clash” (ie- striped pants, plaid sweater). I’m more of a pick your battles kinda mom. I give them a lot of leash on stuff like that. When it matters to me, I’ll remind them, that they get to choose pretty much every other day, so on this day please do me the favor of wearing something of my choosing. We get along much better then my mom & I did, bc I let them be themselves. Yeah, they’re going to end up in therapy at some point, but not for that reason.

    I admire your parenting Mir. Even the small slice of it that you allow me to glimpse. (It’s not that you always HAVE to be right. It’s just that you are. ;-) AKA – being the adult.)

  30. Anna

    I hope the kids have a great time, come home safe and happy, and you have a wonderful Christmas.

    Enough has been said about that other issue, so I won’t say anything else that hasn’t been said by a dozen others. :)

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