Thursday, March 29, 2012

Yuck! Don't Touch That!

You've seen them. Heck, you might even be one. Those super moms who whip a sanitizing wipe from their purse and clean off every inch of the grocery cart before putting their kid in the seat. Those moms who always have a travel sized bottle of hand sanitizer at every public outing. Equipped with alcohol swabs and antibacterial soap, these germ warriors battle against E. coli and conjunctivitis left on the monkey bars and door handles. I am not one of those moms and they know it. I've received "looks" from sanitary moms when I plop B into the cart without hosing it down first with gel. I know I don't come across as a "clean" mom when another mom raves about her Avent iQ24 Bottle Sanitizer unit and I interrupt her with, "Wait, you're supposed to sanitize baby bottles?!" No, folks, I am not a "sanitizer" mom. I'm not saying I don't admire sanitizer moms. It's just that I feel like I should want to be one even though I don't want to be one. How's that for parental guilt? I hate the feel and smell of hand sanitizer gel. It also doesn't help that I always forget to pack the sanitizer products I do own.

I like to clean the old school way. I am "suds" mom. I am a firm believer that a good scrubbing with soap and water will wash away those nasty little germs and bacteria monsters. Oh and I love hand washing. I love ordering my kids to wash their hands. My favorite game to play with the kids is called, When Was The Last Time You Washed Your Hands? I bet I could make that into a television game show. You would win a prize if you could accurately recall the last time you washed your hands. Alex Trebek would host it.

I know there are people who will argue that I am risking major illness by not chemically cleaning my kids' hands or communal objects they touch. In my defense, my girls get the same amount of colds, if not less, than the sanitized kids I know. If my girls were always fighting colds, I'd consider launching chemical warfare. Until then, I'll keep using my plain ol' soap.

This is not to say that I don't fear germs. I do. But only in two places. I try everything in my power to avoid these dark, dangerous, and most deadly places on earth. I fear and loathe B&B's. Bed and Breakfast? No... Bathrooms and Buffets. 


Public bathrooms are disgusting. Even before I became a mom, I hated them with a passion. I will never understand why Ladies' Rooms get so gross. Girls are not supposed to be gross. We're supposed to be clean and neat. We're supposed to be sweet and wipe the seat, if we sprinkle when we tinkle. But, there are girls who do not. Those girls who do not, ruin it for the girls who do. It's a downward spiral, really. Mess begets mess. 

Before kids, I would either "hold it" or only stop in the nice public bathrooms. After kids, especially after the kids are potty trained, the "hold it and wait for the optimal public bathroom experience" is no longer an option. When a child in the potty training stage tells you they have to go, you drop everything and go, unless you want to be the reason for clean up on aisle five. It isn't until you run into the bathroom, that you realize you've just entered a biohazard room. There's no turning back. You have made the commitment to potty train your child and "Ew! This bathroom is yucky, honey. Let's wait until we get home" ain't going to cut it. Honestly, this is when I wish I had sanitizer wipes in my purse. Or a hazmat suit. I can already hear the sanitizer moms saying, "See! I told you so." 

I know moms who plan errands around bathroom breaks. My mommy pal of two young daughters, O, admits that she would rather drive 10 minutes out of her way to shop at a store with cleaner facilities than walk a few blocks to a store with unkept facilities. Another friend of mine kept potty chairs in the back of her van, so the kids could use those instead of the public bathrooms. I make my daughters raise their hands above their heads when we enter a public bathroom. They are not allowed to touch ANYTHING while in there. I wrap the toilet seat with toilet paper, place them on the potty, use my foot to push the handle to flush, and open the door lock with more toilet paper. Even though the girls never touch anything while in the bathroom, I still make them scrub their little hands. I'd make them take a decon shower if one was available. I hate public bathrooms.


There are two reasons why I don't like buffets: One is the community serving spoon. Think of all the hands that touch the end of a serving spoon at your favorite buffet style restaurant. Now assume that over half of those hands belong to people who are not avid hand washers. Oops! Someone let the entire serving spoon slip into the cornbread casserole. That handle has more bacteria and virus bugs on it than a CDC petri dish. And now it's in the food. But that's not the scary part. Sometimes the serving spoon falls into the food and you are NOT there to witness it and therefore avoid it. The next person simply pulls the spoon out and continues to use it. Unless you are the very first person in line, you are at risk of getting dirty serving spoon food. 

Side note: Don't eat samples unless they are served in individual containers. There's no point to name names because it happens everywhere, but while walking through an upscale food place, I witnessed three children with congestion issues crowd around the sample table. One by one, they scooped a spoonful of treats into their mouths and returned the sample spoon back into the bowl of sample treats. Then seconds later, two high society ladies, deep in conversation, scooped the remainder of the sample treats into their hands using the same spoon. I wanted to say something, but I couldn't bring myself to tell those two classy ladies that they just ate booger candy. You can't really place blame on the young kids. They were simply obeying the most commonly enforced rules while eating: Don't eat with your hands! Use your silverware! Unfortunately, I don't think their parents clued them in on the exceptions to those rules. 

The other reason I don't like buffets is the fact that the sneeze guards are not low enough to block sneezes from kids. Makes you stop and think for a bit, doesn't it?

As a mother of two lovely children, I vow to you, the general public, to always assist them while in a buffet line to ensure they do not commit those two heinous infractions. Yes. Even after all my complaining about how gross they are, I'll still eat from buffets. Buffets are everywhere: Children's birthday parties at the local All You Can Eat pizza place, weddings with buffet style dinners, breakfast buffets at hotels. You never know... I could be a finalist on When Was The Last Time You Washed Your Hands?! and Alex Trebek could tell me I just won an all expense paid tropical cruise for a family of four. And everyone knows that a cruise ship is really just a giant buffet on water.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Describe Your Perfect Date

After the birth of my second daughter, B, almost three years ago, I became a full time stay at home mom. My first daughter, S, was almost four and needed an outlet for her extra energy and creativity since she was no longer in daycare during the week. I signed her up for a ballet/tap/tumble class at the local dance studio. At first, I thought it was a good opportunity for S to socialize with kids her own age. I didn't expect to meet kids my age as well. It turned out, I was really missing adult interaction. Going from a five day work week to a seven day home week left me without break room gossip and friendly chit chat by the postage machine. It took a few dance classes for me to warm up to the other moms. I was the newbie to the group. They all knew each other from past classes. It turned out, I met some pretty fascinating women who also happened to be stay at home moms. This is also where I discovered the world of belly dancing... I'll save that for another blog.

I'm pretty sure I looked forward to dance day more than S did. Not only was I able to sit around and chat with other moms who understood my current situation, I was able to get down to one kid for an hour and know that S was having a good time. Most of the moms had a kid B's age, so the B was able to "socialize," too. A few weeks went by and the "play dates" began. My daughters and I would go to another mom's house and the two sets of kids would play and we moms would eat finger foods and sip juice from boxes. We would joke about slipping some alcohol in our apple juice or talk about our wild days before our offspring entered the picture.

Nearing the end of the dance class season that spring, I wanted to seal the deal with my new group of mommy friends and earn a permanent spot in the clique. I was afraid that once class was over, we would lose touch without the weekly reminders of our existence. I decided I was going to host a play date at my house. I've never hosted one before, but I pride myself on hosting lavish parties for our adult friends. I figured I could host a pretty killer play date, too. I gave myself a week to prep for "The Best Play Date Ever Extravaganza." I invited all the moms and their kids from the dance class to my house. I cleaned every room in the house and put the nice candles in the candle warmers. I devised a beautiful Mediterranean inspired lunch spread complete with a large pitcher of sangria.* I woke up very early the day of the play date and gave the girls baths. I even showered and dried my hair. I take hosting events very seriously.

I thought my play date went very well. My mommy friends had a wonderful time sitting around the kitchen table, sipping their sangria and dipping fresh veggies into hummus. We laughed and tried to one-up each other with our crazy pre-kid life stories. I remember looking around at the moms and noticing how relaxed they were. The little children were napping in their mothers' arms while the older kids were running around and giggling in the living room. Everyone was happy and we all promised to make this a part of our monthly routine. It was perfect. One by one, the moms collected their exhausted yet happy kids and went home. I started clearing the kitchen table and snacked on the fruit at the bottom of the sangria pitcher. It wasn't until I walked out of the kitchen, that I realized I committed the ultimate rookie error of Play Dates 101. I forgot that I invited a big group of kids into my house.

Merriam-Webster defines play date as a play session for small children arranged in advance by their parents. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Just picture it: a bunch of moms sitting around with cups of tea and cucumber sandwiches catching each other up on current events or neighborhood gossip, while the tots quietly entertain themselves. Wouldn't that be nice? Dream on, sister. No matter what we say, play dates are not for the children. Play dates are for the moms. Moms plan play dates with the intention to distract their lovely children for an hour or two so they communicate with other adults... adults who are potty trained, eat without assistance, can share with others and won't pull another adult's ponytail. Unfortunately, most play dates I've attended involved resolving arguments between little girls about who gets to wear the Cinderrella dress and who can be the mommy when playing house. The moms are goalies, kicking the kids back into the playroom so we can finish comparing birth stories and where one can find the best deals on diapers. No matter how much I pleaded with S to play nicely with the other kids and reminded her that these kids are, in fact, her friends, my meaningful conversations about potty training would be interrupted because of playroom disagreements. I should have known something was wrong when my play date was fight-free.

My house was wrecked. It looked like a bomb went off. Play clothes, naked Barbies, crayons, stickers, puzzle pieces, along with other small toys, were thrown all over the floor in multiple rooms. One child had discovered the candle warmer I had so foolishly placed on a low shelf and drizzled wax all over the carpet and couch. There I was, tipsy off of sangria fruit, staring at the biggest mess I have ever seen. Then my husband walked through the door. I liken that moment to the moment when a teenager realizes exactly how much destruction was caused by her just-a-few-friends-over-for-pizza-turned-house-party as her parents walk through the door from their vacation a day early.

The hub: "Whoa, what happened here?"
Me: "Oh... just a little play date."

I learned a lot that day. I learned that it is pointless to clean your house if you invite other kids over. I learned that you can't take your eyes off of not only your kids, but the other kids, even for a second. Apple slices and juice boxes are totally acceptable sustenance for moms and kids alike. Showers are optional and probably best saved for after the play date. If the kids are not arguing, it's probably because they are building a toy bomb in the next room. Kids don't argue when they are conspiring against you. No matter how neat and organized the kids are with their toys in their home, they will not be neat and organized in your home. I learned you can get a good buzz from eating fruit soaked in wine.

It was completely and totally my fault for the destruction of my home. I had no idea what I was doing. I wanted to be the coolest mom in the group. I thought I could handle it all. I was naive and believed that I could embody the cool mom image with the stay at home mom stereotype. I knew we didn't eat bon-bons and vacuumed in heels while our tidy little angels played sweetly on the floor but, for some crazy reason, I wanted to convince the other moms that I did. I insisted that the other moms relaxed and enjoy themselves while I played a hip June Cleaver. I tried so hard to be June Cleaver that even if I was aware of the mess before any of the moms left, I would have never allowed them to help clean up. My party, my mess!

I was able to clean up that evening after my buzz wore off. In case you are wondering, you can remove wax from carpet and upholstery by running a warm iron over a brown paper bag covering the spot. I've been to and have had few play dates since then but I resolved never to host a "The Best Play Date Ever Extravaganza" again. It's just too much work. Besides, my mommy friends like me because I'm like them... just some moms who need some good company and assurance that they'll be fine. However, I'm pretty sure I did host the best play date ever, so in that aspect, I won.

And sangria is reserved for girls nights out.

*Best sangria recipe EVER:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Metaphorical Face-plants

Due to the road construction around our area, the school buses had to make changes to the morning and afternoon routes. I received a convoluted revised schedule with handwritten changes last week from the bus driver. I looked over that schedule many times and I finally figured out that our stop is now toward the beginning of the route, rather than the end. The bus would come from the other entrance of the neighborhood, which meant we lost our hilltop advantage. This change to my morning routine made me nervous and I thought about it all weekend. I know it is not that big of a change but we were spoiled. The old route was good for us. S and I would sit at the kitchen table and watch for the bus in the morning. We had from the time the bus appeared at the bottom of the hill and one other stop before she had to get to the end of our property. She didn't have to cross in front of the bus. I loved the curbside pick-up. Now, the bus comes around the corner in the opposite direction and she has to cross the street. Again, not a big deal, but it's not as nice as the old way.

I am also paranoid about missing the bus. I really don't want to drive S to school with B and my godson, LC in tow. I try to avoid wrangling kids into car seats until after my morning coffee. Plus, I've never dropped S off at school in the morning and I didn't want to start today. I decided to skip packing a lunch and told S to buy her lunch instead. (I load her lunch card for those days when I am too spent to make a lunch or if we ever sleep in. I'm proud to say, she doesn't use it often.) After all that worry, the bus arrived only 4 minutes early and S was off to school like any other day. Unfortunately, while I was so concerned about the bus route, I completely forgot to pack S's morning snack. Doh!

Even Spider-Man has school bus issues.
Photo credit -

That was just the beginning. All morning, I made dumb little mistakes. I was talking to B and failed to notice I was pouring coffee onto the counter, rather than into my mug. While adjusting the bark collar on our Doberman, I put my face too close to his neck and got a nose full of citronella spray when he barked at the squirrel taunting him from outside. (He is such a cliche when it comes to squirrels.) I didn't tighten LC's sippy cup lid and I dumped milk all over the floor. It was a comedy of errors and I was the star of the show. On their own, each fumble was insignificant. Put them all together and I was feeling pretty bad about my day.

I decided that the day was lost and I was not going to try to be the boss anymore. I was going to let things fall apart. I was going to ignore the urge to redeem myself. Just call it a day, Terese, you can't win. You're only going to make it worse. Sometimes, you just have to resign to the fact that you psyched yourself out before the race, the gun went off, and you face-planted at the starting line. It's okay. [Fecal matter] happens. Just because you feel like you can't win, doesn't mean you totally lost. What makes a bad day worse is when you beat yourself up about it. We all know that. My mom quoted my mantra back to me this morning, "You'll be fine. I promise." She's right. I'm right. No matter what happens, I'll be fine. You'll be fine. It will all work out. Or it won't. It doesn't matter. The little fumbles in your day will not destroy you. They will not destroy me, either. It doesn't mean you have to be sunshine and sparkles about it. It's okay to mope and complain a little. Just don't let the moping and complaining become a regular thing. It will make you feel that you are not as awesome as you really are. Losing sight of your awesomeness is worse than citronella spray up the nose, believe me.

So, after I got my complaining and moping out of the way, I decided that I wasn't going to give up the race and at least finish the damn thing. I reminded myself of all my little blessings. (I highly recommend counting your blessings. I woke up today should be one. My children woke up today should be another.) I had a nice chat with my hub while he was driving back to work from his lunch break. S's teacher sent an email telling me not to worry about snack: She had some spare goldfish crackers and that I was not the only mommy to forget a snack today. I made myself a nice cup of tea and pretended to be a dinosaur with the kids. B and LC were getting cranky and I challenged myself to get them both down for a nap. Guess what? I did it. I got little L "I don't EVER take naps" C down in 5 minutes. He's still out. B followed right behind him. I suddenly don't feel like I lost the race anymore. I am still awesome. You are still awesome, too.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

How to Defuse a Bomb

Pop quiz, hot shot. You're in the grocery store with two energetic kids aged three and under, with a long shopping list and a hand full of coupons. What do you do? What do you do?

Yesterday, I ventured out with B and my godson, LC. I am his nanny for the next 6 weeks. I've never been out anywhere alone with him, so I had no idea what I was getting into when I decided to go grocery shopping. B is hit or miss on outings. I spent most of the morning composing my shopping list and clipping coupons. Once I had everything in order, I strapped the kids into their car seats and headed down the road. Our first stop was the new farmer's market next to my neighborhood. The only issue I encountered there was that they did not have shopping carts with double seats. I put LC in the cart in case he was the type to run off in the store. B is good about staying by my side, but she decided that I needed to carry her the entire time we were there. The farmer's market was very uneventful, so we proceeded to the local grocery store for my dry goods. This was not my best idea ever. Half way through the shopping trip, the kids decided that they had been out long enough.

I bet you're expecting some crazy list of events consisting of kids screaming, running around the aisles, shelves crashing down like dominoes, and a police escort out of the store. Well, none of that happened. I strolled out of the store with a full cart and two kids intact. I was tired. I was on edge. I needed hard liquor and a soft blanket, but then again, that's pretty much my normal state of being. "Why," you ask, "were you so tense, Terese? The kids did nothing wrong." I was tense because, while I was shopping, I also successfully defused two bombs.

Everything I learned about taking my kids out in public, I learned by watching Speed. That's right. I'm talking about that awesomely bad movie from 1994, staring Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Jeff Daniels and the up and coming actress, Sandra Bullock. This is where you ask, "But, how can a blockbuster action movie involving a bus, a bomb and bad acting compare to parenting?" I'm glad you asked. Speed addresses four rules to follow for a tantrum-free outing. I have broken down these rules for you.

Know your bomb:

In the movie, bomb expert, Detective Harry Temple (Jeff Daniels) is the go-to guy when Officer Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) needs to know how to defuse a bomb. Harry knows which wire to cut, what kind of explosives are used to make the bomb, and the classic decoys a bomber will use to throw off anyone attempting to defuse the bomb. I don't care who you are, if you have a kid, you have a bomb on your hands. You must know your bomb. Every kid is wired to explode into a tantrum at any given time. Some kids blow up easier than others. Some are on a timer (around nap time or lunch time) and some detonate by use of a trigger (over stimulation, new environment, other people, or the word "no"). Kids, like bombs, vary in make, model, and level of blast intensity. You might have a hand grenade kid or a nuclear bomb kid. The only difference between a kid and a bomb is that a bomb can only go off once whereas a kid can explode multiple times a day. Be like Harry and do your research. If you know what you are working with, you will know how to defuse it.

Don't go below 50 mph:

The villain, Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper), rigs a bomb to a Los Angeles city bus after his previous attempt to blow up an elevator full of hostages fails. The bomb is armed once the bus reaches the speed of 50 mph. Once the bomb is armed, if the bus slows down past 50 mph, the bomb will explode. When you are running errands with your kids in tow, be quick and don't slow down. Once you enter the store, the kids are armed. This is not the time to price compare or watch product demos. Do not read the list of ingredients on the back of the cereal box. Do not mull over the selection of moisturizing shampoo or cough syrup. Know what you want to buy before you leave the house. If you want to compare ingredients of one brand to another, look up the products on the internet before you go shopping.  Know your route. Write down the items you plan to buy on your list so it flows with the layout of the store. That way you can start on one end of the store and work your way to the other end. Unfortunately, this is not a fool proof plan. One end of an aisle might be crowded with other shoppers or blocked off for restocking. If this happens, don't be afraid to step on the gas and jump the bridge. If Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock) can successfully jump a bus over a 50 ft span of unfinished bridge only going 70 mph, you can maneuver around the Coca Cola delivery guy and his huge pallet of Diet Coke.

Be creative if you are running out of time:

Jack hooked an elevator to a crane which prevented it from crashing to the bottom floor before he could remove the hostages. He shot Harry in the leg when Howard took him hostage, thus taking him out of the hostage equation. After discovering the hidden camera on the bus that allowed Howard to watch the passengers as they sped down the highway, Jack aired a recorded video loop over the feed so Howard would not know the passengers were being transported off the bus. Sometimes you have be creative and think on your toes to buy more time. I try to bring little things that will distract the kids if they start getting antsy, but there times I underestimate their hunger level or attention span. In those situations, I will open a box of Goldfish crackers or raisins from my cart and let them snack while I shop. (Even if the kids eat the entire contents of the box, pay for the food. Also, don't do this with anything that is sold by weight like fresh fruit. You're stealing if you do.) I'll also pull a coloring book off the shelf and let B color in it. Of course, you also have to buy the coloring book. It's important not to do this on every trip because you run the risk of the kids expecting to get snacks or a toy every time they go into the store. Then you are dealing with a "Howard" who expects to get his ransom and will threaten to blow up every time.

Move away from tourists:

This is not so much a way to defuse the bomb, but a way to keep on task. Allen Ruck (also known as Cameron Frye from Ferris Bueller's Day Off) played the annoying tourist, Stephens, on the bus. He was friendly and meant no harm, but I have a feeling the passengers would have been happier while speeding to their deaths, had he not been there. When you are out with your adorable bundle of C4, sweet but clueless strangers will try to stop you and strike up a conversation about your kid. You can't blame them, really: Your kid is awesome and the world should acknowledge that fact. But now is not the time. You have to get your errands done before the timer runs out or you will be forced to decide whether to cut the blue wire or the red wire. The last thing you need is a distraction. The best course of action is to pull an Annie:

Stephens: First time in LA. 
Annie: Oh no, I live here. 
Stephens: No, mine. Oh that's just funny, you heard me wrong. Nah, I'm sightseeing. 
Annie: Oh, really? 
Stephens: Yeah. I hate to use the word 'tourist' but it's not like I can hide it... 
Annie: Not really. 
Stephens: [sigh] Did you know it took me three hours to get here from the airport? I got so lost. LA's one big place, but I guess you don't notice, seeing as you live here. I'm such a yokel, there I said it! 
Annie: Oh jeez. You know what? I got gum on my seat, GUM! 

If Anne did not move away from Stephens, she would not have been close enough to grab the wheel when the bus driver was shot. The whole movie would have been over right there. Think of some excuse to keep moving. You are on a mission and will need to act fast if a tantrum starts. You can use my lines: "I'm sorry, her diaper is at full capacity and I need to change her." Or you can say, "Oh jeez. Look at that snot coming out of his nose. I hope it's not contagious." You're not being rude. You're preventing this tourist from becoming collateral damage.

It is important to remember that sometimes the bomb blows up no matter how hard you try to prevent it. You don't always save the day and get to make out with Sandra Bullock. Don't get upset. Accept the medal and the cheap gold watch and move on. Get out of the store as quickly as possible, go home, relax, and rent a movie. I recommend Speed. It might not make you a better parent, but it's a cheesy yet exciting movie that will help you forget about your disaster of a day. Plus, Keanu Reeves is hot.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Love and Marriage and a Baby Carriage? I'll pass.

My daughter, S, slept in our bed until I was about eight months pregnant (roughly the size of a beluga whale) with my second daughter, B. We eventually persuaded her to move into her own bed which was wedged between my side of the bed and the wall. She would start off in her bed every night, but would crawl in between us in the middle of the night. One night, S declared that she would no longer sleep in our room and promptly moved into her own bedroom with her own bed.  Since then, she refuses to sleep in our bed with us, even when she has a nightmare. We couldn't figure out why she went cold turkey on the co-sleeping, but the hub and I were happy to get our bed back.

Now, fast forward about six months later...

One afternoon, while B was napping, S and I were flipping through my wedding album. I told her all about my wedding day. I described how sweet the flowers smelled on that hot summer's day. I told her the flavor of each tier of our wedding cake. I explained all the little traditions performed throughout the ceremony and the reception. I pointed out who was in each picture:

"That's my family from Chicago and Florida."
"That's your daddy's uncle and cousins from Boston." 
"That was mommy and daddy's first dance."
"That's Pops giving a wedding toast."
"Look at how pretty Aunt J and Aunt D look in their bridesmaids' dresses."
"I don't know who that guy wearing the American Flag necktie was, but I'm pretty sure he had a great time."

S said I looked like Cinderella and daddy looked like Prince Charming. After we turned the last page of the album, she flipped back to the first page and looked at all the pictures again. It was one of those moments that I dreamt about when I discovered I was having a baby girl. I pictured myself showing off a younger me in my perfect wedding dress with my hair perfectly styled telling the story of the day I married her daddy. And then, she said something that I had hoped she would say:

"I wish I had a dress like your wedding dress, Mommy."

Fantastic! It WAS a good idea to preserve my wedding dress. 

Me: "Well honey, I still have my dress. It's in a box in the closet. When you get married, you can wear it."
S: "Nah, that's ok. I'm not getting married. (pause) Or having kids either."

Record stopped.

Me: "You're not ever going to get married?"
S: "Nope. B can get married and have kids if she wants to, but I'm not."

Really? You already know you're not going to get married? You're four! Well, that's very progressive and independent of you. In fact, I think that's awesome. You don't have to get married. You can do whatever you want, my lovely daughter. You are only four years old. Why should you feel the need to play into the social norm that a little girl should want to be a bride or a mommy someday? It's not in your scope. You should focus on what you want to be when you grow up. You should focus on becoming an artist. That's what you always say you want to be... that or a rock n' roll chick. Wow! We are so different. When I was four, I'm pretty sure I told my mom that I was going to marry my dad when I grew up. I loved pretending to be a mommy to my dolls. But, you my love, you are different and I am proud that you are not all caught up in the Disney Princess life plan. You will be an artist, painting somewhere in Paris, living a fabulous life. I'll go to your art shows and brag about you to all my friends. Baby, I'm impressed. Good on you!

Still... why not? I'm just curious. Usually little girls your age are pretending to walk down the aisle and exchange their vows with their imaginary fiance. I wonder why you are so certain that you will never meet someone, fall in love,and  make it official. Gasp! Wait. Am I responsible for this decision that you made so early in your life? Did I do something to make you think that being a wife and a mother is not something you would ever consider? I bet I scared you off the whole idea. I know I'm not the ultimate soccer mom or Betty Crocker in the kitchen. I know I am grumpy in the morning before my coffee. When I get upset with you, your sister and your dad, you do realize that I'm just kidding about eating your faces off, right? I live in my pj's. I know it's not glamorous, but it's comfortable. I make sure I wear nice pj's. I do dress up from time to time. I probably shouldn't complain about cleaning toilets or folding laundry as much as I do. It's not THAT bad. It would be better if we had a maid, but it's really not that bad. Do you think I'm bored? Do you think I'm boring?! Do you think my life is not fun and exciting? Oh, but it is! It is fun and exciting in a simple, family, homebody way. Your dad and I are best friends. We always have so much fun together and we love each other very much. I can't imagine my life without him or you or your sister. Please tell me you came up with this decision all on your own and that you have a plan and I didn't do anything to repel you from the married / mothering life style.

NO! This is silly talk. I'm thinking way too much into this. It doesn't matter why you don't want to ever get married or have kids. It's your life. I only request that you do what makes you happy. Married or not, mother or not, I know you will do just that. You are a strong-willed girl and no one can convince you to do anything you don't want to do. So, ok. You don't want to get married or have kids. I'm more than ok with that.  Besides, you're only four and you have plenty of time before any of this even matters. I mean, your father and I have already said you won't be able to date until you're 30 anyway, so why am I even thinking about this?! But, if you ever change your mind about marriage, I would like to be there to witness it. You can wear my dress. I also wouldn't mind being a grandmother in about 35 years or so. Not that I'm placing any pressure on you. 

Oh hell, I've got to know...

Me:  "Why don't you want to get married someday, honey?"
S: "Because husbands fart in bed."

Ah ha! That explains why you don't sleep in our bed anymore! 

S does not like dutch ovens.