Turbie Mistakes

I made a terrible parenting mistake the other day.  It was the kind of thing that other parents would shake their heads at and quietly mutter “rookie mistake.”


A couple of weeks ago, Wildling came running out of the bathroom post-bath, dripping wet and carrying her towel.  Miraculously, she did not slip on the tile floor and bash her skull open.  She had decided she wanted me to dry her off, not Will, who had been the one who actually gave her the bath.  So I dried her with the bath towel and then wrapped her hair up in it like a turban.  She’s quite small, and the towel was large and heavy, so she had to steady the turban with her hand, but she just loved it, it was the greatest, funniest thing ever.  Of course that meant that every night after that, a dripping wet child, followed by her dripping wet toddler sister came running out of the bathroom looking for me so I could give her pretend hair again (because, obviously, a large bath towel is like a wig of fake hair, in Wildlingland).

So I thought I’d be a good parent and also make things easier on myself by purchasing towels that are intended to be used as hair-drying turbans.  I went to the store and found the Turbie Twist Towel.  Perfect.  They were small, lightweight, intended for hair purposes, and they came two in a box (plus I had a 20% off coupon).

I bought a package with one blue and one pink.

Parents, have you discovered my mistake yet? If you noticed there were two different colored towels in the box then yes, you noticed the mistake. But it gets worse.

I washed the towels before use, because I always do that.  Then I had a great big pile of laundry on the couch and it was almost bath time, and I was somewhat proud of myself for making the purchase, so I said “Hey Wildling, come here. Check out what I got you.” [mistake #2].  I grabbed the first Turbie Twist that I could find in the pile [mistake #3] and showed it to Wildling and put it in her hair as a demonstration.  It was the blue one [mistake #4].  Mellow, of course, came running up saying “Me too! Me too!” so I dug out the pink one [mistake #5] and gave it to her (she wouldn’t try it on).

Wildling immediately wanted the pink one.  I explained that both Turbie Twists belonged to both girls, and they could wear whichever ones they wanted and take turns or whatever.  I told her the towels were a shared resource [mistake #6].

To Wildling, this meant that she was in charge of towel distribution.  She decided on a pattern, in which she would get the pink one night and the blue the next.  Can you guess which one she wanted first? The pink, of course.

Mellow is two.  She did not understand Wildling’s planning and patterns and so all she understood was that her sister was taking away her new towel! Mama had just given her a pink towel and now someone was taking it away! The horror! This was a situation that could only be resolved through violence, mostly in the form of biting.

This was not a singular event.  The towel battle, inevitably leading to screaming and tears, takes place every other night, when Wildling uses the pink towel.

It is my fault.  I overestimated the reasoning skills and under estimated the possessiveness of children.  Also, I failed to understand the desirability of pink towels.

I’ll do better next time, I promise.


Advice for a Child’s Birthday Party

After hosting a birthday party for both Mellow and Wildling this weekend, I learned a few things:

  1. Don’t waste time baking cakes.  Kids just want mini-marshmallows. They don’t care that there is a sun and nine planets made out of a variety of delicious cakes – they’ll just eat the mini-marshmallow asteroids that you scattered around for display purposes.
  2. You can work as hard as you want to avoid artificial food coloring.  If you use one thing, just one thing, with artificial food coloring in it, that thing will be the most popular item on the table.
  3. Tang sounds like a fun beverage for a space party, since the astronauts drink it.  It’s not. Or at least, it’s less interesting than bottled water with strangely child-proof lids.
  4. If you make a pinata and expect a bunch of kids ages 2-6 to break it, maybe build some hidden weaknesses in it so that the moms don’t have to bash the crap out of it in order to get the candy (though, truth be told, hitting a pinata is a lot of fun).
  5. Why waste time on games when there is a bunk bed kids can climb on?
  6. Nobody likes gluten-free cookies. Nobody. They are expensive and gross.
  7. When your daughter tells you that she wants a space themed party and you comply, expect that the day of the party she will decide she wants to have a costume party with a wing theme instead and you will find yourself texting friends and asking that their children bring their own fairy or butterfly wings because you don’t have enough for everybody.
  8. Grown-ups don’t really like going to kids birthday parties, especially for their kids’ school friends when they don’t know the parents*.  That’s why it’s important to serve cocktails. Then everybody gets along, which is good, especially when your child goes to a small school and you know you’ll have to see these parents for the next seven years.
  9. If you have an older relative, invite them.  They are likely to worry about messes and, if you’re lucky, they kind of wander around and clean stuff up throughout the party.
  10. Relating to #9, always have trashcans accessible.  Nobody needs to have to work to figure out your child safety locks.

*Actually, I learned this a long time ago, when I first went to an interminable birthday party for one of Wildling’s classmates.  And that’s why we’ve always had something special for the adults at our parties.

Car conversations

This is the conversation in the car every single day after I pick Wildling up from school:

Song comes on the radio (probably Taylor Swift)

Wildling: I like this song.

Mellow: Me like song!

Wildling: I like this song, too.

Mellow: No! No Wi-Wi! No like this song anymore!

Wildling: I do too like this song!

Mellow: NO!!!!!! Wi-Wi no like this song ANYMORE!

Wildling: <shrieking> I can like this song too Mellow!

Mellow: <emits high pitched scream>

Wildling: <crying> Mama, she’s not letting me like this song!

Me: <gritting my teeth> You can both like this song.  You can both like any song. Lots of people like this song, that’s why they play it on the radio.

Mellow & Wildling, simultaneously: <high pitched shriek>

Mellow: No Wi-Wi like this song ANYMORE!

Wildling: She’s still not letting me like this song! Wahhhhhhhh! <dissolves into hysterical puddle of tears>

Mellow: <satisfied> Wi-wi no like this song anymore. Me like this song.

Same conversation, every damn day.

Welcome to the hopefully not-so-terrible twos

Dear Mellow,

You’ve just turned two.  You are amazing.

The last time I sat down to write you a letter, you hadn’t yet taken your first steps.  Now you run and jump and dance and climb (and hit and bite and scratch, but we won’t talk about that).  You are so fast.  Sometimes you hold your arms out behind you and run with your head down, because that’s what you think a butterfly looks like, and you want to be a butterfly.  Sometimes you put a toy or a napkin between your legs and shout “neigh!” and stumble around until it drops because you imagine yourself riding a horse.

I was worried, when you were born, that you might be overshadowed by your big sister.  She takes up so much energy and attention, but you assert yourself and make sure you get your share.  “Look me! Look me!” you call, always wanting to show us something new.  “Mama, put phone away,” you tell me when I’m distracted.  You love for us to watch you and you love to show off, spinning in circles and running fast.  You’re an artist too, and you proudly present me with your scribbles, which you always describe as a snake, a duckling, or an airplane.  That’s what those lines look like in your eyes, and, at least with the snake, you are somewhat accurate.

You and Wildling are not just sisters now, but friends as well.  Did you hear Wildling last night when I asked her who was her best friend? She immediately pointed to you.  You are the Starling to her Robin, the Orko to her Teela, and the Anna to her Elsa.  You never picked those roles (and you aren’t too happy about being Orko ; “No, Wi-wi, no, two Teelas! Both Teela!”), but you follow along because you love to play with her.  I see how you watch your sister and follow in her footsteps.  Sometimes I wish you didn’t, like when she won’t try a new food and says “blech” and you immediately push the food away, even if you’ve already eaten and enjoyed it, and  you say “blech” too.  I wish you wouldn’t listen to her when she tells you there’s a ghost in the room and it’s going to chomp you up, though technically you don’t really listen, since you’ve developed a fear of goats coming into our house to devour you.

You are fiercely independent, and that drives your papa and I crazy sometimes, but we also love it.  I love that you get into the car by yourself (except on days we’re running late, and then I am frustrated with you) and insist on buckling your own chest strap.  I love that I can tell you to go get dressed and a few minutes later you walk out of your room fully clothed.  Granted, your shirts and pants are often inside out and backwards, and sometimes I’m confused by the number of layers you’re wearing.  Fashion tip: You don’t need a diaper and panties and pants and shorts and a skirt and a dress all at the same time.  It’s a bit much.

Sometimes you smile and say “love mama,” and I don’t know if you understand what love is or if you’re just repeating something you’ve heard, but I don’t care, it makes my heart melt and I love you, too.

Happy birthday, Mellow.  You just keep getting better and better.