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Monday, January 23, 2012

Motherhood Mondays: My parents' two tricks

My third story about parenting moments actually features my parents. They did two little things I always liked...

My dad used to say everything was an "adventure." He'd be going to the grocery store, for example, and he'd ask us, "Want to go on an adventure?" We pile into the car, excited to try some cheese samples and listen to the radio while driving. That one word made everything feel thrilling.

Also, as twins, my sister and I often had to share candy (especially Skor bars, our favorite). But it was hard for us. "She got the bigger piece!" we would both protest. My parents' solution, whenever we had to share food, was to let one sister break the bar in half and the other choose the piece. That way, you broke it evenly and were always satisfied with your piece. Problem solved.

What little things do you remember fondly about your parents during your childhood? Did your parents do the same sharing thing? (I think it might be a classic parent move:) Parenthood is so much about the little things; it keeps you on your feet. Big high five to all you parents--and siblings, babysitters, aunts, uncles, grandparents and caretakers--out there. xoxo
P.S. More childhood photos, and babies in Paris.

128 comments:

The Egg said...

you were the cutest!

xoxo the egg out west.

Anna said...

ok that candy bar trick is so simple YET SO BRILLIANT. what a clever mama you have!
xoxo

Punk Rock Mom said...

I have always tried to make everything an adventure for my daughter. We even developed her own blog where she posts videos of her "adventures" www.phiseyes.blogspot.com!

C Fierce said...

I am one of four kids, and whenever we went on hikes or nature walks, inevitably we'd get tired and cranky and whiny. Just like your dad used "adventure" as a ploy, our parents would "grade" us on how brave of a hiker we each were. It tricked us into composing ourselves and being "brave" -- who could be the Bravest Little Hiker.

In fact I still call my sister The Brave Little Hiker, all the time. I'm totally going to be using this on my own children someday, too!

Emily said...

My mother, raising two extremely talkative daughters, had a few car games up her sleeve. One was to play, who can make their lifesaver last the longest? To do so meant holding it between your teeth and not speaking. The other was to play Quaker Meeting where we were encouraged only to speak if we had something profound to say. I love the candy bar trick. Super smart!

Dancing Branflake said...

Adorable! I can tell who you are because of those awesome Joanna lips. All my childhood memories revolved around food. Go figure.

Meggie said...

Something I liked that my parents did (especially now that I'm a parent!) is we did a "big" birthday party only every other year. Worked especially well once my sister came along, so they only had to throw a "big" party once a year. We're adopting this same idea for my son's parties - it's kind of nice to have the pressure off some years!

Emily said...

My parents solved the argument for the front seat of the car by allowing me on even days and my sister on odd days. There was no negotiating and they figured it all evened out in the end.

teeny84 said...

Oh my goodness Toby looks JUST like you. Adorable!

rachel renner said...

Aw! I love the photo.

Eleanor said...

I love this. I also frequently use the word adventure to talk about seemingly mundane tasks. My little one year old doesn't understand it just yet, but even for me, it makes things a little more enjoyable. :)

Hilary Nicole said...

Your son looks just as you did when you were a baby. Adorable!

XX Hilary

★ JASMINE ★ said...

most sweetest photos EVER.....


AWwwwww......

*BARBIE-BOMBSHELL.BLOGSPOT.COM

Jennifer said...

My parents definitely took advantage of the candy bar trick:)
~Jennifer

Giulia said...

What did you do to Lucy, Joanna? (In the photo:)

The candy bar trick is clever, indeed.

nicole said...

My sister and I are only 13 months apart, so we grew up like twins. Our biggest arguments were over privileges. For example, if my mom had to run an errand and bring us girls along, we would argue over who got to sit in the front seat of the car. My mom's resolution? It would depend on the calendar date, and whether it was an even- or odd-numbered day. Since I was born on the 26th, I got to ride in the front seat of the car on EVEN-numbered days; my sister was born on the 15th, so she got to ride in the front seat on ODD-numbered days. Who knew riding "shotgun" was such a big deal?! haha. xo.

nicole said...

@Emily - I just read that YOU did the same thing in your family, too funny! xo.

Anna (A Newfound Treasure) said...

I've heard that dividing rule from a few friends. Works every time! :)

Anna
http://www.anewfoundtreasure.com

Lili said...

The chocolate bar trick is genius! :-)

jacquelyn | lark&linen said...

my parents did the same thing with the sharing of the candy! Much to my dismay at the time, it definitely makes sense and I will absolutely do this with my future children!

Stacey said...

Oh that's a really good trick! My parents just made us rotate bites of things.

Ana said...

My parents always taught me and my brothers that when having lunch/dinner in other people's houses we could never say we didn't like something. We could say it wasn't our favorite thing, so we didn't want so much of it, but we'd always have to politely eat everything. At home, the trick was another one. When hearing the typical 'I don't like that' my dad would say 'you never had this, you can't say you don't like without trying'... when this failed, as in when we figured out we knew what it was he'd make up something like 'no, this is not a sardine, this is a special fish called anchovy' and we'd eat it... ahaha

Kelsey said...

So that my sister and I wouldn't fight over "who got the front seat" in the car it was established that I had even days and she had odd days (based on the date). I still feel partial to even numbers today!

Sandra Gale said...

My sister and I did the exact same thing with sharing. We also went on adventures, but ours were weekend day trips, when Mum and Dad would tell us to get out of bed and get ready to go on an adventure. We would go for a drive somewhere and it was always awesome.

Lindsay said...

On Saturday mornings my parents would always let my brother and I pile into their bed and watch the Adventures of Winnie the Pooh while they read the paper, then we would have the "Saturday Morning Fun Bunch" which was usually a trip to the beach, a museum, or somewhere we hadn't been before. As children we didn't really appreciate it, but now as an adult I am really enjoying remembering those places and returning to them with more appreciative eyes.

stephanie said...

Toby looks like you :)

Lindsay said...

OH! I forgot the best trick. Because we would often fight in the backseat they decided that I would get even months in the front seat and my brother would have odds. It was perfect because my birthday is in June and his July so we always got our birthdays. And I think my dad really preferred to ride in the back and chill so he was never upset about losing the front seat.

Ashley said...

My dad's punishment for me and my two sisters was to make us sit in front of the tv holding hands while he watched bass fishing on tv. Threatening that was worse than a time out or spanking for sure!

Rachel said...

Whenever we were in the car going somewhere and we asked "where are we going?" my parents would say "Crazy!" It was cute when I was little, but got a little aggravating as I got older! But now I look back on it and laugh.

Anonymous said...

About the sharing principle: In Dutch there is a saying for this: 'It's dividing or choosing'. I think we use it when in English you use: 'You can't have the cake and eat it'. Only a few years ago I realised the literal meaning of the saying...

Nick Goddard said...

Emily and Kelsey, you guys are getting screwed with the even days. There are seven months that end with odd days (eight during leap years). Your siblings got seven extra days a year in the front seat.

HiLLjO said...

Love it... "adventure." I'm sure this will work when I have my husband's son. Hubs is an adventurer.

LaurenHubbard said...

If my sister and/or I started screaming about not sharing or stealing something from the other one my mom would yell out "Possession is nine-tenths of the law" Whichever one of us was holding the item at that moment, that person got it. We never argued about it after, we might have been too confused! But it worked!

Kathleen said...

Such cute photos! One of my mom's more effective tricks in grade school was replying to whines of "I'm bored!" with "Well, if you're that bored, you can always clean the toilet." Not surprisingly, we always figured out something to do.

leigh said...

my mother would let me pick out a new fruit or vegetable that we hadn't tried yet at the store in order to make sure i wasn't shy to try new foods.

Anabel said...

My younger brother and I used to pick at each other mercilessly and so my father posted a huge sign on the fridge that said, "No hurting with the intent to hurt or tease," and the list of punishments. He also came up with funny things for us to memorize like when we went to dinner at friends he taught us to say, "No thank you, I've had a great sufficiency, more would be a superfluity, my collateral qualities have been exquisitely cadilified and I have supped to abundance." when we were finished with a meal. You should have seen the way the parents looked at us... too funny.

glitterpaintpony said...

If my younger brother and I were arguing my dad would sit us down at the kitchen table across from one another. We weren't allowed to leave the table until we had written a poem about why love each other. We'd start off pouting, but it always ended in giggles and a very silly brother-sister poem which was fun for the whole family. I really don't have any memories of time outs because we always resolved things by being creative and working together.

Also, my grandma had a trick for crying. If my mom was crying (not hurt, but just sad) she would grab her hand and make her run. It feels weird to cry and run at the same time, so you usually end up laughing. My mom did this for us too. Even now if I'm upset she'll offer to grab my hand and run, which makes me laugh every time.

Virginia said...

Haha my mom used to do the same thing with splitting anything!! She actually still does it, and I do it amongst my friends. It eases the tension of sharing every time! And oh yeah, skor bars are the best!

Anonymous said...

My mother used to make us take the smallest slice of cake/ cookie on a plate when we had a guest and also when we WERE the guest - seemed most unfair to me. I like the idea that one breaks in half and the other chooses if they are sharing one item. These photographs are amazing!

Tragic Sandwich said...

Oh, I do the same thing your dad did! No matter what we're about to do, I tell Baguette we're going to have an adventure. I want her to see that life is full of possibility and excitement, and this is the method I'm using right now.

As for what my parents did--my mom used to take us out of school for cultural events, and sometimes for travel. She was a big believer in school, but she always said that it was only one way to learn. The result is that I like to say that I was both public-schooled and home-schooled.

Callie Glorioso-Mays said...

Love it! My mom did the exact same splitting trick. I never really thought about what a good idea it was until teaching kids and I used it in front of my co-teacher. She was so impressed that I realized it really was a brillant idea! :)

Natasha and Jesse said...

It's funny because my parents did the same thing with sharing food. One cut/broke the other chose. I wonder how parents learn all these tricks? It almost seems to be universal...

I love the picture too!

Rachael said...

We definitely did the same sharing thing! I still do it when I split something with my boyfriend.

My favorite trick my parents had was to let me and my brother each choose "odd" or "even" days as our own. The person whose "day" it was would get to choose their seat in the car and who did the dishes and other chores. We never complained because it was perfectly fair! Until I realized that there were more odd days in a year, of course, but I got over that quickly. Can you imagine siblings not fighting over chores or shotgun? And to this day, my brother and I are super close!

Alexa said...

Love the candy bar trick! I'll have to remember that one :)

I was an only child until I was ten, so I never had siblings to bicker with. I was always envious of my friends from bigger families (and sometimes still am!).

Rachel said...

Your childhood pictures are so pretty. Skor bars are my favorite too. Whenever we would go on ski trips my Dad would pretend our car was a spaceship about to take off and do a special check before we launched. "Seatbelts on? Check....Mittens? Check? Tunafish sandwiches? Check...fanny packs (the nineties)?....check." AND then he would turn Meatloaf on really loud and we'd drive up the mountain.

Stacy said...

When I was a kid my mom and I used to play "The Dressing Game" every morning. We'd lay our clothes out side by side on the bed and at the count of 3, we had to get dressed as fast as we could. Whoever finished first was crowned the champion for the day. It would always end with us collapsing in a heap from laughter-- but fully dressed and ready to go off to school/work. I looked forward to that game every morning for years!
About a year ago my mom and I were reminiscing about old times and I said, "Remember that dressing game we used to play when I was a kid? That was fun." She just looked at me and raised her eyebrow. I'm slightly ashamed to admit that it wasn't until that very moment (I'm 29) that it dawned on me that it was all a trick. I apparently hated waking up in the mornings and took forever getting dressed so that was her way around it-- to turn it into a game. Brilliant! I'll def be using that one when I have my own kids :)

Rachael said...

Oh, I see other people did the odd and even days as well! Awesome.

My parents also had a cool trick for time outs when we got in trouble--we had to sit in the bathroom, where there were no distractions (because if you're surrounded by your stuff, it's not really a time out, is it?) for the same amount of minutes that we were years old. So when we were five, we had five minute time outs, which felt like an eternity, and by the time we were fifteen, the fifteen minute time outs still sucked! A five minute time out at fifteen would have been nothing, so this kept us from breaking rules all that often.

Also, my boyfriend and I do the adventure thing and we don't even have a kid. It never stops working!

Meg said...

my dad was all over both of those tricks! but he took the "adventure" thing one step farther... often when he had a lot of work to do on the weekends (he's a lawyer, and when we were younger my mom, a nurse, worked on weekends while he watched us) he would design adventures for us around the neighborhood or the backyard, usually in the form of treasure maps. It would take him about 5 minutes to put together a crazy complicated treasure map which would take us hours to solve! at the end there was always a treat and we'd enlist our friends to come help us find it. We had hours of enjoyment, and he was able to get his work done without hearing "i'm bored!" every 15 minutes. oh and also, he used to make up epic bedtime stories for us from scratch, and he'd often have puppet shows instead of plain old stories! my dad was a genius.

Chrissie's Ribbons said...

Such lovely ideas... I will have to store these little nuggets of wisdom up for when my two little ones are old enough!

LittleMissL said...

My parents used to do that breaking thing too, but they also did a variation of it - if you didn't want to finish something on your plate you would get the option or either cut it in half or choose which half you'd eat. It seemed to work as far as I can remember.

My father also used to create limericks up about anything & everything, including about my grandpa being poorly & dying. Hmmmm but I love my memories. Most of them.

Happy Monday. x

Rachel Elizabeth said...

My mom always presents each thing her children do as a choice (e.g. "You can choose to listen to mommy or you can choose to to sit on the chair for ten minutes" or "You can choose to share your toy or you can choose to stop playing"). In this way, she is never raising her voice or becoming negative, but she is also not compromising her position of leadership. She acknowledges that there is an option, but one option often contains a consequence.

Anna said...

yes!! we did that sharing thing. But it then begs the questions: were you the breaker or the decider? i personally preferred to be the decider, how about you?

The Closet Intellectual said...

When my children were younger, we were always making memories. Everything we did we would try to make it memorable-- generally by being relatively silly-- but it always worked. We'd turn grocery trips into scavenger hunts, or driving to school into sing-a-longs. Now that they are all teenagers, we have had countless dinners were we sat at the the table for hours "remember when-ning" the evening away!

http://aclosetintellectual.blogspot.com/

Randi said...

When we were really little and wouldn't stop fighting, my Mom would threaten to make my brother and I kiss and make up (literally.) There was nothing more gross than having to kiss your brother! Worked like a charm!

Kate said...

When my dad was upset with me he would say "you'd better quit that or I'm going to send you to France!" so I basically thought France was hell.

Years later he actually did send me to France when I studied abroad in college and we still get a lot of laughs about his (I know now) joking threats to me!

Spokesgirl said...

"I cut, you pick," was a frequent saying with my older brother and me.

One time my brother and I were fighting and my mom made us sit on chairs facing each other and touch noses. It took about 2 minutes before we were both laughing hysterically and forgotten why we were mad at each other.

If only we could do this with adults! Imaginative alternative dispute resolution. Ha.

Tara Galuska said...

I am so stealing that candy trick!

Miss Becca said...

My mom did the sharing/dividing trick too - it works like a charm. I think she got it from a wonderful old children's book called "Winkle, Twinkle and Lollypop" which I loved as a child. It has really beautiful illlustrations and I recommend it highly though it is getting really hard to find.

Karen Travels said...

I had a world map on my wall (from National Geographic) and while my dad was watching TV or doing office work he would give me a state, country or city to find on the map. Kept me busy for a while, until I got really good at geography. Of course, he was expected to get up and come see the map to see if I was right!!

artsdevivre said...

We had to split and then pick, too. genius :)

mr & mrs guevara said...

I am one of four girls and my parents used both of these tricks. I think my parents favorite trick was the silent game. We took lots of road trips growing up and with four girls things could get a bit crazy. They would see who could stay quite the longest and the winner got $1 to spend at the next road side stop. We would be silent for SO long. haha. I can't wait to have my own children one day so I can pass down those little traditions and make up my own.

LeeLee said...

Aw, love the chocolate bar trick. Brilliant!

Julia said...

My mother didn't want us to use real cursewords...so she invented her own and convinced us that a "boop-ee-doo" was an actual bad name to call someone. It obviously didn't solve the problem of my brother and I calling each other names but, at least in public, she didn't get scornful looks from other parents. Just confused looks! Haha!

Melanie said...

My mom did the candy bar trick with my sisters and I...I keep trying to figure a way to really make that work around here, but with 3 girls its a bit trickier! :)

Lauren said...

When my sister and I were 3 and 4, and we didn't want to take baths, she would tell us to get in the tub and sit back to back. She'd give us clues about where to wash next until the bath was done, like, "this is where pirates keep their treasure!" And we'd wash our chests.

Anyasr said...

My dad made my brother and I think he was a magician and he worked for a circus! LOL... He could "guess" what we ate every night and we totally bought whatever he said! (he usually arrived home after we had dinner)

Also when we were teenagers he had to have lung surgery to remove a tumor and he made my cousins (8,6 and 4 yrs old) think he was bitten by a shark while surfin'.... it was hilarious to see their eyes open wide and pay attention to uncle Jose' shark stories.... hah

Kelsey said...

@Nick Goddard - dang! you're right. I'm calling my mother right now.

I also remembered that when we were going home from the grocery store, etc. my mom would go a different way home and call it "the secret way". We still use that phrase all the time in my family just to mean taking a different/interesting way to a destination.

YellowRose said...

I love this conversation - I aw the oldest of 3younger sisters and everytime we fought or had a falling out - no matter whose fault it was my dad would make us each say sorry to each other And then he would FORCE us to hug each other and if that wasn't enough he would make each sister KISS the other one - I remember we used to HATE it and gave each other the most reluctant of hugs an the quickest of kisses - but looking back on it is so funny and sweet for all of us :-)

Megan Stroup said...

My parents definitely did the sharing trick! It actually had a really nice extreme effect for us. I remember any time I broke the piece of candy, bread, etc., and my sister picked the smaller piece, I felt obligated to tell her it was smaller, just in case she hadn't noticed and wanted the bigger one. :)

I'm Ali said...

on trips my mom would bring a stepping stool for my brother and i to put over our laps as mini desks. we each had one and she bought us new puzzles, coloring books, and games to entertain us on the road. :)

Mich said...

Love the idea of calling everything an "adventure". It's all about setting expectations ;)

Lyndsay said...

My parents introduced "tattle time" for my cousins and I. We were all close in age and grew up together so we fought like siblings and tattled on each often. To avoid hearing an endless list of "Shannon bit me"'s all day long, tattle time was set for 3PM every day. The trick was, they never told us when 3Pm came and of we missed it, we'd have to save all our tattles for the next day at which time we had totally forgotten :)

Sarah said...

The candy bar trick is definitely a classic. "One person cuts, the other chooses" was basically my mom's mantra for my sister and I, who are almost two years apart, but had squabbles like that frequently!

Another 'trick' was Saturday morning dad time. Though it usually involved a candy bar bribe, no matter what it was--usually taking the car to a car wash (so thrilling for a 5-year-old), going grocery shopping, or the like-- my mom outsourced chores to my dad, and my dad and I had our own special time!

marie said...

my parents did the candy bar thing too! and i'm so brainwashed that when i break anything in half to share with my fiance, i hold it out for him to pick.

other ideas i'm totally stealing from my parents:
a "toy time-out box" for things we didn't clean up after we were given fair warning. we also had timed clean-ups to prevent toys from "the box."

we could pick one food every year on our birthdays that we could opt out of that year. mine was mushrooms, always. and now i love them, go figure.

eleanor said...

My younger sister and I are obviously not twins but we share the same birthday. My mom always made two cakes, one for each of us.

Joanna Goddard said...

haha, marie, my sister and i still do it too!

i LOVE these!!!! soooo fun to read.

Necia said...

Every night when my sister and I were going to be my dad would sit with us and tell us "true or false" stories. He would make up all these adventures that he and his brother went on or the trouble they would get into as kids. At the end of the story we would have to guess if it was true or false. It was so fun hearing about the fun times he had as a kid and so special to have him spend some time with us each night.

mp said...

The 'one person breaks it and the other one picks' was a staple in our house too! And, I do it with my husband now! (not that we would ever get mad at one another over a bigger or smaller piece but it's still fun)

Kelli Anderson said...

ok both of these ideas are genius. i love adventures why wouldn't children? and the sharing technique always comes in handy.

17 Perth said...

Genius. I love the idea of calling little things like that adventures---and the idea about candy--that is really brilliant!

Eka Theresia said...

cute children;)


Eka Theresia

Anonymous said...

my mom was all about tricks—

To get us to clean our room, she made up a game called "hotel" that felt glamorous, but really consisted of my sister and I cleaning while my mom, the proprietress, read a magazine.

I used to wake up wailing with horrible growing pains. My mom would wrap my legs in towels, saying they were very powerful casts and I'd fall asleep almost immediately.

One trick that didn't work was the old rule that you couldn't get up from the dinner table until you finished those last few bites. My dad always took pity and sat with me while I stubbornly held out, alone at the dining room table (sometimes my mom even shut off the lights!). He worked all the time, and it was our only time alone, ever, so I would leave my food alone on purpose.....

kater said...

My mom used to tell me, hey look, it's dark out, it's bedtime! Even in the winter, when it got dark at say, six! It was part of her belief that having a good sleeping schedule for life is very important and has to start in childhood. That, and it was a good way to motivate me to get ready for bed on my own.

My boyfriend's mom told him cookies were crackers, so whenever he wanted a 'cookie' he had something a bit healthier! Then his grandmother gave him a real cookie and it blew his mind.

chelsea said...

This is so sweet, and I love all of your Motherhood Monday posts! I just wanted to also point out something I'm sure you're already acutely aware of, but Toby looks SO much like you in that first photo!

penelope said...

Hooray! I have identical twin boys who are nine and I've threatened to have them shirts made that say 'Why does he have more than me?!' with fingers pointing towards each other. Now I have a solution. Seriously brilliant. I grew up with twin brothers. When I think of the fights we could have skipped!

Lisa Graham Art said...

I was the youngest of 6, but there are 7 years between me and the next sibling...so I was rather spoiled. Did not have to share with anyone.

Copper&Whim said...

This is so cute! Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful stories.

Jordan said...

This is amazing! Nice, yo.

<3 jordan
JordanDibb.com

Allyson Dobberteen said...

My parents definitely utilized the sharing trick with me and my sister! Even for things we didn't like! Ex. one girl scoops the green beans and the other decides which plate she gets. It is pure genius.

Rebecca said...

For selecting movies, however many kids there are is the number of movies that one kid picks, the next kid gets to eliminate one, and so on until the last kid gets to pick the final selection.

Jenni Austria Germany said...

i love the splitting technique!

Bryna Faye Shields said...

Love the sharing trick! It's brilliant.

My mother used to rub my eyebrows before I fell asleep at night while singing me a prayer that my grandfather wrote. It was in Hebrew so I never knew what it meant, but it was so soothing and comforting that it didn't matter.

Also when I was young, we lived by a pond, and my father and I would go on walks and skip rocks together on the water - I was never any good at it, but I was always so fascinated watching how far my dad could make them skip.

There really is power in simplicity :)

asimplemath said...

Motherhood Mondays are the best!

Teri said...

My mother would often say to do things 'like a superhero'. That meant to be nice, brave or on your real best. My sisters and I would love to behave like a real superhero and when we were done, we'd get a high five or a hug.

I'm a teacher now and I noticed I start doing the same in my class (4 - 6 years old). I let them get their coats like superheroes (on there toes) or share like superheroes. They really go for it and it's fun to see how much they enjoy this game. It makes things a lot easier!

Joy said...

this is so adorable! love the photos.

Bekah said...

My parents made us do the splitting/choosing thing, too, but it got complicated when my little brother came along to join my sis and I...let's just say that we're all very, very good at eyeballing things into thirds, now!

auste said...

Wow - memories! We went on a lot of "adventures" as kids... every errand, Saturday afternoon, rainy day was seen as opportunity for "adventure"...

My husband grew up with the candy bar trick, and still uses it to this day... "I cut, you choose". Every time, whether he's slicing a quiche, cake or candy bar.

We'll absolutely continue using these tricks in our family.

Victoria said...

They are great parenting tips. Simple but very effective!

Jenn B said...

what a lovely post.

Jamie said...

This is a great post and got me thinking about all the amazing things my parents did for my sister and I when we were younger to make our childhood the best.

I think the most wonderful thing my parents did for us (and the things I remember most fondly) was to create a lot of RITUALS. These were always things that we did on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis that were special in their own way. The repetition of them cemented them in our memories forever and they always revolved around spending time as a family and making my sister and I feel special. For example, after bath time when I was really little, my dad would brush my hair, put me in my mom's favorite PJs and then let me run around like a little spy, not allowing my mom to see me. We called it "The Coast Is Clear." Then, finally, after I had teased my mom enough, there would be a big reveal so that my mom could see me all clean in her favorite little footed PJs and smother me with hugs. Every night at Christmas time, my dad would bundle us up, take us out in the stroller (or later, walk with us) to do what he called "Christmas Light Walks." He took us past all the good houses and we sang Christmas songs. It made Christmas magical. He also used to stop on his way home from work and get Peppermint Patties for us that he would hide in the fridge until after dinner. Then he would tell us there was a surprise for us in the fridge. Of course, we always knew what it was but it was nice to know he thought of us during the day, when he was driving to or from work.

And by far my favorite was the doughnut shop. We ate really healthy at my house, but I think EVERY WEEKEND of my whole childhood, my dad took us to the neighborhood doughnut shop at like 6 in the morning (he was an early riser) before they even opened. We watched them make the doughnuts from the window and, when they opened, got to pick two and a chocolate milk. I can still remember that I always chose a chocolate one and a pink cake doughnut with sprinkles. The "doughnut lades" as we called them, knew us like we were their own grandchildren and watched us grow up.

I still tell my dad about once a year how much those rituals meant to me and how they shaped who I am and how I think about family. I don't have kids yet, but when I do, I will fill their lives with these rituals, which were so small but so important at the same time.

Anonymous said...

First photo, twin on the left cries like Toby.

Thank you for sharing your lovely stories

Wendy-frances said...

Growing up we were BROKE only I didn't realize it until I was out on my own. My parents used to say we were going to "Homestead Park" for vacation. The would set up a tent in the back yard and run an extension cord from the house and we would watch TV and have a fan in the tent! Eat food that was usually eaten at Christmas. Man, was that fun!

kendra said...

I was raised in San Diego and my mom was single, broke and in school while working, so free time wasn't something she really had. When she had a random Saturday off, they would be called "special days". I'd wake up and she would have cinnamon rolls in the oven. We'd eat, and then go to either Balboa Park or Sea Port Village (both free), pack a lunch, share an icecream cone, take silly pictures in a photo booth, window shop, play in the fountains.
To this day, when I go back and visit San Diego, those 2 places are still magical to me.

Anonymous said...

These are all so cute to read! I don't remember if my parents had any tricks, but they kept up the Santa thing like a champ. I seriously believed in Santa until I was like, 13 years old. One of the biggest things I look forward to when I have children is bringing Santa back! Also, my Dad read me lots of stories and I was always pretty sure I'd find a hobbit somewhere and I may have walked into my closet many, many times hoping to get to Narnia. Thank Goodness Harry Potter wasn't around back then or no joke I'd be waiting for a Hogwarts letter!

Eva B. said...

Well, that candy bar trick is SO clever of your momma! I am pregnant now (not with twins tho!) and want to have another one soon after to have that same lovely sibling relationship that I have with my sister. We could have used a few "getting along" tricks as kiddos!

evabstyle.blogspot.com

Joanna Goddard said...

anonymous, that is fascinating that there's a dutch saying!!

Joanna Goddard said...

rachel, i love that...omg, these are such fun comments to read. :)

Katie said...

I love this! My parents also did the one cuts, one picks trick. Classic. Another great memory for me was my special Sunday morning trip to the bakery with my dad. I'm the oldest of 5, so it was nice to get to go somewhere alone!

Wh. said...

I don't know if this counts as a trick but it could be helpful to many moms with this "problem"

My sister is 7 years younger than me. We're that kind of siblings where the oldest is the most quiet and peaceful, and the youngest seems to be the reincarnation of the tasmanian devil.

When we were little, she used to (and sometimes still does;) try to be like her older sis: talking like me, trying to wear my clothes, wanting EVERYTHING that I put my hands on. Birthdays and Christmases were kind of nightmare, with all the non-ever-stoping screaming and crying.

SO! My mother came up with a brilliant and simple solution, which she recently passed on me when I visited my to youngest sisters (2 and 4 years old) having the same problem:

Anytime they had to give us a present, they would take me to a side and secretly tell me: "Here...This is your sister's present. Please open it first so she'll take it away from you, and then you can open yours".
Problem solved!

Carla @ All of Me Now said...

I'm an only child raising sisters so this post and the comments are so helpful! I'm finding my way with little parenting tricks (just wrote about it here - http://allofmenow.com/2012/01/parenting-sanity-savers/). I make them apologize to one another then give each other 3 compliments. Giggles ensue every time! On days when it's been overly crazy and noisy and I need little bodies to settle down, I'll light a candle. Let them play with their breath and how to make the flame dance. They could sit mesmerized by the candle for hours! (we're totally safe though - only I hold it and I put water on the candle afterwards and no matches). Thanks for this great post =)

Amanda Blair said...

I think it's so cool you are a twin. Do you guys have a twin sense? Is that really a thing?

saltgrain said...

I think the sharing thing was pretty standard.

As an Army wife, my mom had to drag us kids along all over the world which in itself was a great feat of accomplishment.

A couple of her rules:

1. You must try a bite of the food but you won't be told what it is until AFTER you decide if you like it. (worked well for weird food like snails or sushi) This was especially helpful when eating out in strange places..Back then a McDonald's wasn't always available.

2. She refused to referee "sharing" issues. Like if we were traveling and fussing over a toy in the back seat, we would be given the opportunity to "figure it out..or you both lose it." She rarely took sides.. and the threat of the loss usually worked with us:)

3. When we were bad in public, we were given one warning to "behave.. or we leave" If we were in a restaurant, she would take us outside and sit in the car while the rest finished the meal.. don't remember being taken out of places many times after the "threat".

4. Unbirthday presents. My brother and I were 18 months apart.. so that meant our birthday's were 6 months apart. In addition to the birthday presents we got on our birthday, my brother and I got one "token" present on the other's birthday. This didn't diminish the specialness for the birthday child.. but softened the hurt of seeing someone else being showered with attention and loot. This was especially helpful when we were small and the concept of "your day is coming later" was harder for us to grasp.

Mindy said...

I love the idea of going on adventures! I will definitely use that one as my baby grows up. Here are a couple of mine...

1. My parents were divorced when I was very young so the way we solved the "who's going to sit in front" dilemma was, I always sat in front with my mom, my sister always with my dad.

2. My dad would take me out to a nice restaurant for my birthday every year, just the two of us, and we called it our "special day". We still do it to this day.

3. Every time I would call my dad and ask if he was busy he would always say "I'm NEVER too busy for you!" and we'd have a chat.

4. Sometimes my mom would just let me stay home from school for no reason.

It's nice to think about these things, it makes you remember what was truly special about your parents. :) Thanks for the stroll down memory lane. I know these comments will help me be a better parent.

Meadow said...

My sister and I had that same you cut/the other choose rule as well. Parents can be smart at times ;)

Anonymous said...

My grandmother and her sisters had "the pie rule": one person cut the slices and the others chose which slice. And that was back in the 1920s!

LCM said...

ya, again with the after the jump... maybe give us the scopp on the home page and only more details deeper in? Its really annoying...

Michaela said...

when my sister and would argue about things like who got to sit in the front seat of the car or who got to pick the book mom would read us at bedtime, it always came down to whether it was an odd day or an even day. odd days were mine because i was born on april 3rd, and karen's days were even days because she was born october 16th. so simple we could solve disputes ourselves without dragging mom and dad in to referee!

Elizabeth Benfield said...

i love the idea of making everything an adventure. my mother did similar things. we never really received lavish presents but she might would come and wake my sister and i early on a saturday morning before the sun came up, whispering to get our bathing suits on cause we were beach bound. best.days.ever! i hope to keep this sense of fun and adventure for my kids.

christine // darling studio said...

Love your mother mondays so much.
We go on many "adventures" too--to the grocery store, around the block, even expeditions from the kitchen to the play room! Seeing everyday activities through a toddler's eyes makes everything brand new!

Trina said...

I remember my dad piling all of the neighborhood kids into the back of his pickup and taking us for a ride through the countryside on balmy summer nights. We'd be laughing and talking with the wind in our hair, to the tune of the crickets and the smell of wet earth from orchards being irrigated. And one of my fondest memories is of all of us going down to the river with him and wading in the knee-deep water while he scouted the riverbanks for bullfrog tadpoles (which are ginormous) hiding in the riverbanks.

Maria said...

You were such cute kids!

Maria xx
www.cheekypinktulip.blogspot.com

Desiree Fawn said...

I absolutely use the word ADVENTURE! to describe most things I do with my daughter. You're right -- it makes everything so exciting!

JenJekel said...

My parents did the same for the sharing, but what an awesome idea to have everyday adventures! You never know when the trip to a store can turn into an adventure! Your parents sound marvelous :)

Amber99 said...

My favorite (and only) dog growing up was Skippy, a cute little mixed breed dachshund. She had puppies and I begged my mom to let me keep the Boy puppy. My Mother said that was fine but I would have to find a new home for Skippy! Needless to say I kept Skippy and never asked for another puppy.

Anonymous said...

Well me and my brothers must have been terrible kids, because when my parents tried to get us to use the sharing rule, we would fight over who had to divide it--all of us wanting to be one of the choosers. Telling us we couldn't have it if we couldn't decide between ourselves only meant weeks of my parents hearing about how unfair it all was. Yeah, I'm in for a treat if I ever have kids...

Erin said...

This might be too personal but I am wondering, are your parents still married? You always speak so fondly of them during your childhood but when you refer to them in present tense they seem to always be separate. Just wondering, ignore if you don't want to answer obviously ;)

Dee said...

I can not believe how much the baby on the right (in the top photo) looks like Toby... amazing!!

LaGoz said...

My parents did the (what they referred to as) "you cut I choose" method of sharing. The other one my mom used (to get chocolate, but she said it was for our benefit) was "tax". If we had a chocolate bar, snack, anything, she'd take 30% "tax" so we'd get used to handing stuff over. I still resent paying tax so I don't know if you can call it a successful ploy ...

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