truth bomb: i like you just the way you are

The boys and I have a sweet nightly ritual.

As we're snuggling them up with their pillows, blankets, and stuffed loveys, I sing them a little song... you might know the one...



I firmly believe that my first and most important job as a parent is to ensure that my sons believe that at their cores they are good, worthwhile, lovable people. My job is to love them unconditionally.

So every night I sing them this little song, just to remind them that I like them just exactly the way they are.

Truth bomb. Tthis is a lie.

It's the second-longest con I've ever pulled. You were right, you guys. I AM DAN BROWN. I get wicked stoned and watch the History Channel and just write things while I eat Safeway cheesecake with marascino cherry topping.

YANYWHO, this is how the song goes down in my head:

I like you     YES
I like you     SO MUCH
I like you     YEE-UH
Just              UNH
the way       WHAT
you are        ... ... ish.

Okay, let me be clear.

Do I like my children? So fucking much.
Do I love them? So fucking much.
Do I yearn to change specific elements of their choices, preferences, and peripheral personality traits? So. Fucking. Much.

I don't want to change their fundamental personalities or anything. I wouldn't change Buster's boldness, for example. But, were I to be endowed with the power, would I perhaps edit out the way he holds unblinking direct eye contact while scraping chewed-up cheese slime off of his tongue and then flicking it onto the carpet? I think you know the answer.

Chicken, I like you just the way you are, except every time you find the place that I have hidden this book and you make me read it to you three times before nap and three times before bed.

oh my god
wow
where did you find that book?
oh yeah?
in the garage?
in a duffel bag?
underneath the wok?
on top of the drink fridge?
wow
that's
great
that you found that one
again

This is a book about counting to 100 using household objects.

This is a book in which you count to 100 on every fucking page and it is 700 pages long.

100 popsicle sticks.

100 pieces of uncooked pasta.

This book should come with its own car cigarette lighter that you can pop out and press into your thigh while you're reading it. Just to feel something.

Buster, I like you just the way you are, except when I'm taking you to your favorite playground and you spend the entire walk there screaming "NO! NO PLAYGROUND! NO PLAYGROUND!" And then you take it to DEFCON 5: the trademarked two-year-old "no," you know the one. The long vibrating windup on the "n," the squawking bark of the "o":

"NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNAO! NNNNNNNNNNNNNAO!"

And then we get there and you're like "slide."

no rock
no rock
no rock
nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn--

jump


I love reading to Chicken. I love his focus, his bright eyes, his questions, his slender finger keeping count on paper clip number 74, 75, 76... But I do not like that he loves that fucking book.

I love hearing Buster speak. I love his spirit, his volume, the way he's learning to play with sounds... But I do not like that fucking sound.

Oh and the list goes on. Whining. Picking your nose every second you're awake (looking at you, Chicken. Right now. Picking your nose.) The fact that you expect me to sprout six additional arms every time you need a diap change (Buster, this one's all you, ya squirrely little gator.)

I think the distinction that I'm trying to make is that I love my children but sometimes they bug the shit out of me, and I would like for that to change. Stat.

Truth bomb:

Sometimes when I say, "I like you just the way you are," nobody in the room is buying it.

Sometimes when I say, "I like you just the way you are," what I mean is, "except for the really annoying stuff. I mean, I'm not going to walk away from you at the firehouse. But, you know, let's go ahead and grow on out of this bullshit. Quickly."

Sometimes when I say, "I like you just the way you are," I mean, "most of the time but NOT TODAY. Today you were a total dick."

But somehow, every time I say "I like you just the way you are," I mean every single fucking word.

Just.
The way.
You are.

It doesn't have to all make sense, you guys. Sometimes love is batshit crazy.

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