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Operation Slobber Puss

Apparently, according to my children, I have been failing at this parenting gig.

Now, if I had force-fed them nothing but the dried up rosehips dotting the shrubs around our home, I could perhaps understand this. But since they have a healthy diet consisting of popsicles, sugar cereals and jam I'm a wee bit confused.

Or, if I locked them in their room with nothing to do but chew on their toenails I may be in agreement with their judgment. But in order to lock them in their room I'd have to drag them out of the swimming pool or off the trampoline and let's face it, my kids are slippery little devils. For the most part I happily spend obscene amounts of money on playthings to keep them out of the house. Having them locked in their rooms would mean subjecting myself to listening to them fight and whine. Contrary to my blonde hair, I'm smarter than that.

So it was with a bit of confusion that I looked at my kids, who were standing side by side, frowning at me as I held Jumby in my arms, and asked just how I failed at parenting.

"It's no fair!" One whined.

"You don't play with us!" The other complained.

"Excuse me? Don't play with you? My retinas are still blurred and my lungs are on fire from all the chlorine I ingested yesterday when you ganged up on me in the pool and tried to drown me, repeatedly. For hours. The blisters on my hand from holding the Wii remote are threatening to fester if I play anymore video games with you and might I remind you how I whooped your arses in Scrabble this morning?"

For crying out loud, the only thing I have done since my children went on summer vacation is play with them. I'm tired of playing. If I worked as hard at cleaning my house, or um, blogging, as I do at playing with my children I'm sure my life would be far more successful. Or at least my toilet wouldn't be fuzzy.

"No, that's not what we mean," Frac said. "We mean you don't play with us the way you play with Jumby."

"Ah, well if you want sweetie, we can play Patty Cake right now," I teased.

"Very funny Mom."

"Well of course I don't play with you the same as I play with Jumbster. He's six. You're almost 13 and 14. He's developmentally delayed. Your report cards indicate you are on the bright side of smart. He's a quadriplegic; the two of you walk on your hands for fun. Are you seeing the difference or shall I go on?"

"We know all that MOOOOM," my daughter countered. "It's just, um.." she trailed off.

"It's just that you cuddle with him and not with us," Frac finished the sentence his sister started.

"Ahhh. I see. You're jealous. Of your blind, deaf brother who eats from a tube and will never walk." I took a moment to nuzzle Jumby's neck.

"We're not jealous! We love Jumby! It's just we want you to cuddle with us like you cuddle with him."

"I cuddle with you all the time. Heck, I can't even sit on the couch by myself because you two want to sit beside me."

But the words sat with me, long after the conversation ended and my kids moved on, satisfied they had been heard and that I had listened.

Do I cuddle Jumby more than the older two? To some extent, I had to admit to myself, yes. For the past year I have slobbered more on Jumby than I do on my husband, whom I'm legally required to slobber on. I've been trying to establish a maternal bond with him, trying to reassure him through my touch that I will be his forever mommy, always.

Had I neglected the older two kids in the process? Have I made them feel lesser in my efforts to make Jumby feel like this is his home? Mommy guilt haunted me. Yes, I kiss and hug Fric and Frac every day. Our house is an affectionate household. Even before their brother Bug passed away, I dribbled my mommy love onto my kids through my hugs and kisses. I didn't grow up with parents who openly showed affection and I have always been careful to make sure my kids feel my love through my touch.

But have I been committing the cardinal parenting sin and blatantly favouring one sibling over the others?

This called for an immediate investigation. So I called my husband.

"Do I favour Jumby over the other two kids?" I immediately asked when he answered his phone.

"Um, hello to you too. Why yes, I'm fine. Thanks for asking."

"I'm serious Boo. I think your kids think I love Jumby more than I love them," I worried aloud and then explained the situation with him.

My husband, ever the rock that keeps me grounded, laughed. "Um, no. They are just being brats. You abuse them equally. You're fairly fair in your distribution of maternal slobber. I think you are worrying for nothing."

Clearly my husband would be of no help with this.

So I asked my Dad. He's here almost every day and has an inside view of the maternal-child relations. He's a straight shooter. He'll tell me like it is.

"Dad, do I spoil Jumby? The kids think I love him more than them."

"Ah, just put a boot up their arses and tell them to go clean their rooms and stop bothering you."

Right. Perhaps my father isn't the foremost authority on tactful parental relations.

This meant I only had one choice left.

Operation Slobber Puss.

I decided I would make sure every time I kissed or held Jumby to make sure I immediately shared the affection with his older siblings.

At first, my kids lapped it up. It was a free love festival around here all the time. My kids couldn't walk past me without me stopping to hug them and lay a big smooch on them. My lips were getting chapped from all the kisses I was doling out. Apparently, I cuddle with Jumby a whole lot more than I was aware of. But since the kid doesn't walk and requires me to carry him everywhere for his basic daily needs, he tends to be in my arms a lot. Which meant, since I was insistent on equally sharing the love, seeking out the older two for random moments of affection.

It didn't take long for my kids to begin to grow weary with the constant cuddles. Apparently interupting their game of tag or making them stop their video games in a critical moment to kiss me can get a bit annoying. Who knew?

The weariness quickly grew into aggravation and it wasn't long before my children would twitch every time they saw me walk towards them. At one point my kids even held up their hands in the sign of a cross and hissed at me like they would a vampire. "Enough Mom!"

Still, I persisted. It's always been an active concern of mine that in my quest to parent first Shalebug and now Jumbster, that my kids would be neglected as my maternal efforts are swallowed by the needs of the disabled child. It's always been a struggle to find a balance at parenting the healthy children when their disabled little brother waves his overwhelming needs in our faces. It isn't always easy being the healthy kid in a family with a child with special needs. I recognize that and want my healthy children to know that even though I can't always be there for them, I see them.

If my kids want more cuddles, than darn it, cuddles they will get.

Then the straw that finally broke my camels' backs finally dropped. I was trying to be an affectionate mother with Frac as he was trying to read his book. As I leaned in and blew a raspberry kiss onto the side of his neck like I do his little brother, he stood up and slammed his book down.

"All right! Enough! No more kisses. Just leave us alone!" His sister, who was in the other room, sauntered in and nodded her agreement with her little brother.

"It's too much Mom! You're always touching us. It's driving us bonkers," she said.

"But I'm just cuddling with you like I do with your little brother!" I insisted, somewhat taken back.

"But we're not six! And we're not a baby in our brain like he is! It's different!" They both retorted.

I looked at them, as Jumby rolled around on the floor in a little patch of sunlight, softly cooing to himself and then I smiled. Wickedly.

"Well, thank heavens that is over! Come on Jumby, let's go play Patty cake," I said as I scooped him up and into my arms.

I mean, showing maternal love is all fine and dandy. But there comes a time when giving your child raspberry kisses needs to come to an end.

Because let's face it. No matter how much you love your children, once they have body odour and pubic hair, smooching on them while making monster noises just ain't the same.
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Reader Comments (37)

I love the way your mind works. Your view on parenting and how you love your kids is awesome. Thank you for reminding me to be creative.

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermapsgirl

Lady, you are an AWESOME mother! Thanks for sharing this devilish awesomeness with us. :D

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoy

How diabolically clever of you...must remember this as new baby is coming in January.


July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJo

Yep, totally agree with you there. I have 4 little monster, um, children, and my 16 year old son most definitely does not like the same affection that I lavish on my 3 year old daughter. lol He argues that I love her more, but then he doesn't/can't sit on my lap and get hugs and kisses like the younger ones do. Although I think that it has more to do with him being 6'3, and over 200 pounds. lol

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

I think the lesson learned here is, as a mom, we just can't win. but you showed them :) My kids are only 6 & 7, but I do find that when they claim I am being unfair, they're little memories only go back about 2 1/2 days, or in some cases 5 minutes. One day I took off work to take them swimming, bought them a new Wii games and a sno-cone maker, and they complained cuz I wouldn't buy ice cream from the ice cream guy. Phooey.

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

I'm so glad to hear you're not one to overdo it. That'd just be embarrassing.

Gotta go snuggle my rambunctious preschooler, now. Thanks for the maternal guilt trip! Only vacation I'm gonna get all year! :P

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWackyMummy

Just wait a few more years when the last thing they'll want is their mother slobbering all over them in public, in front of their friends. Of course, that is what you SHOULD do, just to get back at them.

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNeil

LOL - great post!! My daughter is 8 so she still love the smooches - but I will employ this at 13!

Saw your link from Tiia Jone's FB page...


July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSwati

Way to go girl! You make my days so much sunnier .. I would have liked a Mom like you:) Although mine was awesome & I loved her with all my heart .. she wasn't into stuff like blogs etc., especially yours .. she would have loved you too!

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLadyinGrey

pubic hair and body odor!!!!!!!!


July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSMurF

Next time Boo is home, you should give him the same treatment.

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHockeymandad

hehe. I am soo going to have to try this on my 14 yr old daughter the next time she whines about being treated differently than her 8 yr old sister.

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLydia

you are the best mother in the world...I think you should get Mother of the Year for REALZ!!

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

Yuck! You still slobber on Boo??? I dread the day that the cuddling stops with my two. They are 4 and 5 years old so cuddling is a favorite pastime around here. I know one day, though, my son will stop and insist that I stop too. My daughter is nearly there. It makes me sad just thinking about it.

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLB

Nothing messes with teens more than giving them exactly what they want...... with a little extra on the side.

I would have done the same thing. My 12 yo boy Sparky is lazy - its genetic, he gets it from me. When my hubby had enough of the lazy behaviour, he told Sparky to go sit on his bed and stay there. He was clearly too tired to do anything.

After 4 days of sitting on his bed, I asked Sparky if he had learned anything. He said "if I ask for something I just might get it".

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkellyjean9

Genius pure evil genius. Teens they think they're SOOOO much smarter than we are do they not realize that we were teenagers once too?

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhabanerogal

You are too COOL! You parent as most people hope they could!

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdeb young

Super super smart. I can just see them putting up their guard as soon as they see you pucker. Awesome.

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFairly Odd Mother

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tanis Miller, Tanis Miller. Tanis Miller said: New post up: Apparently I love one child more than the others. Somehow I'm okay with this. http://bit.ly/cgKFo9 [...]

Yep, be careful what you wish for, kids...

I must admit, I hate that some day mine will be too big to snuggle. Especially my Bun, who is just delicious. Pumpkinpie is even already less cuddly. sigh.

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkittenpie

Well of course your kids just want what they don't have. They have no need for alcohol or cigarettes, but statistics say they're at the right age. I'd like to see a new blog on employing these same tactics.



July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCabbage

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Moms Who Blog, mumto5. mumto5 said: Attack of the Redneck Mommy - Operation Slobber Puss http://bit.ly/cem6Xs [...]

ha ha ha, that'll teach em, eh?

Totally made me laugh.....totally!

July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngie Cox

Not the same, you got that right. Mine are 18 and 15 and they don't even like me to talk to them anymore!! Brats ;)

July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

I effin' love you, lady.

July 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjennielynn

well I am 34 years old and still demand hugs and kisses from my parents. I walk in the door give/get a hug and kiss. I will sit my my Daddy's lap. I went to try on wedding dresses, I took my Dad, came out in one dress, went up to the mirror, looked at the dress from all angles, and then saw my Daddy wipe a tear from his eye..... I got off the podium went over and sat on his lap WITH the dress on, wiped his eyes and just hugged him....... I love smoochies and huggies...... from my parents!!

July 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterleeann

nom nom NOM! Monster kisses are the best.

July 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly Loomis

I find it amazing that our kids, no matter how old they are, can make us feel guilty for not loving on them as if they were two. I have a 21 and 18 year old who whenever they are around my seven year old regress. "Mommy, why do you love Jack more? You're always hugging and paying attention to him." Oh, you mean in the same way I loved on you when you were cute and cuddly (and as you so aptly point out without pubic hair)? Thanks for the experiment in doling out your smooches to your older children. It ended the way I expect it would end with my older girls by saying, "Keep your lips and arms to yourself. You need an intervention."

July 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle Zive

You are a genius.

July 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterliz

As always, thanks for the smiles with your stories!!!

July 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWade Smith

I was hooked at the phrase "slobber puss" because sometimes I, uh, forget it...

July 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJ.R. Reed

I guess adult and children are always learning from each other; we need to learn how another 'see' love as and give love accordingly. :)

August 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBK

Half of the time they don't even want the attention; they just don't want anyone else to get it.

I feel that way myself, too ...

August 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterk

Your evil plan worked! Tee hee! You are great mama! They all pull that "you love so and so more than me" card.

August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Scnmitty

My little Roo is 10 and is going through a phase of missing her babyhood; she wants to sit on my lap and cuddle now whereas she wouldn't at 8 years old.
As in your family, she is the one expected to "act her age" Whereas her older brother Hywel gets away with alsorts of bad behavor due to his asberger's syndrome. Of course she can have more hugs - until she protests as loudly as yours anyway lol

August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEddy G

Enough MOM!!! That cracks me up. Yes our kid prefers not to be smothered in love either anymore. Sometimes though if she is being bratty, I would just like to SMOTHER her anyway! W.C.C.

August 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterW.C.Camp

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