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After all the teeth are brushed, faces washed, books read, and songs sung, I stop by each of my kids’ beds in turn for a hug and a snuggle. I give each them a few minutes that are just theirs to tell me “something.”  I often gently cut off a long, rambling diatribe on a child’s next birthday party, which will be a Dora, Spiderman, Chucky Cheese party with Batman cupcakes at Jump & Bounce, to tell my “something.”  Something small that I love about that child or something wonderful that someone mentioned about them that made me proud or something that I observed them do that was sweet or helpful or caring.

Yesterday, Nate started going to Crunchy Waldorfy School with Quinn.  He’ll go every Thursday morning for the rest of the year so that he can find his bearings and meet the teachers while his brother is still there in preparation for going three days a week on his own next year.  Quinn has quite the little pod of best friends at school, the middle children of my closest friends, and I worried that he would be unkind.  They are a sweet, but formidable little trio and they sometimes get involved in elaborate games and forget that everyone may play. I feared Quinn would shun his baby brother in his big kid school space.

Instead, he surprised me, as children like to do.  He was very kind and very helpful.  He took his role as big brother seriously, showing Nate where to put his shoes and where to sit in the circle before I left.  I returned two hours later to find Nate joyfully ensconced between Zeni and Quinn and Ty – a spot generally impossible to occupy – playing a singing game.

Nate strutted to the car. He about burst with happiness and pride to have spent the day with the big kids at school.  I never dreamed of such an easy transition.

As I wrapped my arms around Quinn last night for a big hug, I whispered into his ear how proud I was of him.  How much he helped his brother on his first day of school.  How happy it made Nate and how happy that made me.  I told him that my heart was full because he had been so kind and thoughtful.

He beamed up at me when I laid him back on the pillow, his eyes lost in the wrinkles of his huge smile, and squirmed with happiness.

“So mommy,” he exclaimed, “WHAT DO I GET?”




For just the smallest second there, I felt like a really good mother.  If raising four children teaches me nothing else, I will have learned humility.  Over and over and over.

36 Responses to Thankless
  1. Gayle
    May 4, 2012 | 4:17 pm

    Well, it was heart-felt for a moment! :) I’ve heard that often to…. anytime anyone does anything that can be praised they think it should be followed with money or a toy. I just quit praising them! ;) lol

    • Anymommy
      May 5, 2012 | 3:44 pm

      Ha! I like it. Maybe I need a business card to hand them that says, “You have done something praiseworthy, congratulations. No, you are not getting anything but this card.”

      • Varda (SquashedMom)
        May 6, 2012 | 1:04 am

        I LOVE the idea of that card. Because Ethan wants cold hard cash in exchange for playing with his autistic brother, and without the dangling of some sort of carrot, will not give him the time of day. Sigh.

  2. Rita/Fighting off Frumpy
    May 4, 2012 | 4:36 pm

    Oh. My. Gosh.

    We have been going through this same issue. I can’t even enumerate how many times – just in the last month or two – I’ve tried to explain that sometimes the praise IS the reward. I’m beginning to think that small children have some sort of specific mental block when it comes to understanding this concept.

    • Anymommy
      May 5, 2012 | 3:45 pm

      Or the good feeling itself is the reward. Not computing, he wants a doughnut.

  3. Korinthia Klein
    May 4, 2012 | 5:15 pm

    Ha! How lovely, though when siblings are good to one another like that. My kids are such a sweet little team and it means more to me than anything that they have each other out in the world.

    • Anymommy
      May 5, 2012 | 3:46 pm

      It is the beautiful part of siblings for sure.

  4. Roshni
    May 4, 2012 | 5:41 pm

    aahhahahahha!!! We must remember at all times that kids are immensely practical creatures!! That was really cute!! :D

    • Anymommy
      May 5, 2012 | 3:46 pm

      They truly are. I’m pretty sure my kids would survive a catastrophe just fine, they always keep their own self interest in mind.

  5. Elaine
    May 4, 2012 | 6:29 pm

    I’m sure that is not the only reason he did it though. ;) Ahh, our little ones, they are just too much sometimes!!

    • Anymommy
      May 5, 2012 | 3:47 pm

      No, I think you’re right, I think he just saw an opportunity and took it :-)

  6. Galit Breen
    May 4, 2012 | 7:29 pm

    Oh yes, this. Like when they reach for carrots in the same breath that they utter, “Gimme brownies.”

    Humility, for sure.


    • Anymommy
      May 5, 2012 | 3:47 pm

      They are a puzzle wrapped in an enigma!

  7. Isha
    May 4, 2012 | 7:46 pm

    Oh well that just made me LOL!

  8. Sandra
    May 4, 2012 | 7:56 pm

    Ha! That’s what my 9 year old would say too.

  9. Naomi
    May 4, 2012 | 9:17 pm

    hahahahahaha. Oh that’s a good one. Totally can see a few of my kids pulling that one. My kids seems to be missing out on the philanthropy lessons I have been giving them regularly……lol….

  10. anna see
    May 4, 2012 | 11:25 pm

    awesome! love that kid!

  11. Pamela
    May 5, 2012 | 3:26 am

    I have a whole set of those. We say gain and again, “aren’t you just so poud of you? Doesn’t it feel good in your heart?”

    And they’re all WHATEVER, YO.

    • Anymommy
      May 5, 2012 | 3:48 pm

      Whatever, yo. Exactly. Where’s my prize?

  12. Wendy
    May 5, 2012 | 6:41 am

    Ha! Snorted at that one. My students do the same thing. “You guys were awesome for the sub yesterday.”

    “So did you bring us donuts?”

  13. Della Williams
    May 5, 2012 | 11:32 am

    What a cute story. I so envy you! I wish time could rollback and allow me one more chance to enjoy time spent with my children. Have a great weekend!


  14. Sheila
    May 5, 2012 | 12:44 pm

    You made me laugh out loud. Unfortunately it was during a conference call (to which I was obviously not paying attention…the mute button is my friend). Thanks for that and for reminding me of something I had forgotten. My mom used to come in to say goodnight to each of the 6 of us when we were little. She would scratch my head…thanks for bringing back that memory.

    • Anymommy
      May 5, 2012 | 3:48 pm

      Thank god for mute right? And I’m tickled that you’re reading here at work ;-)

  15. Anne
    May 5, 2012 | 2:28 pm

    POP~and the bubble bursts. :-) It won’t be long before he will create another wonderful moment for you to cherish…just cherish quickly.

    • Anymommy
      May 5, 2012 | 3:49 pm

      Very, very quickly, yes, good point.

  16. Adventures In Babywearing
    May 5, 2012 | 5:36 pm

    That is exactly what my child would say. Exactly.


  17. Sharon
    May 5, 2012 | 7:46 pm

    I call my trio the little opportunists! He has survival skills he does!

  18. Marta
    May 6, 2012 | 3:45 am

    Lol. I feel like this is EXACTLY how my son would respond as well. But you can still pat yourself on the back, he did it without even thinking there may have been a reward. Can’t fault him for trying to get one. He’s just being an opportunist!

  19. Dhyan
    May 7, 2012 | 1:02 am

    Sometimes I have this kind of situation and I feel like a good mother for the whole day and even for the whole week..

  20. Giselle
    May 7, 2012 | 5:14 am

    Thanks for the laugh and this made my day so happy even we all know that Mondays can sometimes be very stressful..

  21. Lady Jennie
    May 7, 2012 | 6:13 am

    Oh no – this whole post is just too precious. And that ending! :-)

    Humility over and over …

  22. tracy@sellabitmum
    May 7, 2012 | 11:13 am

    HA! I have one that would ask the same thing. Those little smart ones. xo

  23. Jenng
    May 7, 2012 | 12:17 pm

    Aaaah the thanklessness of motherhood…ain’t it grand! :) Sounds just like something my daughter would say…haha!

  24. Louise
    May 9, 2012 | 7:11 pm

    Must have been hard to resist the urge to “high-five” your boy for his wit and smarts – cause you have to admit…..he has that!!! LOVE IT!

  25. tracey
    May 11, 2012 | 3:22 pm

    I love it. It’s always about the reward, even if a reward was never offered, isn’t it?

  26. Keely
    May 20, 2012 | 2:28 pm

    That? Is awesome. And so familiar.

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