Proving my love.

I look back at early posts about my children, my feelings towards them, and it’s fascinating to see how a parent’s love evolves over time. You simply don’t love a 7-pound lump of drooling baby the same way you love a huggy 8-month old, or a hand-clutching toddler or a first grader who tells you you’re the best mom in the world.

I tell Thalia that she’ll feel differently when she’s 13 though she insists that’s impossible. So I’ve made her sign a contract that states I will never say ‘I hate you Mom’ when I turn 13.

She’ll break it, of course.

But when she does, and she hates me and is equally sure that I hate her, I wanted to have a list handy of a mere fraction of the things I’ve done to demonstrate my love for my children.

1. Stripped down nekkid with my feet up in stirrups for the viewing pleasure of total strangers.

2. Skipped spicy tuna rolls for an entire 40 weeks.

3. Skipped wine for an entire…well, 30-something weeks. Mostly.

4. Survived hormonal changes that had me crying at everything from David Bowie lyrics to a very pretty rock.

5. Watched my boobs grow from a C to a DDD to Holy Mother of Jeebus What the Heck Are Those Things?

6. Gave up coffee

7. Gave up 36 straight months of sleeping through the night.

8. Resumed coffee with a vengeance

9. Read Goodnight Gorilla 60,047 times. (It has THREE WORDS, people. Three words!)

10. Stuck my hands in someone else’s excrement purposefully and with minimal complaint.

11. Stopped saying “fuck” in front of you.

12. Okay, still said “fuck” in front of you. But learned to apologize for it immediately after. And don’t you say it either.

13. Pumped in the bathroom stall of an airport that I can smell in my nightmares to this day.

14. Spent more middle-of-the-night hours on Web MD worrying about you than you can possibly imagine.

15. Spent my very last $4.99 in the world one week on organic milk.

16. Slept on top of disembodied baby dolls arms

17. Slept on top of LEGOs.

18. Slept on top of magic markers with the caps off (which I didn’t discover until morning).

19. Devoted 13 consecutive weekends to children’s birthday parties.

20. Endured nightmares about talking toys.

21. Endured Elmo.


23. Spent entire days engaged in dialogue like, “well who do you think is nicer, Funshine Bear or Tenderheart Bear?”

24. Smiled and nodded politely at competitmommies in the playground who had somehow assured themselves that the early date of their child’s first incoming tooth was some messianic omen.

25. Took the cupcake that the dog licked and let you have the other one.

26. Handed over an entire, precious closet shelf to boxes with labels like “glitter.”

27. Accepted the fact that my makeup, jewelry, and underwear drawer are no longer my own. And often will be found on your heads, at any given moment.

28. Gave up any hopes of ever seeing a movie in a theater that doesn’t have a talking animal in it.

29. Gave up any future fantasies of skydiving, hang-gliding, or space travel.

30. Learned to suck in my stomach permanently for life.


The thing is, my girls? I’d do any one of them again for you in a heartbeat. Although I beg you never to go back to diapers.


Thanks Huffington Post for including this post in Parenthesis: The best of the parenting blogs. And with such good company!


66 thoughts on “Proving my love.”

  1. I absolutely love the list!
    I am laughing like a stupid in front of my computer and nodding at every single one, especially #27 – my 2 1/2yo opened my bag, took out my emergency panties and asked in front of my husbands friend: Mom why do you have a panties in your bag? you still pee in your pants?
    She didnt stop there, she then took a tampon and asked if she could have the candy. Heaven is a pretty nice place, I know coz I died from shame that night

  2. Should I ever have to make such a contract I could copy the list word for word. But I would have to add:
    31. Endured you yanking down my t-shirt at odd times (preferable when in a crowded supermarket) when you where one, just because you wanted to look at mommies boobs.

    1. Ha! Yes! Neither of my kids attached to a lovey. My oldest used my hair instead, and at the time I thought nothing could be worse. Until my second kid came along and decided to use my boob. She’s 2.5 years old, and still sticks her hand down my shirt when she’s upset and trying to calm down.

  3. Too funny!
    I just want to say that I have been to the movies three times in the last five years, my 16 month old pulled out a thong panty-liner from my purse while we waited for my oldest at Tae Kwon Do, and have eaten food off the floor as to not waste it. Sigh. But we love them!

  4. Hilarious!! I wish I had this for my now 18 yr. old…but for me, I would’ve needed a list for 13, 14, 15, 16 and the first 6 months of 17. Thank goodness for College!!

  5. You are so right. Diapers are a love deal-breaker.

    I had been feeling the need to tell my twin 4 year old boys that my job was to take care of them, but it was still work even though I didn’t leave every day like Daddy. Well, that backfired the day I started complaining about “how much I do for you and no one ever says thanks or ever stops asking for things”.

    Their reply?

    But Mommy, that’s your job.

  6. Hee hee!! BRILLIANT list.

    I would add to mine:
    Got peed on many times, and never complained.
    Catch your vomit in my hands and did not flinch.
    Have not been to the bathroom alone for over 2 years.

  7. We just look for the balloon in Goodnight Gorilla because I figure if it doesn’t have words then technically they can read it to themselves.

    Reading all this just makes me realize how completely clueless I was when I became a mom.

    Forget what to expect when you’re expecting: Every mom should just read this.

  8. LOL, what a brill list. The only thing missing is references to vomit, sounds as though you had it easy…lol

    1. Oh yes, the smell of vomit that permeated our back car for years during the motion sickness phase. Thanks (sort of) for that awesome memory!

  9. I am with you on the whole let well except – you are way better than me – I only cut down on coffee.
    I may add to mine – broke my foot taking baby #2 to the pediatrician.
    also – glad to know that I am not the only one that has to suck in my stomach….

  10. Your list could be my list, less the wine, coffee and the bathroom incident but plus:
    1. Played more games of hide and seek and Simon Says than I have since I was 6

    2. Unretired the engraved bowling ball I swore would never see the light of day once the Air Force let us leave North Dakota

  11. This rocks – for so many reasons, as others have mentioned – but truly, you have inspired me to write this up in a “tween friendly” format to be shared on! I’m sure girls around the world may have a contract they’d like us to sign, too. Can you imagine!?!

    Liz, you inspire us all. Thank you. The giggles were much needed and filled me with joy.



  12. Great list! Here’s another one: Let you crawl into my bed then knee, elbow, kick and head butt me without returning the favor. 🙂

  13. Now I’ve got the Violent Femmes in my head: “What do I have to do…to prove my love to you?”

    All of the above, with only slight variations on the details.

  14. I have never said the F word in front of my kids but i did say of crap once which my oldest heard as crab. So occasionally when he is frustrated he will say Oh Crab!

  15. I’m not a mother yet and you got me all scared, lol 🙂 But I know I would do everything for my babies, as well….

    1. The thing is Debi, it’s true what I said: the trade-offs are entirely worth it. It’s easy to understand a flabby stomach or a sleepless year; it’s very hard to convey the most incredible love you’ve ever felt in your life.

  16. I am in the throes of this with my almost 2 year old. Some day (this summer!!!) I will finish the Blurb book of his first year and I think I need to include my list while it is still very very fresh in my mind. I always emphasize the part in Goodnight Gorilla where the “mommy” says, “you go back to your own bed right now!” There is a lot of finger waving and embelishing on that point.

  17. Your list cracked me up because I so totally identify with everything on it. I made a list when my oldest was two of all the bodily changes I had lovingly endured for her and so my list would also include: I’ve suffered “kid” sicknesses for you – oh yes, it was me who somehow got Hand, Foot, Mouth and pink-eye at the same time. I claim it was because I was trying to protect you so fiercely from the germs.

  18. Awesome list..mine would also include the
    suffering through the disgusting night sweats. Ugh!

  19. Goodnight Gorilla, too funny! And after all that, what was one of the first books that my son decided to “Give to another little boy”? Arrrrrrrgh!

  20. Yes, “Held you while you vomited in my hair” would definitely be on my list. As would “Regularly skipped my lunch break to feed you instead, in the corner of a cold and dirty stock room, under the disapproving glare of coworkers, after you outright refused to take any sort of bottle.” Also “Entirely gave up 90% of chocolate brands in solidarity after you developed a peanut allergy.”

    But, really, the giving up coffee thing. That’s number one on my list. Damn, that was hard.

  21. I’d add “willingly held out my hands for you to puke into.” I guess it’s better than cleaning the bed sheets (again). I remember thinking, this is true love, to hold out my cuped hands in front of your mouth to throw up into. Great post that reminded of the fierce love for my daughter, brought tears to my eyes! : )

  22. When I was in elementary school our neighbor’s son and his friend got bored and decided to cure their boredom by having sex. The girl consequently got pregnant. Shortly thereafter, my mom made me write and then sign a contract that said something like: “I promise that I am not the type of girl that will get bored and go out there and ‘do it’.”

    True story.

    I think she still has that contract.

  23. Haha, fantastic list!

    My list would need to include more bodily functions (such as, my son peeing on my foot, then proceeding to laugh hysterically and telling every random stranger for a least a week about it.)

    I also love that I am not the only one traumatized by Dora the Explorer. I will most definitely have nightmares about her for the rest of my life.

    Here’s another one for the list. I have put aside money from every single paycheck I’ve had since my kids were born for their college funds. Sadly, it took a little longer to start saving for my own retirement.

    That’s love right there folks.

  24. Oh #9!!! Why DO they like Goodnight Gorilla so much? And I’d add “listened to myriad Yo Gabba Gabba songs everyday all the time to the point that I heard them in my sleep.”

  25. Held you close and caught your puke as you unleashed all hell all over me as we descended to our final destination. Yes, I sat covered in puke as everyone deplaned (we were in like row 100 or something) and told you lovingly that it was okay when you apologized.

    Oh and who can forget the “I wiped your butt when you thought you were done pooping–you clearly were not.”

    I often wake up with a neck ache and my pillow artfully balanced on my night stand as you take up more room than seems someone your size needs.

    Kids–thank goodness they are cute 🙂

      1. Yeah, somewhere in the definition of motherhood there has to be “runs toward, rather than away from, puking human being.” I was not prepared for that.

  26. Happy to see that drawing of your mini-skirt wearing triangular-bustled bum again. Love that.

    A great list. Thanks!

  27. How about the projectile poop all over my shirt at the pediatrician’s office when the youngest was 5 days old? Yeah. That was fun. You always have extra outfits for them…not so much for yourself.


  28. Beautiful, funny and true… #31. I let you walk around with my heart in your little hands since the day you were born and you take my breath away daily. We’re talking SURVIVAL mode here, mija.

    She might still say it (I H&^% You”), but when you show her the list, a teeny bit of that loathing will be replaced by a more amused and empathetic, “My mom’s a score-keeping weirdo.” (Which, of course, I mean with the sincerest of respect, as I’m off to make my own said list.) 🙂

  29. mine have arrived at “I hate you,” which is brutal and I have to say that sometimes it’s on the tip of my tongue to say that the feeling is mutual. But I don’t say it, because I love them. My older son says something that hurts even worse, actually, and it’s YOU DON”T CARE. That one just kills me because, of course, I have a list like yours in my head of the 1, 353, 729.7 reasons that prove how much I DO care. Dammit. So maybe I’ll just print out this list, substitute block-head Caillou instead of Dora, add the facisti Thomas the Train, and sprinkle in a generous helping of the *(#$&#(*&% WIGGLES. I even took the kid to not one Wiggle concert, but two. harumph. don’t tell ME I don’t care.

  30. When you were little we endured the Cookie Monster and Big Bird as well as all those same things which you went through. And want to know the truth? It gets better and better.

    The best thing in the world is that you will endure forever. But one day your kids will hopefully become your best friends. And that makes it all worth while. I should know. It happened to me.

  31. #1054 Change content of my everyday bag: make up replaced with cheerio bags, flashlight upgraded to full blown talking/lighting/blinking toy.
    #1055 Skipped backpacking through Europe for my 30th birthday. Well, maybe not skipped, merely postponed (hope never dies)
    #1056 Endured 2 x 6 months of severe morning sickness (morning? why morning? it is all day and all night)
    #1057 Stopped caring what childless colleagues think when I leave early for nth time because of spring concert/ballet recital/karate make up lesson/dental app/pediatirican follow up…
    #1058 Explained conception (in great detail, as requested) to 8 year old without breaking a sweat.
    #1060 Gave up on TV during day
    #1059 (consequence of above) Gave up on volume button on my TV: everything is watched on mute, with closed caption on.

  32. Love this! The vomit would be big on my list as well. Also,

    – wiped your butt infinite number of times.
    -spent hours cooking well balanced meals for you, just to have you say you didn’t like it, BEFORE you even tasted it.
    — got asked by you in public if I was pregnant because my tummy looked big (I wasn’t — and it wasn’t just one time).

    And, so much more . . .

  33. Great list! And one that can be added onto daily. I find I do things for my kids I never thought I would do. But you’re right, I’d go through all of it again for them. Totally worth every tear, laugh, smile, and wince.

  34. Diarrhea. All over the crib, dripping onto the (carpeted) floor, down the leg, up the back…..

    Again in the tub.

    I went through two pair of dish gloves and a large amount of bleach that day.

    That one stands out among the crowd of “Had to clean up bodily fluids.”

  35. This feels like so many swabs of neosporin on a flaming red cut. The different chapters we’re all in, the camaraderie, commiseration and blatantly flip dish.

    They’re gonna hate, but they’re gonna know. Beautiful.

  36. The line about Dora just made me spit my coffee out. Thank you for this funny post.

  37. Yes to the hair (can I ever have short hair again?) and WHAT IS IT WITH DORA????

  38. Love your list! I’ll add: Catching your vomit in my hands so it wouldn’t land all over you while on an airplane (fyi, there was no bag in sight), crying to Christopher Cross’s Sailing (still embarrassing), and always sharing whatever is on my plate no matter how hungry I am or even if it’s my favorite, even if it’s chocolate.

  39. This is brilliant, hilarious and so true! Especially not saying FUCK! I mean I really, really love a good curse word.

    I think I may have her sign this today, before she hates me. Right now me and my 2 girls are 3 peas in a pod 🙂

Comments are closed.