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Life lessons from Emma and Benny

As a mother, most of my day is spent teaching, everything from how to zipper a jacket to why we say “thank you.” But I never realized just how much my children would teach me.
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By Beth Vrabel

As a mother, most of my day is spent teaching, everything from how to zipper a jacket to why we say “thank you.”

But I never realized just how much my children would teach me.

Here are a few life lessons, courtesy of Emma, 5 (“and three-quarters”), and Benny, 2.

·Dandelions are beautiful.

·The cure for sadness is twirling, if you do it fast enough.

·Everything tastes better with cheese or chocolate on top. Just not both.

·If you’re feeling miserable, chances are you’re hungry, you’re tired or you smell bad.

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·If you see a ball, you should kick it or throw it. It might end up being an orange, but you should try anyway.

·Ants are amazing.

·Even though Mama tells you an ant won’t come back to life if you accidentally-on-purpose step on it, you still should put it on a tissue paper pillow and sing it a song. Just in case.

·Puddles are meant to be jumped in, even if you are wearing brand-new sneakers.

·Sometimes, if you want to be happy, you should just laugh. Eventually, other people will laugh with you and then it won’t sound so weird.

·If someone is your size, he is your friend. If he’s bigger or smaller than you, he is your friend, too.

·When someone is mean, stop playing with him.

·Fairies are real.

·Nightmares are real, too, until you tell someone about them. Then they stop.

·Horses, dust bunnies and worms are creepy up close. So is Santa.

·If you’re going to build a castle, you’re going to have to sit down in the sand.

·When you love someone, you should sit as close as possible to her.

·Sometimes you just need a hug from your mom.

Beth Vrabel lives York County, Pa., with her children, Emma, 5, and Benny, 2.


Conversations with Emma and Benny

One of the worst things about the holiday season is making small talk at gatherings. How interesting can the weather, the economy and Balloon Boy be?

Puppy Love

Emma had puppy fever. All she talked about was puppies. How cute they are, how responsible (“consponsible,” as she put it) having one would make her, how if she could just have a puppy she would never, never, never want anything else ever, ever, ever.

An Obsessive Trait

Seeing how different my children are from myself can be jarring. But seeing how much we’re alike is more of a shock.

Everyone Loves Christmas Magic

The three-year age difference between my children is never more apparent than at the holidays.

Being a Parent is Messy Business

My little guy, age 3, hadn’t played outside in what felt like weeks. Sure, the grass was soggy, and small piles of snow peppered the ground. But the sun was shining, and Benny was decked out in his new waterproof boots. So we went out to play.

Some Questions Can’t Be Neutered

Poor puppy Jasper is getting a little snip-snip that will hopefully make displaying inappropriate affection for Emma’s stuffed pony but a distant memory of dogs gone wild. And because I (foolishly) taught my children to be inquisitive beings, there are a lot of questions surrounding this event.

Hold On To The Moment

I wonder how much loss aversion influences my parenting. How what I’ve gained slips through my fingers like a minnow, flashing away before I appreciate its beauty, while what I’ve lost crashes like a boulder into still water, rippling through me long after first impact.

Mamas Say The Darndest Things

Some rules parents set are obvious. Don’t hit, don’t bite, play nice. And then there are the rules that, even as the words fall from our lips, we are sure no one has ever had to actually utter until that moment.