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February 2, 2011

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My mother was a really good mom.

She made us wash our hands when we got home from school. We ate well-balanced meals, and, almost always, we ate them as a family at the dinner table.

She helped with our homework, sat with me while I practiced the piano, and one time, she made a papier-mache R2D2 costume for my brother using a garbage can as a mold and covered the entire thing with tin foil. It must have taken HOURS.

She made us do chores, within reason, but never called them that ’cause she didn’t like the connotation. We kept our rooms clean, we brushed our teeth after meals, and when I couldn’t fall asleep, she would sit on the edge of my bed, patting my back and singing to me, softly.

But, despite all that exceptional parenting, every once in a while she let me have an ice cream sundae for breakfast. Yes, breakfast. Chocolate sauce, peanuts, a cherry – the works.

I look back on this now and I’m kind of shocked. Would I ever let my kids have ice cream for breakfast, much less, a sundae?!

(I might add, on the morning after Thanksgiving, we always had pumpkin pie. But that’s practically breakfast – eggs, milk, squash…)

You see, my mother was the queen of moderation. A little is a good thing. A little play, a little work, a little free time, and a little dessert. Sometimes, a little at very inappropriate times.

Did I grow up with unhealthy eating habits? Gosh, no. I remember far more the rituals that were good ones – the washing and the brushing and the dinner table and the balanced meals.

I had actually forgotten all about the breakfast sundaes when recently, they arose to the surface.

Last Friday, Scooby had finally met a reading goal that we had struggled wtih all month. It seemed like a good opportunity for a reward.

It wasn’t breakfast, but rather, dinner.

Ice cream cones topped with gummy worms.

They loved every minute of it, and so did I.

Maybe mom’s reason (excuse?) was the same as mine – just a chance to see her children’s joy.

I wrote about a similiar experience a few years ago and am delighted to share that it was published by MOPS International last month. You can find the article online: “Random Acts of Niceness.”

Do you have any random rituals that defy traditional parenting?

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