I've been saying "please" an awful lot lately.
{at the zoo} Please come. No, not that way -- this way. COME please!

{at the campsite} Please lie down in your bed. Please be quiet. Please don't wake up your brother. Please.

{at the beach} It's time to go. Please come now!
I have a two year old. And he has red hair. Not sure any of that matters, but we might want to let him grow up a bit--at least pass into a different stage--before we do any more solo parenting adventures.

It's just a stage. {repeat}

Apart from the not-coming-when-I-call bit, the beach adventures have been pretty fun. It's cute to watch them. As soon as we get to sand, Peter sits down and begins to build something. Ezra starts running and then throwing sand.

Hence the particles of sand I keep finding...everywhere. Not a fan of the sand grit in between my teeth.

It's their giant sandbox. And they love it. Next time we'll bring two shovels. And maybe a book for mama.

Because mommies need to rest too.

It's hard for me to admit anything less than perfection -- I grew up with the belief that if I didn't attain that level, reach that mark...well, we didn't really talk much about what would happen if I didn't, but i knew it wasn't going to be pretty. Genetically, I'm a striver. A people pleaser. A do-it-the-right-way-every-time kinda girl.

But I do get impatient with my children. And then I look both ways for CPS. I glow embarrassment when I realize who was listening to me behind the dunes. Maybe it would be a good time for another chapter in "I'm a Good Mother".

It would read something like this: "You carry your 30-pound child up and down hills of dry sand. You supply food, water, and milk, setting up two tents and making cozy sleeping quarters for both children. You wait for their slow feet and curious hands. You chase them and give them tickles. You are brave. You are a good mother."

But in my mind, one impatient, angry word cancels out all the good. And I gave Peter a whole string of them.

I apologized, of course, and then used the situation as a teachable moment, explaining to him how it all made me feel, telling him how he could do better next time.

It's hard -- I feel like such a failure -- but, despite all my weaknesses, he is learning important life lessons. The hard way. I wish it was easier for both of us. I wish I could think of a better way sometimes.

But this is real life. It certainly looks nice in the pictures. 

But life's not always a beach.

And no, you may not have another bite of ice cream, but thanks for saying "please". You've been hearing it enough lately.