With sprinkles on top

Sep 27

Oh, Greta.  She has always been stylish.  She has been systematically un-pairing outfits that I’ve lined up in her closet and mish-mashing them together to make new Greta-styled combinations for years.  Most of the time, she looks pretty great; I actually think she has a knack for pairing prints together.  I would never intuitively make the pairings that she does, but I honestly end up liking the overall effect.  She’s Greta, after all, and she makes her own mark on the world.  Most of the time, I don’t make a stink about outfit (or hair, or shoe, or sock, or jewelry) choices.  She has been wearing summer shorts and capris smeared in nail polish because at the end-of-summer I gave up supervising her arduous nail-painting process.  Her favorited pieces are re-worn the minute they come out of the wash.  Her hair clip(s) are always completely random and do not match any part of the accompanying outfit.  SuperGramma got her twenty pairs of awesome, loud, patterned, printed socks last Christmas, so now she has socks she loves and no longer wears mis-matched socks for dramatic effect.  She sneaks into my bathroom and tries on my makeup.  She knows she is not supposed to do this, which is why she sneaks.  The kid owns her style.

Today was picture day.

Now, I care about pictures from picture day.  I have two 8×10″ frames in my kitchen with the girls’ yearly photos in them.  I put the newest one in front and store the older ones behind it.  One of my favorite things in the year is changing out the new photos because we pull out all the old ones (for Maren there are many year’s worth in there!)  We marvel over how much they grew, or how different they look, or which teeth are different, etc, etc, etc.  They are growing so fast when you line up those pictures!

Yesterday Greta was practicing her picture day smile in the bathroom mirror.  (Completely her initiative.  You already knew that, right?  I am clearly not the type of mother who would make a child rehearse that, no matter how much I care about picture day pictures.)  As she posed with different expressions I made a series of goofy smile faces at her in the mirror.  She looked at me with horror, “Mom!  I cannot do that with my eye sprouts or I will look like I am making the mean mom face!”

(Eye sprouts = eyebrows, in case you didn’t catch that.)  “So going like this,” I arch my eyebrows at her, “is my mean mom face?”

“Yeah!” as she whirls out of the bathroom.  Obviously.

I knew that Greta’s outfit negotiations were going to be a thing.  I also really only cared about what she wore from the ribcage up, so I entered the “what are we wearing for picture day” conversation with a mindset that she could wear mis-matched boots if she wanted to, as long as she had something nice on top.

So how did the conversation go?  It was rough, people. It was rough.  We went through a couple of false starts where we thought we had a winner, but — alas — each one had some kind of un-recoverable fault.  As my pile of possibilities whittled, I pulled out the big guns.  I held out the hand-me-down dress that Maren wore for her kindergarten picture day and said, “Greta,” in my most serious mom voice.  “If you wear this one,” dramatic pause, “you can have ice cream for breakfast.”

“Yes Sir Mommy!” she exclaimed.  “You’ve got it!”

And that is the story of the day that Greta (and Maren) had ice cream (with sprinkles on top, because at that point, why not) for breakfast.

I dunno if you all are thinking I am the worst mom ever or brilliant, but I feel pretty good about the way it all worked out.  The grins on their faces as they ate their ice cream breakfasts were pretty amazing.  Greta tells me she smiled beautifully, and I have no doubt that she did.

Maren, if you are wondering, decided what she was wearing for picture day in July.  Could my children be any more different?!  On a family date night this summer, we went to one of her favorite stores and she picked out an outfit on sale.  She was glowing with delight at such an impromptu treat, and exclaimed, “Thank you Mommy!  I love it!  I’m going to wear this for the first day of school AND for picture day!”  Sure enough, she did.

Phone update: still operating with one foot on the grid, and am praying for the techno-recovery people.  And still feeling really, really, really dumb.  But trying to get over it.


  1. Precious story. Praying !

  2. Marlayne /

    Jen ~
    All I can do is Smile Really Big on this one 🙂

  3. Yes, brilliant. Insanely brilliant.

  4. Kim Rourke /

    Ice cream wins out again as the best positive reinforcement! Way to go, Jen!

  5. Hillary in San Diego /

    Best mothering move I have heard in a long time! If we can have breakfast for dinner, ice cream for breakfast is genius. Milk has protein..haha. “Yes Sir Mommy” is also so great–you can hear the excitement. Love it.

  6. Allanah /

    You go girl!!!!!! Maren and Greta get to eat icecream however you are the standout winner in this story. Was it UDF????? my favorite

  7. Lisa Smith /


  8. Best Mom Award for you!

  9. Diana Gibson /

    Ice Cream = breakfast ie milk, sugar, some additives, flavourings etc, just no cereal/carbo thingos that the unfrozen breakfasts provide! Luv it

  10. Melissa /

    I think you are a brilliant mother!

    I don’t often comment, but I’ve been following your story for a while and your family continues to be in my prayers (including the picture recovery!).

  11. Hey, we’ve been known to eat Birthday ? for breakfast…. Certainly a worthy negotiation for picture day ?. Praying for your day and further phone recovery…. Know the pain that represents!!!

  12. Tiernan /

    I love this!

  13. Cindy Mitchell /

    Love it Jen.. No problem with Ice Cream for breakfast.. you go Mom..