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Posts Tagged ‘kids’

L demonstrated his lack of a firm grasp on numbers when he explained how he’ll always be older than S:

L: She’s only 2. I’m 4 now but soon I’ll be 5:30.

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Grandma recently took L to visit his great-uncle in a nursing home. It was time for weekly services, and L seemed puzzled by the congregation’s prayers:

L: What are they doing?

Grandma: They’re praying.

L: [Looks totally bewildered]

Grandma: L, do you know what praying is?

L: Yes, lions prey and jaguars prey….

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How boys play:

L: Here, S, take this magic wand.

S: ‘tay.

L: And this one is mine.

S: ‘tay.

L: And now… FIGHT TO THE DEATH!

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New mantra that I will share with L when he has a 4-year-old son (assuming we both live to see the day, and that my mantra is true enough for some woman to have kids with him):

He does not have a permanent personality disorder; he’s just 4. He does not have a permanent personality disorder; he’s just 4….

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WTF Tapas

Lately L wants to know not only what animal he is eating, but what part of that animal. He became upset yesterday over ham. Not because he was sad that he was eating pig, but because he was sad that the pig’s face had been removed.

Along these lines, when he asks what animal he’s eating, he checks to make sure he understands by doing an impression of the animal.

“What aminal is this from?”

“That’s chicken.”

“As in bok-bok chicken?”

“Yes, as in bok-bok chicken.”

These conversations have permeated S’s consciousness and now whenever she eats anything, she says “bok-bok” and does spastic chicken flapping with her arms.

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One of S’s favorite songs is Wheel’s on the Bus. Her favorite part is the horn going “toot, toot, toot” complete with horn honking motions. In our house, toots, and tooting have a whole ‘nother meaning. (Can you see where this is going?) Whenever S passes gas, she excitedly acts out honking a bus horn and shouts out “toot, toot, toot!” It’s so cute, it makes me just want to feed the kid beans.

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I’ve mentioned before that S has nothing interesting to say, and yet she talks constantly. I’ve tried explaining to her what ought to be said aloud, and what is not interesting enough to say. For example, while driving in the car in the afternoon, it is not necessary to observe, “Me no see moon.” One need not list all the things one does not see at a given time. I answered, “Me no see elephant.” She is not learning.

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Conversation with T at 6 AM this morning (we aren’t the happiest people at 6AM):

me: I ordered S her own clock so she can know when it’s morning.

T: What? Why?

me: What do you mean why?

T: Can’t we just rig one?

me: Rig one? With paperclips, weights and rubber bands? WTF are you talking about?

T: No, I meant with a lightbulb and a timer.

me: OMG, you’re a crazy man. She can have her own clock. She’s her own whole person.

S: Ya! Me me own person! Me me own person! Daddy, me me own person! Me me own person! Me me own person! Daddy! Daddy, me me own person…

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me to T: Maybe you could take L to the market with you and he might S-L-E-E-P in the car.

L (extremely excited): Does that spell “guns in the car”?

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There are days that I just don’t want to be The Mommy. I’m tired. I don’t want today to be all about the kids. Feeding the kids. Dressing the kids. Hearing the constant whines of discontent. Can’t there be a day when they are not discontented? Can’t they go from full to hungry without whining about it? Can they be bored without whining? Cold without whining? Hot without whining? Considering the tone of this paragraph by their mother, the answer is probably not.

This past week of displacement, poor sleep, missing my regular life and schedule has taken its toll on me. Yesterday we were all so happy to be home. S took an extra long nap in her own crib. T and L busied themselves trying to clear the yard of our fallen trees. Home itself was a novelty, so we all self-entertained. It seems that the novelty has worn off by this morning.

The living room that was tremendously clean yesterday is now covered in couch cushions, books, toys and food debris. The kitchen table has remnants of several breakfasts and snacks. Bags have not been properly unpacked and instead overflow their innards in the entry way and each bedroom. The restless, nervous anxiety of what are we going to do with the rest of the day??? has set in.

On our own, T and I would just do whatever. It was so easy. But with kids, it seems like something has to happen. We have to go somewhere, do something, plan something entertaining, enriching, exhausting. We can’t just hang out around the house, maybe run a couple of errands, take a nap, etc. A Sunday just isn’t what it used to be. Without the entertainment, enrichment and exhaustion, the kids just circle us like hungry hyenas. Each taking a turn at pouncing with a complaint or tantrum. On tired days like today, they’re more like vultures. They know I’m near my end, and they’ll wait. Creeping ever closer, attentive. I cannot shoo them away to play on their own.

I know that there are kids out there who can entertain themselves. Who can play together for more than 3 minutes without blood shed or tears. There are kids who can sit for hours doing crafts. So why didn’t I have a couple of those kids? The only thing that can occupy my kids for any length of time is destruction of my house. Purposeful destruction with the end goal of getting a parent angry and involved.

They’re outside now with T. Soon they’ll be in demanding hot cocoa and T will hand the unwanted parenting baton to me.

Kids, it’s Sunday for goodness sake! A day off. You are my job every other day, so today I get to rest from you. Get your own food. Find your own freaking socks! Figure out a way to put your own underpants back on after peeing, or just skip them altogether. I don’t care! Also, if you are strong enough to get the cushions off the couch, I know you are strong enough to put them back on. Don’t give me that bs. No, you are not hungry, just bored. Go play. You are a child. Outside are a couple of acres of fallen leaves, snow patches, woods, swings, bikes, scooters, balls and so much more! Figure it out already and leave me alone!

OK. I can feel the outdoor activity coming to an end. Someone is crying. My time here is done. Regardless of how much I don’t want to, I will not put on my own coat and boots and join the family out there. Sundays just aren’t Sundays anymore.

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S has memorized the How To Be An Annoying Younger Sibling Handbook. Hell, she may have revised the thing, adding new chapters such as “Sitting on Big Brother’s Head – Appropriate Situations to Employ This Most Dangerous Tactic,” and “When Hurting Yourself is Worth it in the Spririt of Getting Big Brother in Trouble,” and “Let’s Make Sure Mom Drinks Tonight.” My sweet little girl pulls hair, claws eyeballs and puts her own fingers into L’s mouth for him to bite. In her defense, she only does this stuff when she’s bored. And she will handle a whole minute of boredom before resorting to these measures.

She’s most bored when L watches TV. This is problematic for me because I plug L into the TV when I have something to do. Like cook dinner, make a phone call, or not kill him. So while I’m super busy cooking, talking on the phone, or not killing, S is in the other room stirring things up. She’s instigating a monster, and she knows it. She will sit on his head, (keep in mind, she’s usually not wearing anything on her bottom half,) pull his hair and claw at his eyes until he retaliates. In his defense, he has a HUGE tolerance for this type of crap. I have seen him watch an entire Wild Kratts with his sister on his head. When he does retaliate though, he does so with gusto. A swift twist, push and throwing maneuver and S is thrown from the couch altogether. He may leave it at that, or he may leap down after her and then the two are a blur of legs and arms as they wrestle it out on the floor.

L weighs 45 lbs. S weighs 23. Fighting is in L’s DNA. S doesn’t stand a chance.

This morning, L is plugged into a movie while I try to pack up all of our stuff as we can finally head home after a week of living with my parents. We have our electricity back and I can’t wait to get back to our normal lives. S does not want to watch a movie. So, naturally, she grabs a handful of eyeball. Like a pitbull, once she’s latched on, nothing can get her off. L is screaming and I’m yanking on S but she’s glued onto that eyeball. I finally free L from her clutches and put S into a time out. She does not stay in time outs so I am re-putting her in the corner again and again and then something strange happened.

A man came in and scooped her up. He gave her a hug and asked her if she will promise to be good. Through pathetic fake tears, she promises. He then releases her back into her freedom. WTF? Who is this man? He looks like my dad, but can’t be.

When I was growing up, my dad was the scary one. When we were naughty we quickly asked our mother, “Please don’t tell dad??” I think he still doesn’t know about the brand new ski jacket I lost in the 5th grade. (Sorry, Dad.) So who’s this softy letting my daughter out of her time out? I could have used this guy 30 years ago.

I guess the moral here is that we all have to wait about 30 years. Then when our terrible children have terrible children of their own, we can do whatever the eff we want. We can be the nice guy if we used to be the mean guy. We can give them Sugar Puff Honey Crack O’s for breakfast and then give them back to their parents. We can babysit and keep them up way past bedtime. All this is to say, that one day, we will have our revenge. Good things come to those who wait.

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Conversation over dinner the day after I came home from my spa weekend, proof that T watched hours Food TV with the kids while I was away:

L: Mommy, this is so good!

me: Thanks, L, glad you like it.

L: The pasta is cooked perfectly. And I love how the sauce is sweet and peppery at the same time. It tastes really good in my mouth. (This is all said with utmost seriousness, like a bona-fide food critic.)

me: Wow, thanks, L. That’s a really nice complement.

L: Yes. The sauce is very complemented.

On another night:

“All this flavorment is so great and awesome! I love the flavors and the, like, YUM.”

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S is fully potty trained. Yay! She now drops trou wherever and whenever she needs to pee. I have to keep a steady eye on this. Middle of the playground? In the library? Supermarket? Some places are better than others for this. Also, she is very independent and doesn’t always tell me when she’s going to go. I was outside with both kids and naturally paying attention only to my iPhone. I look up and S is running around with pants around her ankles. Soaking wet pants around her ankles. She’s not good at aiming, or pulling pants up apparently, but she’s perfectly willing to pee on the grass. Atta girl!

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Conversation in the car:

L: Mommy, did you know that peregrine falcons eat their own poop?

me: Really? Is that true? Did you learn that on Wild Kratts?

L: Yep. They eat it because they don’t have any other food.

me: Huh.

L: I mean, they have food. But they don’t have any money.

me: Peregrine falcons don’t have any money?

L: In their whole country there’s not enough money to buy a car to get the food home from the store.

me: And that’s why they eat their own poop?

L: It’s to survive.

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The fact that S blows kisses to me when she says goodbye has lost a little bit of its meaning ever since I saw her saying “bye-bye pee-pee” and blowing kisses towards the toilet as she flushed.

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I’ve mentioned before L’s favoring T over me. Nothing has changed on this front. On a recent Friday night L said to me at bedtime, “Daddy’s getting me up tomorrow. Can you please sleep or just stay in your room for a long long time?”

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S is proudly showing L all of her “artwork.” Instead of ignoring her and paying attention to the movie he’s watching. He hops off the couch and sits down in front of S. With each piece she displays, he exclaims, “It’s wonderful! That’s so beautiful! You made that?”

Heart melts. In moments like these I can almost (almost) forgive him for teaching S to say “Mommy is a stupid idiot.”
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Here’s a problem I have: I like to be expressive, really expressive. In the English language there are few words or phrases with more oomph than “fuck” and “Jesus Christ.” So, naturally, I say these and some other unsavory words a lot.

I realize that people might find these words offensive. Sorry. I don’t mean any offense. They’re just words to me.

I realize that some people might think I lack creativity if I can’t express myself without resorting to these. Maybe I do. But I like these words, and choose them on purpose.

My frequent swearing hasn’t been a huge problem for me since I was a kid myself. Back then, I got in trouble a lot, and there was not a single authority figure who was at all interested in my defense of, “But they’re just words!” At the ripe old age of 35, I’ve gone many years where the biggest repercussion I’ve suffered from my language is that I’ve probably repelled some people and made some lousy first impressions. Not terrific, but not a big deal.

Suddenly though, these very words are coming from the mouth of my 4-year-old. He is a frequent user of “damn” and “Jesus Christ;” thankfully, he’s backed off on his use of the f-word. For the first time I’m hearing these words in a different way. They’re fine coming from me to add some extra punch or humor, but from my preschooler? They sound so so wrong.

I could probably kick the habit, in front of the kids at least, if only I could avoid being aggravated, angry, frustrated and physically hurt. Considering who my 4-year-old is, avoiding these things is just not in the cards. So, do I teach him to do as I say not as I do? That would have bugged the hell out of me when I was a kid, so no. Do I stop saying them even when I step on a Lego after finding L stealing gum from my purse? I just don’t see that happening, so no. Do I teach him that there’s a time and a place for different kinds of language use? This is what makes the most sense to me, and it’s what I actually believe, but is there a time and place for a young kid to swear? Probably not.

I think I’ll just have to add this to my growing list of parenting fails. Unless he stops swearing, L will see the inside of many principal offices, just like his mother did. For his sake, I hope he quickly accepts that certain language is just not acceptable in certain situations. I hope that he does not take his mother’s childhood position of: I will continue to say these words to express myself until all the people around me realize they are just words, so they can lose their ridiculous, artificial power.

Hmm, I wonder where he gets his stubborn streak and his penchant to disobey authority?
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I want you all to know that I read every comment I get here and on my FB page and every single email. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the feedback, support, advice and points of view. There are too many awesome points for me to respond to each one, so I’m writing this as a general response:

  • Yes, I am still going to go forward with having L evaluated by someone who is not that douche-bag doctor we saw the other day. My objective is to find out what makes L tick, so I can help him tick in a way that will not piss me off is more socially acceptable.
  • You’re right, all kids behave worse at home. I should be happy and proud that L can behave so well at school. It does mean, at the very least, that he’s not a psychopath, sociopath, or any other kind of terrible-path. And it also shows that he trusts me enough to never really sell him on eBay.
  • I will try to look at L’s ransacking the baking/junkfood cabinet and the freezer at dawn today as a step towards his becoming an independent, self-reliant man. (Damn, some of you are very glass-half-full people!)
  • I had an aha moment today when I read this comment:

….I’ve found my kids doing the exact same things. They ignore rules they’ve known for years, make messes just for the sake of being messy, and misbehave for me while acting the angel for everyone else. I’ve also come to realize that every time they act this way, it’s because they know they can get away with it. I realize I’ve fallen into the parent trap of frustrated speech, not following through, and trying to plead with them to do what I told them. When I follow through with discipline and kind words, all goes back to normal…

Dean is totally right on. Things were bad with L a year ago, I got really strict and mean, things got better. Things were so good that I thought I was out of the woods. I let my guard down. I let small things slide. Small things snowballed into an avalanche of bad, and now I’m here. Time to bring back mean mommy. This will not be fun, but will probably provide blog-fodder.

So, watch out, L! Mean-Mommy is back. And Daddy’s going to bring back Hammer-T. I will try very, very, very hard not to react emotionally. I will suppress my inner combustible self. I will be nonplussed, calm, and mean.

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Here’s something that I find annoying: that I’m not in control of the entire world and everyone in it. I know, it sounds a bit control-freakish, and it might well be, but I think it’s annoying when other people say things to my kids that I would rather not be said.

Here’s a quick example of what I mean from just this morning: at Barnes & Noble L picks up some tool kit toy that comes in a case. He wants it. I’m paying for my book, (which happens to be The Explosive Child,) and I say, “L, please put that back. We’re not buying it.” Being my non-compliant child, he informs me that he WILL take it home and that he WILL NOT put it back. I give him a stern look and use my stern voice and say, “L, put it back please.” So far, nothing out of the ordinary for a 4-year-old and a mother in a bookstore, right?

I do realize that I’m a bitch because I think she’s stupid for saying this, and I also realize that in her own misguided way she probably had the best of intentions, but it still bugs me that the cashier said, “If you open that you’ll have to buy it.”

Ugh. Wrong thing to say. He wasn’t even trying to open it. Yet. So now he knows that if he opens it, he gets to have it. What would have taken possibly one more warning has now devolved into a chase, wrestling, crying incident as I need to get that toy out of his hands before he opens it. He’s now screaming, “BUT I GET TO KEEP IT IF I OPEN IT!!!”

I know, I know, other people aren’t responsible for my kid’s bad behavior. But, if I were in control of the entire world, this would not have happened. Worst part is, L is the thinking kind of kid. This nugget of an idea – that if he opens a toy in a store he gets to have it – will roll around and fester in his little brain and will re-emerge one day when I least expect it.

This is just one small incident. This child of mine is growing up and will soon spend a great deal of his time without me. He will not only hear what random cashiers say, but worse, his peers. His stupid, idiot peers. Please don’t be offended if you are a parent to one of those peers. I completely expect you to see L as one of your kid’s stupid, idiot peers. And he is. He will teach your sweet daughter to bend over, pull her butt cheeks apart and make farting noises. In exchange she might teach him to roll his eyes in exasperation. Or that he’s not supposed to like “girly” things. Or that he’s a loser for some reason or another. And there’s nothing any of us can do about it.

At 4, L is in his last year of learning most of what he thinks is true from me. Soon his friends, bigger kids, idiot famous tweens and non-PBS cartoon characters will hold a greater and greater influence over him. These people will say all sorts of stupid things in front of him. If I could just control everything and everybody, then this wouldn’t be a problem.
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“L, today you lose!”

This is what I found myself saying to L as I angrily and not-too-gently buckled S into the car. The truth is, today we all lose. I tried for a win, but it was just not in the cards.

Let’s back up to breakfast where L threw a fit because T made the wrong kind of oatmeal. Not between two kinds we have in the house, but between the one kind we have in the house, and a kind we once had, but have run out of. Offers of other breakfast items received a tongue out or some other rude response. L cried for about 35 minutes. Then he asked for raisins. I got some out, put them in a dish and gave them to him. He promptly threw the dish across the room and screamed that he wanted the whole container. (Something he’s never had, never been allowed to have, and he has no reason to think he would ever receive.) Here begins a second 30 minute round of sobs.

I’m still calm.

Instead of my usual engaging in the battle, sending him to his room where I have to stand at the door holding it closed while he destroys everything inside, I say things like, “That’s not an OK thing to do, even when you’re mad. It seems like you’re having a hard time controlling your emotions this morning. Can I give you a hug? Would that help?” (This offer was met with a defiant push.)

Meanwhile, S is having the kind of day where she falls completely apart at any perceived injustice. Including the fact that L is crying. She looks up to him and if he’s upset, then upset she must be as well. When he throws his milk cup, she throws hers. Then she cries for her milk.

I’m still calm. Against all odds. The cacophony in my house is something terrible. I turn on the TV and step away before I kill somebody stop being calm.

I decide that this day needs Something Big to turn it around. I know! It’s the last nice day before apocalyptic rains, let’s go to the super awesome park 30 minutes from here which has an amazing splash park where fountains shoot up from the ground, a train you can ride on through a mini zoo, a mini zoo, and so much playground equipment that a child could never run out of things to act crazy on.

I pack a bag full of towels, bathing suits, snacks, drinks, bubbles, and throw the bikes in the car for good measure. On the way L complains that it’s too long a drive.

Are you fucking kidding me? I think. But, “Hmm, OK, maybe we can do something else,” I say.

So I stop at a family mini-golf spot about 15 minutes away instead. This will be fun!

This was not fun. We got to the third hole, with difficulty, and that’s when L stuffed the tubes that the balls should go into and shoot out of full of rocks and woodchips, totally ruining the fun for everyone else ever.

That’s what did it. I did not stay calm. I dragged both kids back to return the putters, which had only been used as projectiles, and to the car. This is where I told L that he loses. I know he can’t possibly understand what I mean, that I tried hard, and now I will not try anymore.

Instead of fun, we’ll run errands. We go to Whole Foods. I sternly warn them that they do not want to cross me any more today.

Some fun with numbers:

4: the number of separate strangers in the market who looked at me, not unkindly, and said, “Wow, you’ve really got your hands full.”

2: the number of people who thought the kids were cute walking around with baskets on their heads who I offered my children to.

11:31AM: current time, the time when I effectively quit my job for today.

7 hrs 29 minutes: time until bedtime, I will be counting.

5 hrs 29 minutes: time until I pour a glass of wine.

14 years: time until L goes off to college.

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Turns out toddlers have Cockney accents. Mine does anyway. This is most commonly expressed in that she now runs around saying “‘appy!” all day long. It’s clear that she means ‘happy.’ People she says this to think it’s adorable that this little child is telling them that she’s happy. She says it to check-out workers, random passers-by, just about everyone she sees. Only I know the true meaning. That is, she is not informing people of her pleasant disposition, rather she is demanding that they sing “If You’re Happy and You Know it,” her favorite song.

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For those of you who missed the Facebook post about this, I think it bears repeating. Yesterday I took L to Old Navy. Normally, I try not to take him anywhere that includes indoors/stuff he can ruin/other people/any waiting, etc. But he was in a sweet mood and we were shopping for T’s upcoming birthday, so I risked it. For the most part, he was good. So good in fact that I didn’t even notice that it was quiet for about 10 seconds while I paid for my items. Turns out, 10 seconds is exactly enough time for L to wander over to the mannequin family, undo the pants of the girl mannequin and pull them down. When I exclaimed, “L!” upon seeing this he simply responded, “I just wanted to check on her bagina.”

Words complete fail me as I redress the fake girl and get the F out of there.

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I’m now worried that L is a future adrenaline junkie and I’m going to spend my life in anxious agony as he spends his like those guys from Jackass. This worry stems from his love of ice-cold water poured over his head. I’m talking, ice-cold. For some reason, when T gives L a bath he allows this ridiculous activity. L keeps the tap on freezing, and continually refills a large container with the torture water and then dumps it over his own head. This causes him to convulse as  his body copes with the insult. As soon as the convulsions subside, he refills the bucket for more abuse. WTF?

These guys have mothers:

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I may be a genius. Or maybe I’m just emerging from the rock I’ve been under. Either I just figured out a great little trick, or I’ve been unaware that every other parent out there already knows this, and how could I not?

Some background:

L is happy to have a bucket of water dumped on his head pretty much anytime, anywhere. The upside to this penchant is that he’s been happy in the bath since he was a baby. (Although he was decidedly unhappy in his first bath, if memory serves.) Washing his face and hair was never a problem. Then came S, who is quite delighted to be in the water. Is happy as anything playing with the toys and bubbles and washcloths. But woe be to the person who tries to touch her! And may the person who pours water over her head be forever damned!

I’m the meaner parent, so pouring water over S’s head is my job. My wanting-to-complete-the-task impulse is stronger than my feel-bad-for-miserable-toddler impulse. (This is not a surprise.) Luckily, S has had barely any hair until pretty recently. Not sure if you remember or not, but not long ago I made the comparison between S’s hair and that of a certain celebrity:

I'm not kidding. S was a dead-ringer for the Captain.

Good thing for S, her hair has since grown out a bit, into a toddler-chic shag do. Suddenly she needs conditioner. This involves so many more cups of water poured over S’s head. So much more misery. My Efficient v. Empathetic scale started to move.

Here comes the stroke of genius (or my personal discovery that the sky is blue):

I use leave in conditioner in my hair, why not use it in S’s?

This has changed my life. Well, my evenings. Well, the evenings in which I bathe my children. If you don’t do it already, try it!

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Poor S has a disadvantage. Well, let me rephrase that. Poor me, S has a disadvantage. She has L to learn from. Now L has many, many wonderful characteristics that make him a great big brother to have, but he also has many, many annoying traits and habits, and those seem to be the ones S is attracted to.

S gets hurt a lot while following in her big brother’s wild footprints. He’s big and coordinated and she’s small and clumsy. This makes what might be a simple climb, leap and roll maneuver for L, a catastrophe and blood-letting for S.

But what’s gotten my attention lately is not the constant injury, but the mess. See, S naturally is a neat person. She’s the one who puts other people’s toys and dishes away whether they’re done with them or not. She likes things in their place. She knows where her shoes are at all times, because she puts them away. It’s in her nature. But L is wearing off on her at such an alarming rate that it’s actually changing her very nature!

For a child who never liked to have food on her hands, she has come a long way down the slippery slope of slobdom. Let’s use yesterday’s painting activity as an example. Out of desperation to get outside, but unable to because of constant thunder and lightening (despite the sunshine), I set the kids up on the porch with some paints. I provided brushes, dressed them in smocks, and went inside for about 2 minutes. I came out to find this:

I think there's a piece of paper in there somewhere.

Is that paint on my house? Why yes, it is. I found this mess somewhat alarming. Hang on, I’ll be right back with some wet rags. Just don’t touch anything…

Oh, that smock was in my way so I just took it off and painted myself.

Think all that paint will come off the porch floor easily? Neither do I.

The truth is that I should have known better. This is not the first time that something like this has happened around here. Did I ever tell you guys about this time?

At least they're working together.

What’s that definition of crazy again? Something about doing the same thing and expecting different results? I guess I qualify.

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Despite my apparently abysmal parenting (see Diana’s comment), L is growing into a good human. As you may have read, he recently decided to donate a large portion of his life’s savings to help hungry children in Somalia. His donation rounds up to $5. Some people expressed an interest in matching this. Together, we could make a big difference in the lives of people who are really suffering.

So, I tried to set up a place where people could donate but couldn’t figure out how to get the Paypal account for donations separate from my personal Paypal account, and time has just been ticking on. So, instead, I’ll just share my links with you all and you can take it from there.

I found a helpful article on ways to help here: http://saveone.net/#1745413/It-Takes-an-Army-to-Solve-a-Crisis-3-Ways-to-to-help-fight-the

I decided to donate his money, and my additional contribution, to World Food Programme.

Nearly all of the food handed out in Dadaab comes from the World Food Programme (WFP). Each year, 90 million people are fed by WFP, 58 million of whom are children. A donation to WFP goes a long way – every $1 you give provides a meal for 4 children.

One dollar feeds 4 children? L helped give a meal to 20 children?? Amazing. If you’re interested in matching his donation, making your own, or passing the word around, their donation page is here: https://www.wfp.org/donate/hoa_banners

I know this post is way off topic from my usual, but I wanted to follow-up on L’s emerging philanthropic spirit. By the way, he has not forgotten about it. He keeps asking me if his money is helping people and if people are still hungry. I would love to tell him that his generosity inspired others to do the same!

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Another special day with L ruined by none other than L. I dropped S off at daycare, took L back home and we went on a long bike ride. Back home for an early lunch and then I took him to the movies. We even had popcorn and candy – a real treat around here. He’s been to the movies 3 or maybe 4 times, but has never had anything from the concession stand. So far, the day is a resounding success. But wait…

Upon exiting the theater, I turn on my phone to find 3 voicemails. S has a fever and needs to be picked up.

This is where L turns from lucky kid out for a great day with his mom to horrible, ungrateful, evil, selfish little bugger who’s about to get what’s coming to him. He doesn’t want to leave because he wants to sit on the arcade motorcycle game, with no quarters put into it, and pretend to ride. “I’m sorry, your sister is sick and I need to pick her up. They’ve been trying to reach me for a long time. We have to go.”

He leaves with me, but pouts about it. “I never get to do anything special.” (Yes, he says this as we leave the movie theater, while we are still in the middle of a special outing. WTF?)

On the ride home from picking up S:

“Can I ride my bike when we get home?”

“No, it will be rest time.”

“Yes I can. I can do whatever I want. You can’t stop me, Stupid.”

This is when I see some movement in the rear view mirror. For no reason, after no provocation whatsoever, L’s arm reaches across and does something to S which makes her scream and cry.

“What did you do?”

“Nothing, I swear, she’s just crying.”

S holds her arm, crying and crying. Obviously L is lying. I pull the car over.

“Tell me what you did.”

“I didn’t do anything. I promise.”

“You’re lying to me. I saw you.”

“You did? Uh, I did this.” (demonstrates pinching.)

What kind of little shit of a person just reaches out and pinches someone for no reason? A sick toddler no less? So, I did the only reasonable thing that came to mind: I pinched his arm.

OK, OK, so it was not reasonable, nor well thought out, nor done with more pain to me than him but for his benefit as a lesson. I did it because I was pissed off and wanted to hurt him. Just a little.

Well, he cried the whole way home telling me that I’m stupid and mean and that I’m not supposed to pinch back no matter how bad he is or what he does to S. And honestly, I’m not sure if he’s right or wrong about all of that.

He’s now upstairs throwing things down and I’m trying my best to ignore him.

So, will our great morning leave a lasting impression on him? Will he remember his mom as the person who goes on bike rides, goes to the movies and indulges in popcorn? Or the mean lady who pinched him when she should have known better?

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L is too old for naps. And I’m too old (tired, cranky, lazy) to have him not nap. So we have “quiet time.” Basically, this boils down to time he must spend upstairs leaving me alone. I try to provide him with nice, quiet, calming activities, but mostly he jumps off of his bed and other furniture until I allow him back downstairs.

Lately, he has shown a small interest in coloring. Until now he never had the slightest enthusiasm or patience for any type of arts and crafts at all. Trying to foster any quiet pastime, today I gave him a new Superman coloring book and a new package of markers. I also gave him 3 rules:

  1. All caps must be replaced on the markers,
  2. You may only color on the paper provided,
  3. You may not eat the markers.*

*You may think this rule isn’t necessary, but he recently did eat a marker, so it needs to be mentioned. 

One would think that a nearly 4.5-year-old child could be trusted with paper, markers and 3 simple rules. I imagine that all of your children could be trusted with them, right? Not my L! He broke at least 2 of them. When he came downstairs I found that his entire face and body were covered with marker.

“L! What the heck happened to you??” (I think I said heck.)

“We were playing color-your-face-in.”

“Who?”

“My aminals [sic] and me.”

He then brought me upstairs where I discovered several stuffed animals with similar facial marker decorations. All the markers were strewn around the room, capless. And all of his drawers were emptied. Which has nothing to do with the marker thing, but is so fucking annoying.

So, now he’s upstairs crying at the injustice of me making him clean up his room without my help and I’m down here fuming that I don’t have a NORMAL child who can play with markers without doing something as weird as coloring all over himself and/or eating them. WTF?

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Lots of little things happen that aren’t quite enough for a blog post. So, I’m trying something new – a post full of bite sized WTF moments. It’s like WTF tapas.

I am at odds with myself. My Risk Adverse Nature vs My Lazy Nature duke it out every time I have to cross the toy-strewn basement playroom carrying a heap of laundry that I cannot see over. Risk breaking my neck? Or stop and pick up toys?

Turns out I’m a risk taker after all!

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Conversation with L in the car:

L: What is the thing doing to the orf?

me: What??

L: The orf. What is the thing with the orf?

me: Are you saying ‘orf’? I don’t know that word.

L: ORF! The orf in the sky.

me: Where did you learn the word?

L: I just know it. Orf. The orf in the sky. Up in the sky. The orf.

me: The sun? It’s an orb. Do you mean orb?

L: No. The orf!

me: I don’t know what an orf is. Please explain it another way.

L: The orf you stand on.

Any guesses? At this point I figured it out. L was asking about the Earth and recycling. 

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I go to the Dunkin’ Donuts drive thru for coffee about once a week on average. Sometimes it’s closer to daily. Anyway, every time I order my coffee L yells from the backseat, “And some donuts for me!” This never works. I explained to him that they only listen to grown ups, and not little kids. Now each time I go through the drive thru, L puts on his best, deepest, most serious grown up voice – which sounds like Louis Armstrong on helium – and shouts “And some donuts for me!” So far, this still is not working for him.

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This morning I awoke to the cutest sound over the monitor from S’s room. L had joined her in her crib along with an armful of books, and was “reading” Brown Bear, Brown Bear to her. This is the stuff I love about having two kids. It’s a nice balance to all the annoying stuff they fight over. (Which is everything.)

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Young children ask a myriad of stupid and annoying questions, well, L does anyway. (Don’t let anyone tell you there’s no such thing as a stupid question, because there is.) Here are my top five stupid/annoying questions L asks me all the time, (in addition to the ever-present, ever-annoying “why?”):

1. Is dinner ready yet?

No, Kid. Dinner is not ready. When dinner is ready I say “dinner’s ready!” and I give you a plate of food. If that has not happened, dinner is not ready. I promise you’ll be one of the very first to know.

2. Is it morning yet?

Is it dark out? Are you talking to two lumps in Mommy’s and Daddy’s bed or awake and dressed people? Look around for clues before asking your dumb-ass question please. And close the door on your way out.

3. Do you wanna see me _______?

Chances are, no, I don’t. Whatever the thing you want to show me is, you’ve probably been doing it nonstop for a while now. Or you’re going to hurt yourself, or break something, or hurt someone else. Basically, I’ve already seen you do just about everything that I allow you to do. And this is not the “you show.” I don’t want to sit and watch you flail about and act like you’re doing anything great.

4. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaase???

Why do you think that a long, drawn out, beseeching whine is going to change my mind? Has it ever worked for you? Here’s a tip that will save you lots of time: it will never work. Give.it.up.

5. Is it later yet?

Like an elephant, L never forgets. If you tell him “maybe later” he takes that as a sworn oath that whatever it was you were talking about will materialize at some future time. He asks if it’s later yet out of the blue – unrelated to any recent conversations or postponements that I can think of. The only right answer to this question is “why?” I cannot confirm if it is in fact later yet unless I know what he expects to happen if the answer is yes. Is he asking if he is old enough to chew gum yet or if I’ll let him watch a movie? He can catch the unawares and uninitiated off guard with this one. Remember, the only right answer is “why?”

Any annoying questions your kids pester you with that I’ve missed?

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I spend most of my time here talking about L. Once in a while I write about S’s adorable-ness, but she definitely takes a backseat in terms of the percentage of my angst she causes compared to her brother. So here’s something you may not know about her: she doesn’t really talk yet. At 21 months old, she is waaaaaaaaaaay behind her peers. While they are putting together simple phrases and consistently naming the objects around them, S says only a small handful of single words. Words like up, mama, dada, more, bye-bye, boo-boo. It was nearly a year ago when I was told to worry that she didn’t know a cow says moo. Guess what? She still doesn’t know.

S can understand anything that is said to her. She can follow a series of directions and will point to the correct object when I name it. Her problem is clearly not cognitive. Is she just lazy? She is actually quite able to tell me a whole story with a combination of charades and simple words. She can, for example, convey that she has a boo-boo on her head because she was on the couch and L pushed her off causing her head to hit the coffee table. Since she’s so good at communicating this way, why bother talking?

Whatever the reason for her delayed speech, my it-will-work-itself-out approach hasn’t been effective (yet). So today I’m having her evaluated to see if she’s eligible for early intervention. I imagine that she’s going to fall just to the normal side of the upper limit of what would qualify. Meaning that she’s speaking at the bottom-most possible level of what is considered normal. And this will be fine with me, because I do still believe it will work itself out. It’s just taking longer than I anticipated.

Funny thing is that when L was about 19 months old I had him evaluated for the very same reason. He had 3 words, which only I could understand: “ma-em” for milk. “cheese” for please, and “do-do” for thank you. (So polite!) I set up the appointment and by the time the team of evaluators arrived at my door a few weeks later, L was totally talking. And hasn’t stopped since. (rim-shot) I attributed L’s lateness to the fact that he’s a boy, and that he was too busy figuring out how to run, jump, climb, and break dance to bother learning to talk. But not only is S a girl, she also spends a lot less time break dancing. Anyway, I fully expected her to start talking before the evaluation date, but it’s in an hour, and she wasn’t talking this morning and she’s sleeping now, so I think that’s not happening.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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There is someone out there who likes me enough to put my writing on her blog. This person is JD from Momagement Matters, who I recently got the chance to hang out with at Bloggy Boot Camp. Over post-conference drinks we hatched a plan for me to write a guest post for her blog, which deals with the particular challenges of a working mom. She writes with humor and heart, she’s super cool, and is totally adorable. I guess the last one doesn’t really directly affect her blog, but it’s worth mentioning.

So go check out Momagement Matters, become a fan like I am, and read my post which answers the age-old question: who has it worse SAHMs or WOHMs?

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I will never be a high achieving stay at home mom. Part of me wants to be, but a bigger part of me is lazy. Once in awhile I do something that those cool moms do. My something from today was going for a jog on the local bike path with S in the stroller and L on his bike. I saw a bunch of other moms out there doing the same. The kind I (sort of) want to be like. They looked like they do this sort of thing all the time. I did not. I looked like someone you might want to administer first aid to.

Anyway, the reason I will never be like these other moms is that their jog with their 2 kids was one tiny piece in their successful day of action, while I feel like I’m done. I did something good for me, fun for the kids, healthy for everyone. I’m done. I win for the day, day over. But the day isn’t over. It’s not even 10:00. What now? What more do these small people expect from me? A lot.

L wanted to go straight to a playground. That was not an option because of the aforementioned looking like I needed first aid problem. So after sitting around for awhile near the parking lot and calling it a “snack picnic”, (so I could stop sweating,) we came home. I told the kids it was lunch time and they are obediently eating the lunch I put in front of them even though it is only 10:45. When they finish, I will lie again and tell them it’s nap time.

They’ll go into their respective rooms to sleep/bounce off the walls and I’ll be able to shower. My greedy right-now-self is psyched for the early nap. I am completely disregarding my poor 2-hours-from-now self who will have a longer than usual afternoon with 2 wakeful kids. Instead of being satiated by the morning’s family fun, they will be bottomless pits of craving for more of the good stuff.

So all of you moms who fill your days with family jogs, then family baking, then family puzzle making, family imaginative play, family chalk drawing, and other enriching activities, I envy you – but not quite enough to be you.

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