Monday, May 21, 2012

How much is enough?

You've read the articles and the books, heard the hype, asked your friends, and consulted with parents...about how to be the best parent you can be.

"Are you Mom enough?"
Do you know "What to expect when you're Expecting?"
Do you have "belly Laughs?"
or do you have "The happiest Baby on the Block?"

Odds are, you are, you do, you may, and you might.

But do you feel like you are?

I don't.

Is it my fault that I have what others have stated "A wild child", "A terrible Child", "A lot of kid", and "a very energetic little one?" 

He doesn't sit still.  He can't be left alone with strangers ( new babysitters etc.) He stops when I say "red light" then says "green light means Go Go Go!" and continues to run.  His energy is he has a little tesseract cube inside him.

What two year old refuses to nap, then finds himself not being able to sleep until anywhere between 9:30 and 11:00pm?

OK, here's the most recent example:  This weekend was a very important graduation for a very favorite friend of ours.  We were prepared, we had everything we could possible need; food, diapers, change of clothes, new toys, camera, distractions, etc.  Really, we had it all.  We got perfect seats, had a perfect view, and arrived in time to relax before the place filled up...

... Graduation had not even begun before Daniel needed to get up and run around the theatre... down the rows, up the stairs, down the stairs, across the mezzanine, along the marble landing, in and out of bathrooms and over and over again.  We pick him up, bring him back to our seat and firmly tell him we need to whisper, sit and look for "AJ." It works for a minutes before he is back up again.  Once the benediction began he was running...we decided to let him play with the Kindle Fire some learning games.  The volume was muted, but, who can be heard clear across the entire crowd?  Oh yes... Daniel yelling: "Banana! Yellow! Grape! Green!  Yeah that wasn't working.  Then not to be outmatched, Amelia started yelling "Da-da!" and "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!"  Of course we picked them up and removed them as not to disturb others.

Soon after Brian and I strapped those talkers (turned yellers)  into their stroller and packed them up to go back to the hotel.

I stayed back by myself - I wasn't going to miss it.

But, before I sent Brian off with the kids, I had a minor break down:  "What am I doing wrong?  How can other kids still still and ours can't?  I feel like such a bad mom, am I?

The fast answer to this is "You're doing great, he's only 2  1/2, all kids are different, and would you want to sit still if you were not even 3 years old?"

Sure sure, great advice I'd give to any mom who posed a similar question to me.  Hard as a Stephen hawking thinking question to answer with any discernible clue.

Should I be more firm?  yes.  How do I enforce the rules? Time our doesn't seem to work, and smacking him around is not in the cards.  If I close him in his room, he'll start to scream , cry and then his asthma kicks in and he throws up everywhere.

I'm at a loss.

Perhaps I don't need any advice, though knowing there are other parents out there who face similar issues. 

Are we the only parents who can't go out with our children? 

Behavior.  Are they on their best behavior?  Well, folks, sadly, there are.  You should see them when they are NOT on their best behavior.

An amazing dinner would have to start around 4:30 for the ideal eating window to be encapsulated.  We all sit down, Daniel gets some crayons he plays with for a little before he starts to throw and eat them.  We keep a stash of books, toys and cups with us and order his meal right away so it comes out first.  Then, hopefully, he is hungry enough to keep eating while Brian and I ( or whomever is brave enough to go with us or old enough to want to eat the early bird way) try to enjoy our meal without having to give in to Daniels "GET DOWN NOW!...please."

It gets better.  It must.  I believe it will.

But it would be nice to know we're not alone.


Today's Mess Of The Day:

Rice.  Jasmine rice to be more specific. 

Rice is akin to snow or glitter in a theater...once it gets everywhere, you're finding bits and pieces everywhere for weeks...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

When it's quiet...

When it's quiet, and it isn't 3am...

...he's likely to be stripping down to his baby birth free butt.

When it's quiet, and the sun is up...

...he's most likely peeing on the floor.

When it's quiet, and he's in his room...

...he could be writing on his walls with the one rogue crayon or pencil I missed whilst cleaning up.

When all you hear is CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH...

...he became tall enough over night to reach to bottle of puffs you thought was out of reach, and now they are all over the floor, the table, in his mouth, and down his shirt.  But not in the bottle.

When it's quiet and it's 4:30pm...

...he's gotten so tired from waking up at 5:30 am after not having gone to bed until 11:00 pm, then, to skip his nap so as to allow him a normal bedtime, he's fallen asleep in the laundry pile assuring another 11:00pm bedtime.

When it's quiet and you smell some poop...

...odds are his butt got itchy after running away from you saying he didn't go poop in his diaper, he scratched that itch then wiped what was on his hand on his pajamas because they were icky.

And then, so rarely we find these times, but when it's quiet, and you know the kids are tucked in their beds... grab a beer, your husband, the remote, and anything else you've been wanting for the last 20 hours, and you sit down, ( or lay down*wink wink)  drink your beer, turn on the movie you've been wanting to see...

...then fall asleep 10 minutes later.

At least, that's what happens at our house.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Toy Time-Out

I'm trying a new thing today that, for lack of a better term, I'll call "Toy Time-Out."

I suppose if you want to get really picky about putting blame on an object rather than the person, then you'd be the same person who thinks "SUV hits at 7" is acceptable.

But kids don't come with instruction manuals, we know this.  What worked for the 1st  child doesn't necessarily work for number 2 or three.  What works for your best friends kids might not work for you, and the woman who has "angels" for children and tries to give you advice on your children can suck an egg.  You know your kids better than anyone.  You'd think I know my kids as well, too.

My son is almost 2 1/2.  He's not terrible.  He's not an angel either for that matter.

We are having disciplining disagreements.  When to scold, when to discuss, when to redirect, and when to remove to time-out.  Then, once a time-out is enacted, what and where will this take place?  Their room? A specific chair? A specific place? How long?

You have answers to these questions, I know you do.

This week we moved the fish tank from his room to the living room so he can look at them better.  I thought this was a great idea.

Daniel will pull chairs to the fish tank to look, tap, then toss anything he has into the opening at the very top of  the tank.  There used to be a flap there, but since it was healthier for the fish to remove it, I can't seem to find it - yay.

I've fished out trucks, cars, drum sticks, and a teething toy.  Each time we tell him that he is hurting the fish, the fish are getting boo-boos.

Does this deter him?  No.

This afternoon it was an airplane. 

He loves airplanes.

He took one of his airplanes, and "crashed it" into the tank.

If time-out wasn't deterring this kid, other measures would have to be taken.  I just could not remove the fish tank.  And it was becoming a game for him.  What articles, boxes, books, chairs, buckets etc. could he use as a stool to get up to the tank?

Anything he could find.

It had to end.

And so, I did what every mom in my position would do, I put that airplane in time out.

For the next 2 minutes he was not allowed to play with that airplane.  That yellow airplane made bad choices crashing into the fish tank and giving boo-boos to the poor fishies.

Take that airplane!

I'll tell you what, though, after a few additional cars went into time out he finally got the picture.  It's only been a few hours, but the fish tank remains as it is; 2 fish, a castle and a climbing rock.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Scat, scat. CRAP!

Splish Splash time is one of the most wonderful times of the whole day.  And do you know why that is?

Both kids, contained, getting clean, and having a blast doing it.  I sit on a bath mat, roll up any sleeves, and put a hand towel over the edge of the tub or on my lap. 

I still get wet.  Depending on which cup, bowl, bucket, or toy the decides to play with will usually determine how wet I get.  It's all ok, mostly fun, and safe.

But, like all good things, they must come to an end.

Sure, it's tough drying them both off, getting them into jammies, and brushing their teeth.  I take Amelia out first, dry her off and get her dressed all the while talking to Daniel who is 10 feet away.  Still in the tub.  Usually there are two of us so one catches one and the other, well you get the idea.

Tonight I was making dinner.  Raw chicken is not the best thing to touch your clean children with, so Brian did most of the washing and drying of Amelia and I watched Daniel until he was finished.  For a moment he lowered his head down so I only saw the top of his.

"Daniel, Bubba, whactcha doin?"


"Having fun?"

"Splish splash!"

Now, I'm standing in the doorway and he starts to throw what at first looks like torn up pieces of his foam bathtub letters.

"Oh, Baby, don't do that, please, how are we supposed to play with our... WHAT IS THIS????  Is this poop? Daniel did you...."  I go over to the tub and look into the cloudy tub... 

"CRAP! Nooo, Daniel, oh gross, we don't poop in the tub, and you're throwing it all over the bathroom!  No Bubba..BRIAN??  I need you please. "

Now at this point I still have raw chicken on my hands, but I can't really decide which would be worse...raw chicken, or swimming in poop.  Thankfully I don't have to decided because Brian comes running in steps in a ball of poop I missed, scoops up the boy while I am scooping the poop with a slatted ladle ( what would you have used, ey?)  I drain the tub, scoop the little pieces off the floor and tell Brian that now Daniel needs a good shower and lather up.

One miserable shower later with poor Brian who had taken the shower head off and just power washed Daniel, and Splish splash time was over.

Finally the kid is clean, dinner is consumed, and everyone is settling in for nite nite time.  The bathroom still needs to be sanitized.  Once the little scat scatterer goes to sleep, I'll get on that.  I don't want him to see me do it else he makes some bizarre "If I do this, then she will do this" sort of connection in that head of his.

Hope your night has been cleaner than ours!

Wait what is that smell?  What?  Crap!

Friday, May 4, 2012


  To brighten my afternoon, and take advantage of one sleeping kid, I'm going to post some pictures of lunch time.  Or, as I like to call it, "Feeding time at the zoo"
You'll notice that little Amelia doesn't have a shirt on...this is a good thing.


"Hey mom, I love this carrot apple sauce so much, I want to try and feed myself, please!"

"How am I doing so far?  Good, right? Dip...dip...dip..."

"I'm not done yet! Why did you take that cup away??"

"No way, mom, I'm done with that pureed stuff.  I want pasta!!"

"That's what I'm talking about, thanks!!"
"Um, mom? Amelia is making a big mess."
"Yes, baby, I know..."

And now...the damn car...

Between the two of us we have one car. One 2002 Ford Focus Wagon with over 105,000 miles.  It has been good to us over the years, and, the best part, we don't have a car payment.

The last few months, the poor car has needed a lot of work.  The latest investment included an entirely new coolant system, radiator and all.  Today I got a call from Brian ( who was on his way to NYC to see rehearsals for a play he has written) saying that he was pulled over on the side of I-95 with an overheated engine. YAY!


After letting the engine cool and putting more coolant into it, he's limping his way back so we can bring it back to the place we got it fixed in the first place.  Sadly, he has to miss the rehearsal.


The car cooled, the coolant was added, then when he went to start the didn't turn over.  Currently he is in the cab of the tow truck, and, oddly, I am an strange lower abdominal pain.

This irritates me.  It's ok that it does.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Can you hear me? Texting Rules.

My two year old can navigate my iphone better than I.  My 9 month old has already deleted programs off of it.

This, however, is not a post about letting your kids use your devices, we can discuss that all day.  It is a post about using media and devices more and more in our lives and trying not to lose the ability to communicate well and effectively in interpersonal relationships.

Until you can express sarcasm, anger, or the difference between a corner of your mouth smile and a light up your face sparkling smile, texting and emails will never truly be able to be the medium of choice to express yourself in important personal contact.

And it's getting worse.

Did you send a text message today? An email? It's quite likely you did.  How many of those missives involved important content?  Setting a date?  Discussing a topic of contention?  Expressing how much you miss someone?

Aside from sending a birthday card, when was the last time you sent a letter?  Or, for that matter, received one?  It's great when you do, right?  Perhaps there was a period back in the 90's when letter writing included  typing on a word processor, but that didn't last long... people preferred the written word.

Today,  the number of land lines decreases each day.  Do you know someone who doesn't have a cell phone?  Even the last hold outs are being pressured into at least a "pay-as-you-go" option.

Sure, the convenience is wonderful...for some things.  "OMW" to tell someone you're meeting you'll be right there, or helping find someone in a crowd, or texting in a  situation where silence is suggested are just quick easy examples.

Honestly, I'm worried that a generation born into this electronic world will have trouble with face to face communications.  Will they be able to have a conversation that doesn't involve a device?  Will they be able to interview?  Will they be able to entertain themselves when all the power runs out?

Who knows.  But I do know, there needs to be a cell phone etiquette

Perhaps, a new set of rules for talking and texting... here is my suggestion:

Rules for use of Cell Phones/Texting

1.  If you're in a quiet place, and you must talk on your phone, do it at the same volume you would talk to a person sitting next to you - if they can't hear you, step outside or call back later.

2.   If you're having a conversation with someone, do not text someone else.  Look at that person in their eyes.  

3.  If you get a text while talking to someone, excuse yourself to look at your phone (if you must) don't just look at it without acknowledging you are doing it.

4. Never accept a call or look/send a text while in a live theater performance (it should be silent anyway).  Never talk on your phone in a movie theater.

5.  If you are asking someone out, call them.  

6.  Reply to a phone call with a phone call, not an email or text.

7. Don't text/email/post anything you wouldn't say in person, out loud.

8.  Use your headphones when listening to music or a noisy game.

9. Don't text and walk.

*10. Don't text and drive.

(feel free to add to this list, I'll update it...) 

 Reader additions:
11. Never text a question that requires a detailed answer. If you need advice call so there can be a discussion. (Lauren)

Call me old fashioned, or behind the times, or late for dinner, but I really do worry about this.

Do you?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

No More Patience

Before you have kids, it's easy to say "No Problem, I could handle that!"

When you're working off of a max of 4 hours of sleep at a time for over a year, money is tight, and your kids are 2 and under, the "No Problem, I can handle that" turns into "Which problem do I address, and which battle do I choose not to fight."

That's right ladies and gents, I don't fight every battle.  I don't have the strength or the patience to deal with the consequences.  Let's face it, trying to get a 2 year old to do what you what, when you want, is harder for you than it is for him.

It seems I have to set certain hard rules - these rules must be followed.  Everything else is... TBD.

3 Rules that can't be broken:

1. We are gentle with our sister

2. No climbing on the table/furniture or windowsills

3. No hitting.

Anything outside of that seems manageable...

...until it isn't.

And when it isn't, nothing goes well.  I cry over spilled milk, yell when he head butts her again, put him in time out every 10 minutes, and get irritated at everything...EVERYTHING.  My husband can't come home soon enough, bed time  is 2 years away, and dinner time is like feeding time at the zoo, only, I can't hose them down when there is food everywhere.

How do you do it?  How do you keep a smile on your face when things just get so damn frustrating?

How do you put up with all the changes of voice in this post?

Not often enough, I get that mommy motivation I think I should have all the time.  I keep the TV off most of the day, I'm on the floor playing and teaching the kids, I make all meals from scratch for the kids and for my husband, the laundry is going, the dishes are clean, and, when I'm not doing any of that, I'm cleaning.  Also, I'm happy to do it - to do all of it.

On every other day, I'm amazed at those moms who seem they can do it all... with more kids even.  On those days I wish I had a stronger attachment to a religion - I can't tell you the number of moms and non-moms who advise prayer.  I'm glad it works for them, envious almost.  Truly, when things get rough, a faith in something more powerful than themselves must give some soothing help.  I don't really have that - perhaps that's what I'm missing.  Maybe I need anti-depressants.  Maybe I just need to get out and go to the gym everyday and get that adrenaline rush to keep going.

Likely I need more sleep, more exercise,  and more patience.

Seriously, aside from needing grammar lessons, who doesn't need more patience?