Wednesday, November 28, 2012

No Diggity, I'd Like to Bag It Up

I live my life in constant fear that people won't judge me.  What would a person do if they couldn't comment on something I was doing wrong while out and about with my three kids?  Live a very dull life, obviously.

Some of the best parenting advice I've received has been from random strangers on the street.  Things like,

"Cover her head!"

"You need to put socks on them!"

"He [pointing at Andrew] really needs to stop sucking those fingers."

"If my son ran out in the street, I'd spank his bum."

"Why do you let your daughter talk to you like that?"

And other priceless gems.  Which is why I've decided to write a parenting book.  I think I'll call it, Street Parenting: How Advice from Random Strangers Saved My Children.  I'll even write it like it's a rap song.  Here's a snippet:

Now here's a book all about how
Strangers can advise your parenting now
I'd like to take a minute so sit right
And I'll tell you all about how to become
the parent of the year

Do you think if I pitched it right I could get Snoop Dogg in on this?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Next Time, Oh Next Time

As we were running out the door, Ben broke the news to me: "Um. We're out of diapers.  Looks like you'll have to hit up the store once you drop me off."

I glared at him.


Typically, while at the store, I place the kids in the cart to save my sanity; however, we were at Aldi, which requires a refundable deposit of a quarter to even take a cart, and since all the quarters that we have - or at least those not "found" by Emily and placed into her collection - are put toward our laundry fund, I didn't have any to use.  (I suppose I could have chosen another store to pick up diapers, but I'm cheap.)  And besides, it couldn't be that bad (or so I told myself).  So when we pulled up to the store, I turned around to give the kids a pep talk.

"Okay guys, we're going to make this a painless shopping trip.  We just need diapers."

Emily piped up, "and you'll give us a treat if we're good!"

"Uh, sure. If you stick next to me.  Are we ready!"

"NOOOOOOO I don't want to go!" Andrew yelled.

"Wahhheeee!" Amelia screamed from her car seat.  Happily or sadly, I couldn't decipher.

"I am!"  Emily declared.

I put Amelia in the Moby Wrap and off we set; into the enemy's territory.

"Okay.  Remember to stick close to me annnn...."

"CHOCOLATE!" They screamed.

Andrew grabbed a handful and took off down the aisle while Emily stuffed as many chocolate bars as she could down her shirt.  I chased after Andrew, catching him only after he became distracted by a bag of chips, and  brought him back to where his sister was standing, still trying to hide the chocolate bars from me.  I convinced them into putting the candy back with a promise of one candy bar upon exit from the store.

With their hands firmly in mine, we continued.  That is, until Andrew collapsed into a sobbing, screaming mess, "Stop it! Stop holding my hand! I wanna run!"  We were only two aisles away from the diapers.

Emily: "Mommy look at this!"
Andrew: "Mommy look at this!"
Emily: "Mommy look at this!"
Andrew: "Mommy look at this!"

***** 10 Minutes Later at the Check-Out Stand *****

While I was busy loading the diapers and other random stuff I had grabbed in an effort to leave the store in one piece, Andrew ran under my legs and Emily squeezed past me. In a moment of desperation, I started pleading with them:  "Guys. Please. Just. Stay next to me.  Please. I HAVE TREATS!"

Finally, with their faces stuffed with chocolate, we left the store with about 10 items I didn't need and 0 motivation or energy to do anything else for the rest of the day.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Self Care

I give my kids baths every night.  I didn't realize the impact this had on my kids' hygienic practices until recently.

Take this morning.  As I was taking care of the baby, who was decidedly telling me that she wanted to be asleep and needed me to get her there now, I heard the bathroom sink turn on. Thinking Emily was washing her hands, I didn't immediately check on them.  Like 5 minutes later, she and Andrew came rushing out with lotion and soap covering their very wet bodies.

"What in the world are you doing?"  I asked.

"Taking a bath," Emily informed me.

At least they like taking baths.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Waiting Is Hard!

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is a new show on PBS. It's a spin-off of the old Mister Roger's Neighborhood and I love it. So do my kids. Since I have a pretty strict TV policy in our house, I was excited to include this as part of my children's programming repertoire.

I think I have learned as much from this show as my kids have. I have learned that waiting is hard, getting mad is okay, and playing with people is more important than playing with toys. Okay, so I might have known those things before, but Daniel Tiger reminded me of their importance.

This last month I found myself in a tough spot. I was feeling very tired. Tired of not having any time to myself, or time to work out, or time to just think/eat/sleep. (Not to mention that silly depression came out again.) So I thought, "Hey! You can make time!" And I did. I used my nap times, bed times, and any time I could think of to work out/read/eat. Soon I was so exhausted that I was crying every night.

In the midst of this, I remembered a goal I made before Andrew was born to not worry about things like working out or having any "alone" time until my baby was at least 6 months. By then, s/he would have a more regular schedule and hopefully sleep for longer than 2-3 hour spurts.

Sound advice, right? But, doggone it! Waiting for that is hard. I want to work out. I want time when I'm not surrounded by my 3 and 4 year-old or holding my baby. However, Ben works a lot and we live too far away from friends. Rather than banging my head on the door from frustration, I am learning to be patient. It's like when Amelia was really colicky. Though it was hard, I could rely on my previous knowledge of that period ending. Guess what? It did. Sooner than I expected.

I hear often that moms need time to themselves so they can recharge. It's true. However, when circumstances prevail and it just doesn't happen or is impossible to realize, is it really helpful to dwell on it?* To cry, scream, or thrown oneself on the ground in absolute frustration?** I don't think so. This is where Daniel Tiger's infinite wisdom comes in: while waiting is hard, that period won't last forever. Thanks Daniel Tiger for reminding me of this valuable lesson.

*I am certainly not advocating to do way with alone time, because it is important for a parent's health. I just think that sometimes it doesn't work out that way and a parent doesn't need to carry around extra guilt for not putting one more thing on their check-list.

**Though I certainly reserve the right to cry, scream, and throw myself on the ground in frustration occasionally. Sometimes it just feels good.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Memories I Will Laugh About Later (#1)

You know that adage, you'll laugh about it later?  Well, I'm placing all my faith into that statement.  To help things, I've decided to write about the tough stuff to remind my future self of how funny things were at this time. Enjoy. (This happened several weeks ago and, yes, I am laughing about it now!)

Remember going to your 6-week check-up with all three kids? BY YOURSELF? In that office, Andrew climbed up on the sink, multiple times, and emptied the glove box, the tissue box, and the paper towels all over the floor while you attempted to keep a very fussy Amelia calm through breast-feeding.   The nurse remarked, "You brave woman, three kids and so calm." You laughed because your blood pressure showed otherwise with its high - for you - numbers. I think your brain has suppressed the rest of the visit, so I'll spare you the details.

That was funny.

And the rest of the day, you remember that?  Ben was working a long day (from 9 am until 10 pm) and you were optimistic that things would be okay.  I mean, what could happen right?

You soon ate those words.

While you were in the kitchen making dinner, Andrew found and spilled almost all the salt out of the big container, dumped water all over the floor, and woke up Amelia.  Amelia proceeded to scream as you tried to finish dinner with tears streaming down your face.  It's no wonder that you burned the dinner, twice, and somehow spilled paint (which fell from the top of the fridge, don't ask) all over yourself and Amelia.

Yeah, that was funny.

To top it all off, while putting them in the bath (and hoping for some sanity), Andrew pooped in the bathtub.  Emily woke up Amelia, again. You cleaned up Andrew's poop with Amelia in your arms and dishearteningly listened as Andrew and Emily took out every toy in their room.


When you finally put the kids in bed, you realized why your left boob was hurting so bad, and why you were starting to feel sick: a clogged milk duct.


You continued cleaning the kitchen while trying to ignore the kids that were coming in and out of their rooms.  You seriously considered installing bars on their doors until you realized how complicated that would get.  So you sat down with a box of ice cream instead.

Oh, what a funny day.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood, Unless You're Sitting In My Living Room

Yesterday was election day here in the U.S of A. Being the intelligent person I am, I gathered all the kids in the car so they could participate in the process by standing in an hour-long line with me. To enhance the experience, I forgot the Halloween candy and interrupted their nap time.

As awesome as that experience was (envision my 2 oldest running and screaming in the tiny, crowded voting station and you’ll get the idea), it did not compare to the masterful mess my kids created in the living room that morning.

They followed an airtight recipe:

  • Two boxes of Legos 
  • A package of Saltines crackers 
  • A bag of dried Cheerios 
  • 16 oz. of spilled water 
  • 1 container of dress-up clothes 
  • 1 container of dolls and stuffed animals 
Which resulted in this:

The mess was epic people.  EPIC. (Sadly the photo does not do it justice.)  Which is why I will be spending my morning cleaning and singing Snow White’s “Whistle While You Work.”

Alright friends, spill it. What is the best (worst?) mess made by your kid(s)?