Sunday, September 29, 2013

"Parent"dox: When You're Hungry, They're Hungry

Sunday Night "Parent"dox #25:  When You're  Hungry, They're Hungry

This "parent"dox involves traveling back in time for me a few years, but I remember it all so very clearly.

I distinctly remember meal times at our house when both of my children were newborns.  I think the biggest learning curve was with my son, as he was our firstborn, but this "parent"dox rang true with our daughter as well.

Without fail, my sweet, precious, angelic baby would be sleeping away.  They were so adorable, I could lay there and watch them sleep.  Sweet little nose, sweet little fluttering eyelids, sweet little chest rising up and down ever so slightly.  Oh, this is love, without a doubt.

Whether we were preparing a meal at home (read as: heating up something in the microwave or pouring a bowl of cereal.  Come on...these were NEWBORN days, remember?!) or actually eating out as a restaurant, as soon as a plate of food was set in front of me, my baby, without fail, would start stirring.  I would plead Please, please, PLEASE stay asleep!! even thought I knew it was a lost cause.  There was absolute, 100% certainty that baby would be awake by the time I shoveled my 3rd bite of food into my mouth.  By the 5th bite, they would be in an all-out screaming bout, ready to eat.

That sweet, angelic, precious baby was now standing between me and my food.  

Not a good place to be, mind you, not a good place to be.

Words like "sweet," "precious," and "angelic" were no longer coming to mind.

It was like they had super sonic smelling and hearing, and when they so much as smelled a hot meal and heard it hit the table in front of me, it triggered them to wake up.  It didn't matter if they had been asleep for 5 minutes or 2 hours, they were definitely going to wake up at that moment.

I'm pretty sure their baby line of thinking in that moment went something like this:

What?  What's that?  Mom is hungry and ready to eat?  I don't want to miss out on this action.  Surely, surely, that must mean I need to eat now, too.


Not after the meal is over.  Not in 5 minutes.


People say that when you nurse, it also helps you to lose weight.  I'm pretty sure this is only because you never actually have a chance to eat real, hot food.  By the time you're done feeding your tyrannical baby, your once lovely, delicious meal is now cold and doesn't taste nearly as good as you had hoped.  You choke down a few bites, and that's all you can muster.

That, my friends, is really where the weight loss comes in to play.

Although I will say the first time in my life I ever ate cold pizza was after my son was born.  I had never, ever been a fan of cold pizza, even in high school or college.  I just couldn't bring myself to eat it.  But enter New Mom mode, and I was just happy to have food around.  Period.  I didn't even bother sticking it in the microwave...just bit the bullet (or cold pizza, in this case) and went for it.

And knowing how very, very healthy cold pizza is, maybe there is actually something to that whole "nursing helps you lose weight" thing...

Hang in there, Moms of Newborns and Infants!!  There will come a day when you will eat foods -- hot if they're supposed to be hot and cold if they're supposed to be cold -- once again.  

When somehow, miraculously, everyone in your family actually gets fed, You Are a Good Mom.


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Thursday, September 26, 2013

It Was Only a Matter of Time

In all honesty, I knew this day was coming.  

I simply didn't realize it would happen so soon.

Or so loudly.

Or so publicly.

My children have said a lot of crazy things in their short little lives.  Some funny, some sweet, some embarrassing, some downright hilarious.  Up until this point, they have been said, for the most part, in the presence of family or friends.

Not any more.  My son is now in school for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week. 

That gives him 35 hours to let one of his gems slip out of his sweet little mouth.  And slip out it did...

The 'B' Word

Last week, his class was working on the letter 'b' at school.  They were brainstorming words that start with the letter 'b' in class.  He eagerly raised his hand, and waited for the teacher to call on him.  As she pointed his way, a smile crept across his face.  Very loud and very proud, he said for all the class and his teacher to hear...

[enter your thought here on what it might be]


Yes, beer does indeed start with the letter 'b.'  I can see he's got that initial sound thing down.  That is good.

Yes, I know there is another 'b' word that could have been much worse that could have popped out of his little mouth.  (That is actually what I was fearing when this story was relayed to me the first time, although I'm fairly certain he's never even heard that word before...)  That is also good

But seriously?  BEER?

That's the first word that pops into my kid's mind?  That's his 'b' word?  

Let me take 5.3 seconds to think of, oh, I don't know, a MILLION other kindergarten appropriate words he could have said.


Oh no, not my son.  My son comes up with beer.  Proud day for this Momma, let me tell you what.

Then there was the picture he drew at home on Sunday for his Grandma.

"What does that say?" you're wondering.  Apparently, this drawing really needed a picture of a beer fridge.  Yes, a BEER FRIDGE.   No, she doesn't have one.  No, we don't even have one!  

From these two lovely little tales, you'd think we're raging alcoholics in this house.  I assure you, this is not the case.  Far from it.  I'm just hoping we can convince his teacher of this.

Our Saving Grace

The one thing that might get us out of this whole mess is a comment he made at home about 3 weeks ago.  

I had my copy of Parents magazine sitting on the end of my bed.  My son walked by it, then did a double take and walked back and looked at it again.

"Mom, is that Mrs. K?"

Oh, sweet child of mine.  Why don't you say things like this at school and leave all the beer talk for home?

No, that is not your kindergarten teacher.  It is supermodel Heidi Klum.  

(I will say, there is definitely a resemblance, though.)

I did email this little tidbit of cuteness to his teacher before the whole beer fiasco took place, so I'm hoping those two things somehow cancel one another out as she's debating if she should be calling the authorities on us.

Would it be inappropriate to get his teacher beer as a Christmas gift and address the card to Heidi?  Hmm...

Even when they embarrass you and they're not even in your presence, fear not, You Are a Good Mom.


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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

TSW?T: Poison and Lose Winners

They Said What? Tuesday:  Volume 21

My 3-year-old daughter...

"Mom, I need to take my telescope off."
...Apparently 'telescope' is a synonym for 'stethoscope' in toddler talk

M:  "Can I have something to drink, please?"
Me:  "Absolutely.  What would you like?"
M:  "Umm...Poison.  I want some poison, please."
...This sounds like it should be cause for concern, does it not?  Relax, my good friends, and do not be alarmed.  The funniest thing about this quote is that I knew exactly what she meant.  She, of course, wanted apple cider.

Still confused?

My son had been talking about apples, and specifically, the poison apple from Snow White shortly before this little conversation happened.  So in my daughter's mind, she was thinking of a poison apple and naturally, then, 'poison' would be another word for 'apple cider.'  I pray they don't have apple cider for a snack at school any time in the near future.  Or ever, for that matter.

"Mom, you are the lose winner."
...Oh, how I love it when they just make up words or phrases to fit what they're trying to express when they don't have those words or phrases yet.  Perhaps what I love most of all, though, is that she doesn't know the word 'loser' yet.  I'm OK with keeping it that way for as long as possible.

My 5-year-old son...

...Oh, it's a doozie this week.  So much so that he's getting his own post all to himself on Thursday.  Stay tuned... 

No matter what they say, You Are a Good Mom.


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Sunday, September 22, 2013

"Parent"dox: Because Someone Else Said So

Sunday Night "Parent"dox #24:  Because Someone Else Said So

Remember when you were a kid, and you'd ask your Mom or Dad "Why?" and they'd reply with "Because I said so!" and that was it.  The final, be-all, end-all, don't even think about asking another question or coming back with any other smart alec comment.


(Remember the first time you heard those words slip out of your own mouth as a parent?  Oh, I can't believe how many of my parents' phrases have slipped out of my own mouth when I least expected it.)

At our house, the statement that would be a better fit in response to that question would be "Because Someone Else said so!"

Let me explain this "parent"dox and what it looks like with our son.

My son is most definitely one of those kids that listens to authority.  His teacher, his doctor, his story time librarian.  If it comes from someone he sees as "authority," it is an indisputable truth and rule to be followed to the letter.

That is, of course, unless the authority is his dad or me.

That's not to say he doesn't listen to us...some of the time.  In general, he is our "rule follower" kid.  Most of the time he is a really good listener, but from time to time he ignores our requests for the mundane, everyday stuff, like getting his pajamas on or picking out a story for bedtime, and every once in a great while, he just flat out battles us on things like picking up his room.  

(Don't worry.  We are not off the hook.  Remember who this kid's little sister is?  We get plenty of battles to keep our skills sharp [read as: remind us parenting is 100% on-the-job training and we really have no idea what we're doing from one second to the next].)

(Apparently, there are going to be lots of sidebar comments in this post tonight.  My apologies.)

Case in Point:  Potty Training
You know how people say "Don't worry.  Kids don't go to kindergarten in diapers."  I was pretty sure my kid was going to be the exception to the rule on that one.  I felt like we were in potty training limbo forever.  


We had made attempts, pretty half-heartedly, when he was about 2 1/2-years-old a couple of different times, but didn't push it.  As we were wading through potty training no man's land, I'm pretty sure every single person I knew that had a 2 1/2- year-old, a 2-year-old, or even a 1 1/2-year-old (yes, 1 1/2-year-old...) found it necessary to share miraculous stories of how quickly their kid potty trained or how their kid pretty much potty trained themselves.  

Trained themselves?  Really?

Now, I know you're not supposed to compare your kid to other kids.  I get that.  But I was beyond ready to have my son be done with diapers, and all these jubilant celebrations were like salt in the wound.  

My son turned 3-years-old about one week after the school year ended.  As a teacher, I figured that once summer arrived and I was able to be home all day, everyday with him, we'd be able to focus on potty training and get this thing figured out.  Just me, my kid (well, and his 1-year-old sister who was keeping me plenty busy in the diaper department on her own) and a potty.  I was ready.

We tried everything.  

(All that stuff I was certain I would never do with my own kid before I actually became a parent and had my own real, live kids?  Ha.  Double ha.  Totally happened, and then some.)

We tried the "no pants" method.  We tried a sticker chart.  We tried picking out a special toy as an incentive.  We tried getting "big boy" underpants.  We tried M&Ms.  We tried "target practice" in the potty.  If someone suggested it, we tried it.  

Summer came.  Summer went.  

Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.

Not a single step closer to being potty trained on that first day I was back to work in August than on my last day of work back in June.

Forget kindergarten.  At this point, I was fairly certain my son would be packing a case of diapers with him when he went off to college.

Enter my daughter's well-child 18-month check up in December.  I was in the doctor's office with my daughter, and got all the 1 1/2-year-old info I needed.  My doctor mentioned that she was on the early end of potty training, but if she seemed interested, feel free to follow her lead and go for it.  My response...

"Um, yeah, thanks.  That sounds great.  So about that whole potty training thing...what about my 3 1/2-year-old who is still not potty trained?"

God bless him, our pediatrician didn't act at all like it was a big deal that my now closer to 4 than 3-year-old son wasn't using the potty yet.  (Just reason #427 why we love our pediatrician.)  He just reassured me my son would train when he was ready, but that is was OK to "push it" a little more now as he was getting older.

I was afraid consequences were going to be "taking away his driver's license" at the rate we were going.

I got home from our appointment, and told my son that the doctor (who he adores) said it was time for him to use the potty.

And that was it.

He was potty trained.

It was like magic.

I am not kidding.  That was all it took.  

When people ask me questions about potty training or what we did, I just tell them we used the "Hearing That His Doctor Said He Should Be Using the Potty" Method.

Seriously kid?  Why didn't I just tell you six months ago that your doctor said you should be using the potty?

Exhibit B:  Coloring
My son has never, ever been a colorer.  (I think I may have just invented a new word.)  He just hasn't.  It's not for lack of trying.  Our house is stocked with crayons and colored markers and colored pencils and pens and pencils and coloring books and...well, you get the picture.  It's just never really been his thing, and that's totally fine.  On the off chance he would decide to color, it would be one single color, and usually a few marks here or there and nothing really more than that.

My personal favorite was always picking him up from his Sunday School class, and he'd hand me the usually blank coloring page that went with whatever story they did that week.  He'd look up at me and say "Mom, I'm just gonna do this one at home."  

And then we'd take it home and add it to the stack of other completely blank coloring pages that were collecting dust on the coffee table.  

But lo and behold...we start kindergarten and BAM!!  This starts coming home in his backpack.

And this.

I would be willing to bet real cash money his teacher said something about using different colors, coloring in the entire picture and staying in the lines.

Done, done and done.

I'm pretty sure this is how I'm going to begin the next doctor's appointment and parent-teacher conference:

"(Doctor/Teacher), would you be willing to record these voice prompts for me?  Simply read these words out loud while I record your voice.

Brush your teeth.
Put your shoes on.
Pick up your toys.
It's time to go to bed.

I would so greatly appreciate it."

Oh, getting those words on tape, spoken by those individuals would be gold, PURE GOLD, I tell you!

In our house, it's not "Because I said so!"  It's "Because Someone Else said so!"
Even if your kids listen to someone else the first time after you've said the same thing a million times, You Are a Good Mom.


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Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Tooth Fairy Favor

Have you ever been blessed with "lifetime" friends?  I'm talking about people who are dear, dear friends, and you just "do life" with them.  You know they're going to be around, throughout your life, no matter what.  Distance, time, whatever; it doesn't matter, because they'll be there.

We are very, very fortunate to have many special "lifetime" friends in our lives.

(If you're reading this and wondering if I'm talking about you, I most definitely am.)

One of our "lifetime" friends is my husband's college roommate and his wife, and their two children.  Without even planning it, each of our children was born within 4 months of each of their children.  

We are quite literally "doing life" with them.  

When we get together, our kids love to play together.  They are at just about the same stages and interested in the same things.  Ever since our kids have been babies, we've been able to talk and share with each other about the same questions and concerns and wonderings and milestones our kids were approaching or struggling with, and that is true to this day.  Luckily for us, their oldest child is 4 months older than our oldest child, so these "lifetime" friends field a lot of things just enough ahead of us to warn us what's coming down the road.

This very thing happened just two days ago.

My friend posted that her daughter lost her first tooth.

My first thought:  How exciting!! Losing that first tooth is such a big deal and a rite of passage!  How fun!

My second thought:  Oh my goodness.  That means this is probably coming around the bend soon for my son.  

My third thought:  Holy.  Crap.  I am completely unprepared for this huge life experience for my own kid!  (Keep in mind, I am a natural born worrier...) 

Honestly, my son doesn't even have so much as a wiggle to any of his little teeth, so I know I've got some time, but losing teeth wasn't even on my Mom Radar yet.  (This is another benefit to "doing life" with lifetime's like a build in safety net.  I get reminded of and warned about all the millions of things I would otherwise forget.)

What got me thinking, though, was what is protocol going to be in our house when a tooth is lost?  (These are the parenting decisions you have to make that no one warns you about.)  I saw that adorable picture of their sweet, toothless daughter, and realized the Tooth Fairy would be making her inaugural visit that night at her house, and I realized I had absolutely no idea what that will look like here.
So I'm throwing it out to you guys...  What is Tooth Fairy protocol at your house?  (Or what do imagine it will look like?)  What does she (I'm guessing it's a she...maybe at your house it's a he?) bring?  If it's money, how much?  If it's not money, what is it?  Any special Tooth Fairy traditions?  Where does the lost tooth wait for the Tooth Fairy's arrival?  (under the pillow seems so very complicated...)

And perhaps most importantly for this Mom...  How does the Tooth Fairy NOT wake the loser of the tooth up?  How does the Tooth Fairy STAY AWAKE to remember to do so?  

Thanks in advance for your help.  Feel free to pass this post on to any other Moms you know who can weigh in on this subject, or might benefit from getting ideas from others, too.  Open to any and all suggestions!!

I'm fairly certain that now that I've posed these questions, my son won't lose a tooth until the 3rd grade.  Had I not asked, he would have come home from school with a missing tooth tonight.

When you can help out other Moms with their "firsts", You Are a Good Mom.


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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

TSW?T: The "Other" Ranch

They Said What? Tuesday:  Volume 20

My 3-year-old daughter...

"I'm not upset! I'm just crying!!"
...what she yelled at me while having a temper tantrum after I said "It looks like you're feeling upset."  Clearly, clearly, my child, you are most definitely not upset, and that statement you just screamed at me totally supported your case.  Or perhaps not.

My 5-year-old son...

P:  "Can I please have some ranch?"
(I had just poured some ranch on his plate for his carrots and cucumbers at lunch)
Me:  "You have a lot, buddy.  If you eat all that, I'll get you some more."
P:  "No, Mom, I want some ranch, please!"
Me:  (looking at him blankly and completely confused)  "You have ranch right there on your plate."
P:  "Mom, not this ranch.  The OTHER ranch!"
Me:  (thinking to myself that my son has lost his mind.)


Me:  "Oh!  You mean Italian dressing?"
P:  (he can't believe it's taken me this long to catch up)  "Yeah, Mom, that ranch I like for my cucumbers!"
...our lunch discussion the other day.  Any condiment that comes out of a bottle is known as 'ranch' to this boy...with the exception of ketchup.  Ketchup has always been and will forever be, ketchup.

"My dog is hurt.  It's because his veins go to his head, and not his heart.  I need to check him out and help him get better."
...fear not, he is talking about a stuffed animal dog.  But yeah, kid, I would say veins to your head instead of your heart would pose a problem.  This is also probably a sign he has seen too many episodes of Doc McStuffins.

No matter what they say, You Are a Good Mom.


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Sunday, September 15, 2013

"Parent"dox: When a Gum Commercial Makes You Cry

Sunday Night "Parent"dox #23:  When a Gum Commercial Makes You Cry

Nothing too earth shaking or ground breaking tonight.  Just this video clip of an Extra Gum commercial.

It does come with a warning, however.

It made me cry.

Yup.  You read that correctly.  A gum commercial.  Made me cry.

Gum is minty and bubbly and happy and in no way a tear-provoking product.  Yet I cried.


So, with that said, enjoy this lovely little video "parent"dox tonight.  

(Spoiler the video before you read the rest of the post below if you don't want to have any part of the video, well, spoiled...)

Maybe it's just me.  

Maybe I'm a little over emotional in general (insert husband silently nodding here...).  

Maybe it's because I just sent my own kids to kindergarten and preschool last week and it seems like they're growing up at the speed of light.  

Maybe it's because my own Dad was the one who sent me this video.

Whatever it was, I watched it and it made me happy and sad and all sorts of other crazy emotions all at the same time.  

And it made me cry.

Bottom line, though, it made me so very thankful to be a parent.  Thankful for all of it...for the little moments, the big moments, the fun moments, the hard moments, and everything in between. 

I'm thankful that I get to be there for it with my kids.  

It was a good reminder for me to focus on really being there in the day to day, even if it's with something as seemingly small as a gum wrapper.

[Just as a sidenote, the box falling over and opening at the end totally got me.  I maybe should have put an extra warning about the whole possibility of tears thing for Dads of daughters, and an extra EXTRA warning for anyone who sent their child off to college in the last few weeks.  Sorry about that.]

What were your thoughts on this gum commercial?  Do you have any other commercials that make you cry?  Do you get more emotional about commercials or movies or TV shows since you've become a parent?
Even if a gum commercial can make you cry, You Are a Good Mom.


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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Parenting in September is Not for Sissies

To all the Veteran Parents of School Age Kids out there...

Why didn't you warn me?!

I mean, this whole first week of school bit.  Which has now turned into the first two weeks of school bit.  Which I'm fairly certain is just going to turn into the entire first month of school bit.

Why didn't you warn me?

Ok, to be fair to all the Veteran Parents of School Age Kids I know, you did warn me.  You warned me quite well, actually.  I, apparently, just listened like a toddler when you were telling me.

You did indeed tell me my kindergartner would be tired and cranky and whiny and all of those things.  I just had no real context for exactly what you meant by 'tired' and 'cranky' and 'whiny.'  I thought I knew what those words meant.  I thought I had already lived those words as a parent.  I thought I was prepared to handle it.  

Oh no...come to find out, I only knew the tip of the iceberg on what those words actually meant.  We are living 'tired,' 'cranky,' and 'whiny' times infinity in this house right now.

A little disclaimer:  In the big picture of things, these first two weeks have been a definite check in the "plus" column.  

I am so thankful that my son is loving school and being at kindergarten.  He loves his teacher, and he is listening and learning and loving the whole school gig.  If given a choice, I would totally pick having him keep it together at school and fall apart at home, as opposed to vice versa.  

Another little disclaimer:  I love my kids.  Truly.  Beyond words, over the moon, head over heels love love love them.  

They are just sucking every ounce of energy and patience out of me right now. Like every second I am with them.  (Which is not nearly as many seconds as you would think.)  My son is now at school for 8 hours a day everyday, and it is so weird not having him around.  I miss his laugh and his goofy jokes and his commentary and questions about everything we see and do all day.  

So in a nutshell, I basically spend all day missing him, have 3 seconds of pure joy when he gets off the bus and he runs up to give me a hug, and then spend the next 5 hours taking deep breaths and counting to 10...or 100...or 1,000,000.  

Here is a short list of just some of things that have led to tears at our house the last few days:

  • Opening string cheese "the wrong way"
  • Putting on a bike helmet before going on a bike ride requested by the now crying child
  • Getting out of bed in the morning because they are "too tired"
  • Going to bed at night because they are "not tired" (oh, the irony!!)
  • Having yogurt served in a blue bowl for breakfast
  • Having yogurt served in a green bowl (requested after the blue bowl) for breakfast
  • Getting into the bathtub because baths are "not fun"
  • Getting out of the bathtub because they still want to play
  • Arguing over the spot they each lay down when I read them bedtime stories (which, mind you, has been the same for 3 years now...)

It's like walking through a land mine, as once normal, ordinary occurrences that are part of our everyday routine have now transformed into ticking time bombs, just waiting to set either of my kids off.

(To be fair, there have also been some pretty funny bouts of belly that over-tired, I-don't-know-why-I'm-laughing-and-I-can't-stop-but-I'm-completely-cracking-myself-up-right-now, laughter.  And that has been a saving grace, let me tell you.)

The kicker is I know both of my kids are adjusting to all kinds of newness in every part of their lives right now, and on top of that, they are absolutely exhausted.  They are so tired that there is no reasoning or problem solving or working through anything.  It is simply weathering the storm until they can pull themselves together, and inevitably fall apart again when my son sees his backpack is on the bench instead of the floor or my daughter realizes there are more green Legos than blue Legos left in the bucket.  

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?  I may just have a meltdown right along side them the next time the opportunity presents itself.  Which, let's be honest, will be in a mere matter of minutes.

Parenting in September is not for sissies, that I now know.  There should be combat pay or bonus points or a triple punch card or a support group or something.  

I just keep hoping and praying and wishing and pleading that we will survive the beast that is a Kindergartner in September, and survive to see October.  It gets better, right?  Please tell me it gets better.  Please...

When you can survive September, You Are a Good Mom.


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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

TSW?T: Speedy School Buses

They Said What? Tuesday:  Volume 19

My 3-year-old daughter...

"Is the Easter Bunny a girl or a boy?"
...ground breaking, earth shaking questions being pondered around here, folks.

"I'm whipped!"
...after walking in from our bike ride.  She said it with such conviction, too!  Being 3 is hard work, people.

My 5-year-old son...

"My school bus is the fastest vehicle I ever rode on!  It is even faster than a motorcycle!!"
...the first words out of his mouth when he hopped off the bus on his first day of school.  School buses are a lot of things.  "Fast" isn't one that comes to mind.  

"I got sick last night.  It was like crocodiles were using their sharp claws to scratch my belly."
...letting his sister know he had gotten sick in the night, and just how it had felt.  I have no idea where he comes up with this stuff.  Little did he know, she had had 'crocodiles scratching her belly' in the middle of the night, too.

"The food train!"  (laughs hysterically)  "Remember, Mom?  From The Lion King?"
...also known as the food chain to Bill Nye and other scientists the world over.

No matter what they say, You Are a Good Mom.


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Sunday, September 8, 2013

"Parent"dox: The Marker, The Lobby & The Book

Sunday Night "Parent"dox #22:  The Marker, The Lobby & The Book

This may be one of the most classic "parent"doxes we've had around here in a while.

And it happened in public, so that makes it so much better.

And by better, I mean worse.

The week before school started, I was at the library with my 5-year-old son and my 3-year-old daughter, enjoying the last storytime of the summer.  We sang.  We danced.  We listened to a couple stories.  Life was good.

Once the official storytime was over, we headed over to the children's section of the library to play with the toys, check out some books, and maybe color a picture or two.

This is where things went horribly awry.

My kids were both coloring pictures, when all of the sudden, my daughter realized she absolutely, most definitely, positively needed the yellow marker that was in her brother's hand.  She needed yellow, she needed the one her brother had, and she needed it now.  Nevermind you that there was a tub of 16 yellow markers that were EXACTLY THE SAME as the one in his hot little hand.  No no...she needed that one.

So what's a 3-year-old to do?

Well, reach over and pry it out of her brother's hand while he is using it to color in his picture, obviously.  

Let me tell you how well this went over with my perfectionist, borderline OCD son, when his picture got goofed up at the hand of his little sister.

Lead balloon, people.  Lead.  Balloon.

Amazingly, he pulled himself together and got right back to his coloring pretty quickly.  That miracle falls in the category of "God never gives you more than you can handle" as you can see by what transpired next.

My daughter lost her mind.  Completely lost her mind.  Temper tantrum, fit, meltdown...whatever you want to call it, she was having one, then and there.  You know how sometimes you can tell if a thunderstorm is there to stay or is just going to blow over?  In the same way, sometimes I can tell if my daughter is totally committed to the meltdown or if she can be talked down.  Let me tell you, there was no bringing her back from this one.  The National Weather Service was calling for an emergency evacuation this time.

So evacuate, we did.

I ended up having to pick her up, and carry her out to the lobby of the library, after telling my son to just keep working on his picture and reassuring him that I'd be back soon.  Once away from the toys and the marker and the audience, I thought she would start to calm down.  

For the 4,582,319th time in my parenting career, I guessed wrong.   

While sitting on the bench with her, two -- count 'em -- TWO different librarians very sweetly came over and asked if there was anything they could do to help.  That is basically librarian code for "Please get your kid to SHUT UP.  Quickly.  Please and thank you."

Something else happened while I sat there, holding my daughter, letting her know that when she could calm down and be in control of herself, we'd go back into the library.  Enter my latest "parent"dox moment.  My phone vibrated in my pocket, and taking it as happy distraction from the screaming toddler I was trying to restrain on my lap, I eagerly checked my new message.

It was a text message.  

From the library.

That the book I had put on hold about how to parent a strong-willed child was now on the shelf and ready to be picked up.

I'm not kidding.  I can't make this stuff up.

I'm fairly certain the librarians went back and ran my plates or library card or whatever and looked me up in their system and decided we need to get this woman some help -- now -- and went and got that book for me right then and there.

Oh, "parent"dox, how you keep me on my toes and make me laugh and just in general remind me I will never, ever have this parenting thing totally figured out.

You can rest at ease.  My daughter did calm down, we did go back in the library, my son was still sitting at the table coloring and away, and my daughter very sweetly apologized to him.  

She also had no further interest in the yellow marker.

Needless to say, I have a lot of reading in my near future...

When timing is everything, You Are a Good Mom.


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Thursday, September 5, 2013

My Spitting, Burping Kids

I'm not sure which was more difficult:  sending my oldest child off on his first day of kindergarten, or keeping him home with me on his second.

Oh yes...this mom is sorry to report that her son missed his second day of kindergarten because he was home sick.  

Not exactly the kick-off to the school year we were all expecting.

Tuesday was a total whirlwind at our house.  We did the whole "first day of school" thing with the pictures and the excitement and the bus ride and everything, and let me tell you, I was pretty worn out by 9:15am and I wasn't even the one going to school.  

I told my daughter we'd celebrate her "first day" of just her and Mom, and celebrate we did.  She chose to go to Meijer Gardens, a favorite spot of hers, and we had a great time playing outside, going for a walk, and just enjoying the beautiful weather and hanging out together.  (Not to mention, trying to keep Mom's mind occupied so she wouldn't be missing and worrying about her kindergartner too much!)

Our next stop was to meet Grandma and Aunt Katie for a special lunch date, and my daughter actually fell asleep in the drive across town.

It was 12:06.

This should have been my first warning.

This kid -- the fighter of all things sleep related -- has not taken a nap in I don't know how long. Let alone that early in the afternoon.  Not only did she fall asleep in the car, but she then stayed asleep when I took her out of her car seat, and then for a good 30 minutes or so in the restaurant.

This is absolutely unheard of for her.

I chalked it up to all the fresh air and back-to-school excitement and lack of sleep at our house, and we went on our merry way.  We watched a movie and cuddled together for a little while on the couch when we got home.

This should have been my second warning.

We then greeted my happy, tired son as he got of the bus, heard bits and pieces about his day, had him scarf down a snack or two while my husband got him in his soccer gear, and we were out the door to soccer practice.  He had a blast and ran and ran and ran for a good hour.  I have no idea where he got his energy from, after having just completed his first full day of kindergarten.  But run and laugh and smile and play he did.

Once we got home, it was time for dinner, my husband was off to his softball double header, and I was on bath and bedtime duty.  Needless to say, it had been a very full, busy day.

But this is where it gets exciting.

At 12:34am, I heard my daughter crying from her room.  For the Queen of Night Terrors, this is a pretty regular occurrence for her.  I let her cry for a couple of minutes, and then heard "Mommy, I need a napkin!" so I figured I'd go in and check on her.  She tends to yell lots of weird things in her sleep, so again, this wasn't cause for alarm, but rather another insight into her bizarre 'sleeping' habits.  

In sticking with advice from our pediatrician, I kept the lights off to keep the room dark, and reached down to pick her up.  She felt damp, and I thought she must have been crying quite a bit, so I took her out to the kitchen to help her calm down.

Except the damp wasn't tears.

Oh no.  I'm sure by this point, you've all figured out what the "damp" was, so I'll spare you the details.  And it was not only covering her little body, it was also now covering my not-so-little body.

This is the first time in her 3 1/2 years she's gotten sick to her stomach, so this lovely experience was all brand new to her. I mustered up my most soothing Mom voice and tried to reassure her she was OK and we'd get cleaned up and sometimes people get sick and it's OK, all the while stripping off both of our pajamas and trying not to get sick myself.   

We both hopped in a hot shower, at which point my husband came upstairs from watching TV downstairs and hesitantly asked: 

"Is everything OK?"

I think the sound of the shower after midnight when I had already been asleep may have tipped him off that the answer to this question would inevitably be "no."

Bless his absolutely amazing heart, he took on the tough job of cleaning up her bedding.  And I'll leave it at that, because my stomach is turning just typing those words.  

So to avoid that less than pleasant mental picture, here's a little comic relief:  Throughout this ordeal, my daughter kept referring to getting sick as "spitting" and wanted to know where the "spit bucket" was my husband had gotten for her.  Spitting?  Really?  Yeah, so not in the same ballpark.  When he was her age, my son referred to it as "burping."  Apparently, we have not properly educated our children on the true definitions of bodily functions.  

I'm sure there's an app for that, or some cute printable diagram on Pinterest that would help with this very situation.

I know you're all extremely eager to hear more about "spitting" and "burping," so back to our happy little story.

We got everyone dressed, sleeping arrangements were made, and all things considered, life was good.

Until it was quiet, and I instantly started worrying about my son.  

What if he was exposed to it?  What if he is sick?  Should I keep him home tomorrow?  It's only his second day of school...I can't keep him home if I only think he could get sick.  What if he gets sick on the bus?  What if he gets sick at school?  What if it scars him for life and he hates school and he ends up being a kindergarten drop out?

As you can see, I have this worrying thing down to science.

But it wasn't too long until all my worries were gone.

His light flicked on around 3:00am, and I heard him whimper and whine from his bedroom.  Sure enough, it was off to the bathroom with him, and he joined the ranks of his sick little sister.  The good news?  I knew for sure I'd be keeping him home the next day.  It absolutely broke my heart --  especially when he said through tears "I don't want to do this ever again in my whole life!" -- but at least it wasn't something for me to wonder about any more.  At least that way, I could get some sleep instead of laying awake worrying all night.

All you veteran moms are laughing hysterically right now at my naive line of thinking, as you know that sleep was the last thing that would be happening in our house for the next few hours.

I spent the remainder of the night "bed hopping" from my son's room to my room (where my daughter was now sleeping) to help whoever was sick at that moment.  Thanks to super-sonic-mom hearing, the second I heard the whine start, I was running to that bed to grab that kid and race them to the nearest bathroom as fast as I could.

Our overall record for the night: on 3 out of 4 occasions  the sick kid in question made it to the bathroom in time.  I'd consider that a victory.

Needless to say, I now know how to use the school's attendance hotline to call my kid in sick, and yes, I found out it even works at 3:00am.  I'm guessing we may have been one of the first -- if not the first -- call for the year.  Maybe my son will get some kind of award at the end of the year.  Or maybe some kind of "free pass" so both kids can avoid any illness that may come their way this year.  Like immunity.  But real, actual immunity, as in being immune to real, actual germs, not just where you can't get voted off the island. 

We can only hope.

I'm thankful we were able to have a really low key day yesterday, and basically watch all of their allotted TV time for the next 6 months in one day.  I'm thankful for an incredible husband who helped with all the clean up duties, and who is paying the price by now being sick himself.  I'm thankful that I was able to be there to comfort them and take care of them in the night and during the day today.  I'm thankful that no one has actually gotten sick in our house in the last 19 hours, and hopefully everyone is on the mend.  I'm thankful I haven't gotten sick myself.

But seriously?  The stomach flu on the second day of kindergarten?  Not so thankful for that.

Here's to hoping that this round of "spitting" and "burping" has come to an end.

 Whether you're sending them off on their first day, or keeping them home on their second, You Are a Good Mom.


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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

To My Son on His First Day of School

To My Son...

Today is your very first day of kindergarten.  

Your backpack is zipped up.  Your lunch is packed.  Your water bottle is topped off.  

You are ready to go.

Every day for the last week, you have started your day by asking me "Mom, is today my first day of school?"  You eagerly sprinkled your 'Ready Confetti' from your teacher under your pillow last night to help you get a good night's rest. You've been jumping up and down every time someone so much as mentions the word "kindergarten" in your presence.

I suppose those things really just describe the "excited" part of being ready to go.

But I've also seen the "prepared" part of being ready to go in you, too.

You are a good problem solver.  You know how to zip and unzip your lunch box.  You are a good listener.  You love to learn new things.  You introduce yourself to new kids, and invite them to play.  You know exactly where your classroom, your locker, your desk are.  You can follow directions.  You can ask questions and ask for help when you need it.  You know how to stand up for yourself.  I've seen you grow and develop confidence in yourself and do all these things.  

I know you are ready, in every sense of the word.

So I guess the real question is: Am I ready?

Am I ready to put you on that bus?  Am I ready to admit that you really don't need me to help you eat lunch every day?  Am I ready to accept that you will make friends that I don't know and haven't met first?  Am I ready to admit that the sweet baby boy I held in my arms what seems like moments ago is ready to walk into his kindergarten classroom and wave good-bye?

Here's the funny thing about being a parent...the answers to those questions are irrelevant.

It doesn't really matter if I'm ready or not, because you are.  And you won't wait around for me to 'be ready' because that's not how it works, and that's not how it should work.  Honestly, I don't know that I'll ever truly be ready for any part of you growing up, whether it's your first day of kindergarten or your first day of college.

But that's OK.  

Because you are ready.  And I wouldn't want it any other way.  I am thankful that you are excited and confident and eager and ready.  It is a blessing to this Mom's heart.  

While I may not be nearly as ready as you are, I do know I am just as excited as you are about today.  So much lies ahead, and today simply marks the first step in an amazing journey for you.  You are going to experience so many "firsts" this year, and I can't wait to hear all about them from your thrilled little face while you jump up and down the entire time you're telling me about it.  There is so much for you to learn and do and see and experience.  You whole world is going to open up to be so much bigger this year.  

As your world does grow by leaps and bounds when you walk in the doors of that school, my prayer for you is that you are YOU.  That you are 100% totally and completely YOU.  God has made you this kind, fun-loving, compassionate, goofy, smart boy, and He needs you to be YOU.  Your teacher and your classmates need you to be YOU.  The world needs you to be YOU. 

And do you know why?
Because you are a pretty incredible kid.  You are an incredible kid just by being YOU.  You have so much to offer this world, and in order to do that, you need to be YOU.

I hope you follow your heart and make choices based on what you know to be true and right and kind.  I hope you have lots of chances to speak what's on your mind, and share your thoughts in the way only you can.  I hope you find a peace and confidence to just be yourself and light up the room the way I've seen you do countless times.  I hope you trust yourself and believe in yourself and stay true to yourself.   

This will be true for your first day of kindergarten, your first day of high school, and your first day at your first job.  

I think that's what gets me about this day.  I'm going to blink and I'm going to be sharing these same words with you on your first day of high school, and over the phone with you on your first day at your first job.  Today is a reminder of just how fast it all goes and how precious these moments with you are.  Today is also a reminder of all the possibilities that life has to offer you.

So today, if you happen to see me cry or catch my breath as I wave good bye to you when the bus pulls away, please know they are tears of absolute joy and pride and excitement and gratitude on my part.  I am so very honored that I get to be your mom, and have a front row seat to watch you grow up.  I am thrilled to be on this journey with you.  

I hope you have a fantastic first day of kindergarten, and I absolutely can't wait to hear every single detail from you tonight at dinner.  

I love you to the moon and back!

Ready or not, You're a Good Mom.


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