My favorite nightmare came true this past whimsical Wednesday and I thought, why not let everyone else have a giggle over it?!
I took the boys to one of our local libraries because it contains two of life’s greatest luxuries: (1) a (clean and beautiful) fish tank and (2) a train table. LM1 and LM2 love visiting, I force books upon them (sort of), and it’s a win-win scenario.
Unless you’ve got to go to the bathroom.
Unless your children are screaming.
Unless your youngest son can now reach the door and open it at will because the locking mechanism is synced with the door handle.
Unless the bathroom you chose to use was a solo room which is directly connected to the library Children’s Room.
So, mid-stream, yes, mid-stream, it happened. And the door was wide open. My screaming children became running, screaming children, and I had my pants down.
I whispered my shrieks at them, trying to at least be loud enough to cover up the sounds of my sprinkles and tinkles.
Thank you to the librarian who didn’t laugh and instead pretended this sort of thing happens EVERY DAY. (I know it doesn’t. I know it doesn’t happen to anyone. Ever. Never Ever.) Thank you to the other librarian who successfully shut the door for me without making eye-contact and then shuffled the boys over to some legos or that wooden castle thing they love.
THANK YOU, nightmare, for reminding me why it’s ok to be dehydrated sometimes.
We are all our own devil
We are all our own devil
And we make this world our hell
I am a most skilled, excellent self-criticizer. I don’t know that I make my life a living hell, but I’ve been brutal enough a few times to make it pretty gosh-darn terrible. Plenty of times, the self-criticism is mostly in my head. (I’m using that as an excuse…..Can you hear it? I’m like, “Hey, it’s not so bad to beat yourself up if no one else can hear your bones cracking!”)
This negative behavior has been an awful burden to carry around that I’ve been working to unload. One of the best things about having children, for me, has been their ability to help me broaden my own awareness about the things I haven’t paid enough attention to in the past. Having children makes me want to be a better person ALL THE TIME. I want to be positive and self-encouraging and a beam of sunshine so their lives are sprinkled with magic. But I noticed the most incredible thing recently:
My kids can tell when I’m faking. My kids can tell when I’m nutty and weird and grumpy. They can tell when I’m not seeing the forest for the trees: when I’m failing to live in the moment.
So, if I want to be a ray of sunshine, and teach my kids how to become their own rays of sunshine, I REALLY need to fix the biggest trouble I’ve been carrying around with me.
This problemo of mine became super visible most recently when I got upset with my son. I say with in italics like that instead of writing at my son because we BOTH became upset. He did something super lame-o, which I noticed later was not really lame-o at all— it was typical three-year-old behavior with minimal side-effects after we got through it. It was a string of events, all of which were totally silly: he took a really long time to get dressed, he put his underpants on backward, he refused to wear a short-sleeved shirt on a 90 degree day, he refused to wash his hands after pooping, and he told me he didn’t want to go to the playground after asking to for about thirty minutes.
He literally defied everything in our typical morning routine, just for shiz and giggles.
He launched an 8-minute sass-a-frass episode on me at about 8:30 a.m., before my cup of green tea or breakfast. So far as I could tell, none of this was happening because he was hungry or tired because we’d just woken up and he’d eaten breakfast thirty minutes earlier.
So I got terse. And I got louder than my normal inside-voice-volume.
I HATE MYSELF FOR GETTING LOUD.
I even want to hate myself a little for typing that in all caps, but what other way do I have to express my sincere seriousness for hating myself in a cyberspace such as this?
Anyways, I got louder and visibly frustrated and said, “Man, you are driving me nuts. Let’s just get this stuff done, get out of the house this morning, and get to the grocery store so we can go to the park!”
And he said, “Oww, Mommy. You’re hurting my ears with your voice. I don’t like that.”
“I don’t like it either!” I said, “So put on your clothes, wash your hands, and let’s go!”
This made him cry. Not like the frustrated, sassy tantrum cry. Like the “You just scared me” cry.
I wasn’t soft or gentle or perfect Mommy. That is the Mommy voice he is accustomed to. And he doesn’t want to do business with grouchy Mommy any more than I want to do business with grouchy LM1.
When he started to cry I felt like crap. I was like, “Ugh, Kim! Pull yourself together! Why aren’t you dominating this Mom thing as soon as you wake up, after you’ve gotten sleep and had a great weekend, etc, etc, etc.”
And then it kind of hit me. I’m too hard on him because I’m too hard on myself. I hit my default button and started to yell at myself inside my head. But in that moment I noticed that getting loud and then getting pissed was a huge sign that I am always way too hard on everyone. My expectation is somewhere through the roof and my kids can see that better than I can. Especially my three-year-old. Mr. Perceptibility.
It was a Monday morning, and we didn’t need to run out the door. Maybe we needed a shirtless hour after breakfast. Maybe we needed to wear underpants backward. Maybe we needed to wear a long-sleeved shirt in the AC for 10 minutes (or more) before we were just about ready to get out the door. The high standard I hold myself to turns me into a grump. It turns out that it turns my kids into grumps, too.
Why was I rushing to get out the door? Why was I insistent on having a pattern or a specific schedule after a long weekend away? Why was I such a royal pain in the rump? Turns out, I was driving him nuts. I was driving myself nuts. It was all about me. I’m hard on us. I get it. I need to tone it down.
Lots of times, when I look at the kids and wonder WTF is going on, I need to remember that I’m the adult. I’m the grown up. I set the tone. I help them to learn how to set a lovely tone, too.
So, I’m trying. I’m learning. I’m taking it one step at a time and looking to make improvements without the nasty backtalk in the back of my mind. I’m trying to keep it real and take it easy.
So, we had a naked dance party. We took it all off (not me, the kids) and we listened to Taylor Swift’s recommendation to “Shake It Off.”
What new parenting tricks have you learned today? SHARE!by
We are more than half way through the summer, and it seems that vacationing with the babes is getting easier. There is always so much to pack, so many things to remember, and a zillion things I manage to forget. BUT, I think we’re getting a little better each time. Here are a few new tricks we’ve picked up that seem to help the kiddos for the long rides and crazy times!
1.) Keep food close. I always pack more than one bag of food, a cooler for stuff that will spoil, and then spare goodies in the diaper bag. Fruit and Goldfish are great. Even if it’s just crackers or individual apple sauce pouches, I try to keep stuff on hand for when someone gets whiny.
2.) Keep spare clothes in plastic zippie bags. For me, I’d much rather let them get messy and clean up later so as to keep every body cool-tempered. That means they eat in the car and make little messes all over. What can you do? I pack at least two outfits in zip lock bags to keep them fresh and offer a change of clothes when necessary.
3.) Tire them out before the car ride. Driving tired means the kiddies will prayerfully sleep, even if just for a short while, when we’re driving. They don’t like car seats, they don’t like feeling trapped, and they don’t like sitting for long periods of time. But they LOVE to sleep. This trip I made sure to have the kids swimming, running, and playing before we got into the car. It made them much less irritable and when we hit nap-central, we cruise-controlled our way through town.
4.) Plan ahead for rainy days. Summer time means rain, so I like to have a short list of plans for when rain comes along. Museums are great. I also pack rain coats and warmer clothes so that we can play in the rain. It can’t be avoided, and it’s super fun, so why not plan ahead so we can enjoy? This year we remembered umbrellas, too, and LM1 thought fishing with an umbrella was about the coolest thing he’d ever done. He fished off the pier in his raincoat and umbrella and became the wettest kid to catch a fish. #MISSIONACCOMPLISHED
5.) Work in a nap. I know when we’re on vacation everyone wants to have non-stop fun. I know, on the other hand, that fitting in a few really good naps is paramount to making it through the week. Make time for these, divide resources and find a way to let baby or toddler sleep it out a bit. This makes for much less grumpiness and way more fun in the waking hours you have together.
6.) Pack a play bag. I let my boys fill a backpack with some of their favorite toys before we go. It gets them into the routine of packing and brings the comforts of home on our trip. I wouldn’t recommend bringing a MOST FAVORITE toy, just in case it were to get lost. The toy backpack has helped in restaurants, on the beach, and in the houses we’ve visited.
What do YOU love to do to help make vacationing easier? I wanna know!!!by
There is a phrase I hear more often than any other when I am out and about with my two sons.
I took my little men up to Long Island to see the family this past week. It was an adventure full of love and laughter, as expected and hoped for! I must admit, there were a few unexpected happenings, thanks to the introduction of potty training.
I have not been super proactive about potty training because I haven’t felt a strong sensation that LM1 is truly ready for it. He’s not very interested in the potty, and we’ve tried underpants without much success. So, I left it alone for a few weeks because I’ve read that it is fairly damaging to force potty training on a kid who isn’t ready.
While on Long Island, one of LM1’s relatives introduced a new toy that “he could have when he pooped on the potty.”
I tried this tactic myself with a different toy a few weeks ago. My son pooped on the potty once, received the toy and had not pooped successfully on the potty since. I guess you could say he saw a means to an end and called it a day.
Well, the new toy was especially alluring, so he set his goal and planned to poop at some point during the week.
It took him a few days though. Every time he pooped his pants, he cried and cried, shouting, “Now I can’t have my toy!!!”
This was horrifying and made me question my parenting strategy. Which, I suppose is a good thing: I should be questioning at all times, working to make better and better decisions. But, how could I take the toy out of the equation after it had already been introduced?
Anyway, after a weekend of tears, he finally pooped on the potty and earned his treat. He was thrilled! He kept peeing on the potty, and all was well.
Then came time for the ride home….
My son asked to stop at “The Green Wawa,” which I finally realized was the Woodrow Wilson rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike. They serve breakfast sandwiches (at the Starbucks) and convenience snacks, so he thought it was a Wawa. We stopped on the way out to Long Island to get gas, and he remembered.
The only challenge of traveling as a solo mommy is that kids have a tendency to fall asleep in the car (which is great! Kids need sleep!). But, if you’ve got one turtle-heading LM1 screaming and LM2 fast asleep in his car seat, you’ve got some decisions to make.
I opted to carry LM2 in his bucket car seat contraption into the handicapped stall. This was gross because I had to put it on the floor….and the germs and dirt and whatever else in there is skeevy, but I told myself it’s all a natural part of life, and my neuroses needed a weekend off anyway.
LM1 proudly mounted the bowl and started his business. Unfortunately, I forgot that public restrooms have automated flushers, so every time LM1 wiggled or shifted, the toilet flushed, which nearly soaked the back of his shirt. This led to crying and the need for a change of clothes, which I conveniently left in the car.
“Why is it splashing me?!” LM1 shouted.
“It’s automatic,” I said, “and it thinks you’re done pooping every time you wiggle or move.”
But an LM1 like mine doesn’t know how to sit still. So the thing kept going off, which led to more crying, which threatened to wake LM2.
So I stood behind LM1 and held my finger over the sensor. Which struck me after the fact as fairly unhygienic as well, but hey, I was already knee-deep in there. At least the thing stopped flushing. LM1 sat for ten minutes, sang songs and delivered rhymes, but failed to poop.
We got back into the truck, loaded up, and started again.
The complaints started twenty minutes later….when LM1 announced he needed to poop again. So, perhaps it was a bad idea, but I stopped again. It took a while to find another rest stop….because I didn’t want to get off the highway. All poor decisions, maybe. But by the time I stopped, LM1 had fallen asleep. LM2 was up and crying with a wet diaper. So I changed him, settled him down, gave him some food, and then considered waking LM1 so I could go to the bathroom. In the midst of our previous stop’s mayhem, I forgot to go. Which was a super realization. How did I not feel it before?
But I didn’t want to wake the dragon.
So, I made a snap decision… I peed in a diaper. I used some of my favorite yoga squat muscles and made it work.
Who knew potty training my son would lead to peeing in a diaper myself? Why is this the mystical way that parenting works?
ALSO…..here is the super cool new potty seat we bought LM1, which I think will help make him feel confident. Sure, it looks a little geriatric and there’s no Tickle-Me-Elmo to tickle his hinee, but I think THIS seat is gong to be the winner!
I get to see some crazy, fun, incredible things each day. Life has been especially crazy lately, with lots on the schedule, lots of work to juggle, and the wildness of my little men. In the past few weeks, a few unexpected things have taken place that seem worth mentioning….to give those of you following our journey a bit of a chuckle. Enjoy! And, as always, share your own crazy adventures! I love hearing about your own excitement!
Enjoy! And, as always, share your own crazy adventures! I love hearing about your own excitement!
And, as always, share your own crazy adventures! I love hearing about your exciting lives as well!
1.) He showed Grampie how to work the DVD player, and told him it was ok if he watched Snoopy. LM1 knows very well that we don’t watch movies in the morning. But LM1 also knows to sneak into the guest bedroom to wake up Grandpa before getting Mom or Dad. And he knows that his excellent vocabulary and persuasive tone are likely to receive compliance from an innocent old man who goes by the name “Guppie” when LM1 feels like being especially cute, because he KNOWS how to say Grampie but knows how to work an angle, too. When accosted about his actions he said, “Well, Grampie didn’t know how to work the…the… thing…(he doesn’t know that it’s called a DVD player but he knows which buttons to push) so I showed him.”
Right. Ok. Keep talkin’, kid.
2.) He peed on the ferry boat. I swear LM2 was only diaperless for thirty seconds….just before bathtime. So, we were in the bathroom, on a tile floor, and clean-up wasn’t that ridiculous. But if we’re all being honest with ourselves, he aimed with some impressive precision, titled his (insert your own vocabulary word here) up into the plastic ferry boat and defiled it with a rainstorm of canary yellow. The small ship took the brunt of the storm. So, my floors were somewhat spared. But the boat……well…..the boat needed a little more than soap and water.
3.) He asked the mailman not to hit our mailbox. Because the mulch delivery truck did that a few weeks ago. So, in the eyes of LM1, no one else had better do it again. He’s very protective of our property, for some ridiculous reason, which is completely unknown to me. LM1 watches as trucks and cars drive by and he is just waiting for someone to knock the box and/or post over again. Maybe he thrives on action-packed afternoons? Maybe the bending of the post defied his sense of reality, and he wants it bent again. Regardless of his reasons, the shouting at our mailman comes across as a tad bit snarky. Imagine a two-year-old waving and shouting from the driveway, “Don’t hit the mailbox! Be careful! It’s right there!”
4.) He wiggled his little toes into the mouth of a baby. Can I first comment on this one with a raving, “Yuck!” and then say that it was hilarious after my initial disgust dissipated? LM2 was sitting in his high chair and a beautiful, gentle, curious, wonderful almost-one-year-old toddled up to the legs of the seat. Said toddler saw the toes, LM2 felt something brewing below, and the two halves came together. Do I call it curiosity on the part of both babes? Do I call it a freak accident? How could I have avoided this? I reacted in a way any mother would: I laughed my mommy butt off. #stilllaughingwhennooneislooking
And…speaking of butts….
5.) He asked why I put coupons in my butt. Well, try to get a free minute in the bathroom, Mommies. It’s no easy task. Try to hide the box of tampons. Try to sneak a moment of privacy. And then fail. When this happens, try explaining to your husband why LM1 thinks you put coupons in your butt. So far, his rationale sounds something like this: “Well, Mommy doesn’t have a penis like me and Daddy. So she needs to put coupons in there.” How do I fix this? #epicmomfail #howtoundothis? #WTFby
LM1 is officially asking questions about the potty, his pee, his poo, and the like. So, we’ve offered him the option of peeing on the potty with a semi-convenient potty seat that sits on top of our normal toilet seat. I don’t know that he’s ready to really, truly, officially be a toilet-trained human, but he is certainly curious…..so I am as well.
The musings this little man has undertaken are….well….toilet humor aside, they’re a gas. Here are some of the questions I’ve received since starting this process:
1.) Q: My poo comes out of a different place than my penis. Why, Mommy?
A: Your pee comes out of your penis and your poo comes out of your butt. They’re different things.
2.) Q: If I will poop in my diaper, can I wipe my butt up here? (He wants to sit on the toilet, bend himself over, and reach his own butt in a c-shape position.)
A: Sure. Here’s a wipe. Be careful and don’t fall through.
Q: Why would I fall through?
A: Ask Alice. I don’t think she expected to fall through, either…
3.) Q: Did you hear me make the twinkly sound with my pee?
A: Yes. I heard the “tinkle,” not the “twinkle.”
4.) Q: How much soap until I’m all clean afterward?
A: No one really knows, so we’ll go with one squirt.
5.) Q: Do you wear pull-ups, too, Mommy?
A: No, I wear underwear. Because I’m a big girl and I can control my pee.
6.) Q: Pull-ups are not the same as underwear. Can I pee in them?
A: They’re like underwear, so try hard not to pee in them.
7.) Q: If I promise to pee in the toilet, can I wear only shorts today?
A: Umm, no, there’s still snow on the ground and you’re not a free-baller. Not on my watch.
8.) Q: I will take off my shirt to use the toilet?
A: You don’t have to. It’s not a requirement.
Q: But I am a man.
A: Ok. Whatever you need, Honey.
9.) Q: Will you put my poop into the toilet?
A: How would I do that? That’s your job.
Q: But it’s in my diaper. You need to put it in the toilet so we can flush it. Ok?
10.) Q: I made a really really big stink-a-rink. Is that funny?
A: Not really. It’s kind of gross.
Q: I will laugh loud. Will you laugh, too?
A: Maybe at your wedding one day… ;0)
1.) When we found a metal door inside the restroom at the grocery store:
LM1: Mommy, what this is for?
Me: The little door?
LM1: This… (he knocks on it)
Me: It’s a panel to hide away something. Maybe an electrical panel or something having to do with the ventilation in here.
LM1: Maybe it’s where they put the gas in.
Me: Why does the grocery store need gas?
LM1: To make it go.
Me: Where is it going?
LM1: I don’t know. Somewhere.
2.) While we ate breakfast and Daddy got ready to leave for work:
LM1: Daddy’s got to go to work.
Me: That’s right.
LM1: He is going to YMCA.
Me: To work out?
LM1: That’s where he works.
Me: What does he do there?
LM1: He watches the kids.
Me: Are you sure? Why do you think he does that?
LM1: Because they listen to him.
3.) While sitting on the toilet, crying:
Me: Why are you crying?
LM1: Because I don’t want to eat my poop.
Me: Why would you eat your poop? No one is asking you to do that. We don’t do that!
LM1: But you say we eat the blueberries and they are my poop.
4.) While saying prayers before bedtime:
LM1: Thanks, dear God, for a wonderful day.
Me: What else should we say thank you for?
Me: Yes! And who else? Your cousins?
LM1: We did not see them this weekend.
Me: We don’t only have to say thanks for people we saw this weekend.
LM1: Oh. (confused….)
5.) While negotiating over the chicken and broccoli for dinner.
LM1: Maybe I should have oatmeal.
Me: Maybe you should eat what I made.
LM1: I don’t like it.
Me: Eat 5 pieces of chicken and 2 pieces of broccoli.
LM1: Then I can have oatmeal?
Me: What if I give you juice?
LM1: From the juice box?
LM1: I will have 5 broccolis.
I love the fall because it’s the time of year when I fell in love with my husband. Everything about the fall strikes me as romantic because it takes me back to that time in college when I met this man I had a good feeling about. I didn’t know we would end up together. I didn’t know we would get married and have two kids in Pennsylvania 10 years after we met. I just had a great feeling, and I knew I wanted to keep feeling that way for as long as possible.
So, almost as much as I love the fall, I have to admit that I kind of hate winter. All those sweet, warm, wonderful feelings get warped in my brain as soon as winter hits. I didn’t always hate winter. But since having my kids, it is harder to be outside and it’s harder to get much of anywhere. There are hats and gloves and mittens. There are strollers and carriers to lug around and use or not use (if there is ice or too much snow). It is physically more challenging to get around with all this extra stuff. Then, once we get out, the kids don’t especially like the cold. So our outdoor fun lasts in 15-20 minute increments. WTF.
This leaves us mostly trapped inside. Which chaps my butt and makes me stir crazy. I like to move. The kids like to move. Jack Frost is a force to be reckoned with and there is only so much we can take.
I get kind of sour this time of year and I have tried lots of different things to help change this. The sunlight light bulbs. Going to the gym. Scheduling play dates. Keeping busy.
But this morning an amazing thing happened. A song came on the radio that shot me back into the past. Into my favorite time of year, my favorite moments in life. Those months when I was falling hard for a guy I had no idea would change my life. And it slowly occurred to me that I didn’t just fall in love with Hubs that fall. I fell in love with a season, a city, new traditions, and a new home.
So when winter comes and the first big cold blows through town, I am going to go back in my mind to love. Because to love is to live. And I can blow winter hard on its butt if I can find things to love about winter.
Here are some winter activities I’ll be enjoying…. (though I’m hoping you’ll share your ideas with me!!!)
1.) Making soup. Thank you, Ina Garten.
2.) Group exercise. Thank you, YMCA.
3.) Cross country skiing. The kids are getting snow suits and they will endure 15 minute increments until they love the cold. Thank you, Craigslist.
4.) Museum hunt. There are more out there than I know! I recently found the Reading Public Museum and it’s awesome for the kiddies.
5.) Pen palling. I don’t know if this will work, but I have a sneaking suspicion there is an app for this. Why not make a new friend via old fashioned letter writing???
6.) Pump the heat in our house for underwear dance parties. This may not be energy efficient, but I think it will make us smile. And sweat. And sleep better.
7.) House project. I’m going to get organized!
8.) Podcast exploration. So far I’ve found “The Moth” and it’s pretty amazing.
9.) Wake up earlier. I’m sure that staying up late serves no purpose but to make me cranky. So, HELLO BEDTIME!
10.) Book a vacation. Where to go? Here’s to thinking, plotting, planning, and scheming!
What are YOU up to this winter???by