A Lesson In Positive Thinking

So maybe you didn’t know this about me, but I’m a big fan of Positive Thinking. I suppose no one is a fan of Negative Thinking, right? From what I hear Negative Thinking is really down in the polls, yet somehow he still gets way more press time than Positive Thinking. ūüėČ

The thing is, no one likes to think negatively, and yet, it happens. Psst… here is the big secret. Whether you choose to think positively, or negatively, it is a CHOICE. What goes on in your head is under your control. Yes, there are other factors and issues, but the words that play over and over again in your head are YOUR WORDS. And maybe someone else put the recording in there, but you are the one who presses play or stop, or just DELETE.

True story! When a thought comes up that makes you feel UGH, say DELETE. Try it, you might like it. ūüėČ

So by now you’re thinking, her poor kids. They have to listen to this positive thinking garbage all day long. Right? I don’t put up with any Negative Nelly-ing.

So last night, Finn says to me “Tomorrow is going to be the WORST day of my life.” Which naturally made Positive Mom want to scream “DELETE, DELETE!!!” I mean, I didn’t because that would be nuts, even for me. Now reading this, you may be concerned that something really dire is about to happen in Finn’s life. What could it be? A root canal? A rigorous test? Is someone dying?

Take a deep breath, it is none of the above. We are going to the pool with friends.

terriblepool

 

Horrible, right? I mean, you can do things other than have giant buckets of water dumped on your head, but… Finn hates the pool. Yup. And I understand. For an introvert kid with sensory issues, the pool can be a bit much. Still, he “usually” enjoys it once he gets there.

So, instead of screaming “DELETE!” I said calmly to Finn, “Please don’t ever tell yourself ahead of time how bad something is going to be. Never choose for it to be a bad day. You have the whole day ahead of you. The pool is only a couple hours. Decide it’s going to be a good day. What else do you want to do tomorrow?”

“Go see Banana Split” replied Finn. Umm… Banana Split is a turtle we saw at a state park in Florida 3 years ago…

“Well, maybe you will see a turtle. We do have turtles around here too.”

“I doubt it.”

“Well, you never know. You never know what good things might happen.”

“I know what good thing can happen that will make it a good day.”

“Great! What is that?”

“Someone will poop in the pool, it will be closed, and we won’t be able to go.”

And with that, he drifted off into a sweet slumber, dreaming of failed swim diapers and summer festivity shut-downs. Positive thinking for the win.

nopoop

Unless you choose the poop. I don’t recommend it. Thanks for reading.

 

Rough Times

Whew, what a day! ¬†My poor kids are beat. ¬†Yeah, they’ve got it rough. ¬†HOW rough? ¬†Where do I start?!?

Why, this morning they had to do chores after breakfast.  Beau got the job of cleaning the tiniest bathroom in the house.  He emerged 22 seconds later, looking quite exhausted.  I peeked in and surveyed the filth.

“Try again, you have to actually wipe things off.”

Beau: ¬†“I did!”

Me: ¬†“I can see pee on the seat from here.”

He shrugged as if pee being on the seat was a non issue.  SIGH!  Back into the bathroom for another full minute of bone crushing work.

Chores are HARD.

Next, it was time to wash up and get dressed. ¬†Finn was entirely too exhausted to walk up the stairs. ¬†After 15 minutes of whining, he decided he needed something up there anyways and was miraculously transformed into a ball of energy, shooting up the steps at warp speed. ¬†“Don’t forget to get dressed!” ¬†Several minutes later, he returned in fresh pajamas.

“Finn, you will need actual clothes before we go out to play.”

Finn: ¬†“UHHHHH”. ¬†(This is the sound of exhaustion that requires massive amounts of energy to produce and takes even more energy to listen to.)

It’s okay, Finn, we get it. ¬†Wearing pajamas for only half the day is HARD.

I couldn’t blame Finn for being a little down, because his favorite stuffed animal, Zoe the dalmatian, was missing!

“Did you check your bed?”

Finn: ¬†“YES! ¬†I looked super good. ¬†I even checked the crack!”

Beau also climbed up the bunk bed ladder to help look for Zoe. ¬†A massive search ensued, combing under furniture and behind curtains. ¬†Still, no Zoe. ¬†I’ll admit, I was worried. ¬†Possibly more worried than Finn…

Finn: ¬†“If Zoe’s lost, then I want a stuffed manatee instead. ¬†And I’ll name him Manty!”

Beau: “No, you can’t! ¬†MANTY is MY manatee!!!”*

*Backstory: ¬†In Florida Beau got a stuffed manatee at the Ron Jon Surf shop. ¬†Finn and Dash were not interested and chose other souvenirs. ¬†Within 48 hours Finn and Dash were both obsessed with Beau’s Manty the Manatee.

Finn: ¬†“Well, MY manatee can be named Manty too!”

Beau: ¬†“NO! ¬†He can’t! ¬†You can name him Manters or something, but NOT MANTY!”

Finn: ¬†“MANTERS? ¬†I HATE THAT! ¬†YOU’RE THE MEANEST BROTHER EVER!”

Fighting over names for stuffed sea cows that you don’t even have??? ¬†Hard. ¬†Hard to listen to, that is…

Had we seen the worst of it? ¬†I’m afraid not. ¬†At lunch time, Finn wanted his favorite, macaroni and cheese. ¬†First, I had the nerve to ask him to get the box while I got the pot of water. ¬†He had to open a door. ¬†HARD. ¬†As if that wasn’t bad enough, I put fresh grated cheddar in his bowl. ¬†“Mom! ¬†That macaroni and cheese was TOO CHEESY! ¬†I could only eat one bowl.”

Macaroni and cheese that’s TOO CHEESY??? ¬†Now that is a tragedy of the worst sort.

Just when everyone had almost recovered from the macaroni incident, I had to go and make chili for dinner, which was just plain cruel. ¬†Chili is really close to soup, and if you were to ask my boys they would tell you we have soup “EVERY DAY.” ¬†That means once ¬†a week. ¬†To their credit, they were not whiney and they ate their chili. ¬†I guess they are getting used to prison life. ¬†But to add insult to injury, there was nothing for dessert except for a few white chocolate chips. ¬†“Those will do” they responded with a glimmer of joy. ¬†See? ¬†During rough times you have to be grateful for what you have.

After dessert, the small sugar rush impelled them to want to slide around on the kitchen floor in their socks. ¬†When Finn went to look under the kitchen table for his socks, they had disappeared! ¬†“Where are my socks?!? ¬†I need those socks I left under the table!”

Hmm, maybe I had already moved them when I swept? ¬†I should have known better. ¬†Obviously if you find socks under the kitchen table, they aren’t abandoned, they have been left there for safe keeping! ¬†Poor children. It’s SO HARD when you don’t have a safe place to leave your dirty socks!

Well, without socks, there is no sliding on your feet, so the only other option is “Butt racing”. ¬†Butt racing is where the poor children turn themselves into little human plasma cars and scoot along on their bottoms. ¬†Sure, it’s kind of a pitiful sight, but I was glad to see them making the best of the situation.

Can you believe what a rough day these guys had? ¬†I’m glad they’re getting their rest now. ¬†Oh, but there was ONE silver lining in the day, (besides the stale quarter bag of white chocolate, that is.) ¬†I went upstairs, climbed the ladder to the bunk bed, and untangled a rolled up sheet. ¬†Inside the sheet was Zoe. ¬†Because the saying is true, “Nothing is lost until Mom can’t find it.”

FINNANDZOE

I know a lot of people out there are having hard times for real.  I hope if you are going through a rough patch, maybe our silliness will put a little smile on your face.  Tomorrow will surely be much better!

Chin up! ūüôā

Jennifer

 

 

 

The Domestic Revolutionary

How’s 2014 treating you all? ¬†In highly irrelevant, semi-outdated news that you can’t live without, “Selfie” was named word of the year by Oxford Dictionary. ¬†“Selfie” simultaneously topped the list of banished words for 2013 compiled by Lake Superior State University. ¬†So, 2013 was the year of the Selfie, and you should never speak of it again. ¬†Look, I don’t really care if you take Selfies or talk about Selfies, just don’t say Twerking in my presence, okay? ¬†If you have managed to spare yourself from knowing what these words mean, consider yourself lucky and DON’T ASK.

There is another word/phrase that I wish would just go away: CRUNCHY.

“What?” you may ask. “Who doesn’t like a little crispness to their food? Hmm, do I have any chips in the cupboard?” ¬†Okay, before I lose you to a Dorito run (or Late July organic tortilla chip run if you prefer), I’m not talking about the opposite of mushy. ¬†I’m talking about the word people use to describe those who are health conscious and environmentally aware. ¬†I am particularly not crazy about being called a Crunchy Mom. ¬†I know some people don’t mind the term, in fact, they totally own it. ¬†They embrace it. ¬†They flat out rock it. ¬†Others are like, “Crunchy? ¬†You call me Crunchy and I’ll break your teeth.” ¬†Perhaps I fall somewhere in between? ¬†And do you really want to find out? ¬†Yeah. ¬†That’s what I thought.

Okay, so some of you are still confused. ¬†What on Earth would make someone call you Crunchy? ¬†Let me enlighten you, because this is way more relevant than Twerking and Selfies. ¬†Trust me. ¬†Here’s the scoop. ¬†You might risk being called Crunchy if you…

  • Plan for a drug free birth
  • Use cloth diapers
  • Baby-wear
  • Co-sleep
  • Breastfeed past a year
  • Prepare homemade food
  • Grow your own food
  • Homeschool
  • Use alternative medicine
  • Have a parent at home full time

Yada, yada, yada. You get the picture? Why Crunchy? ¬†Apparently it goes back to the hippies and granola. ¬†Because granola is crunchy. ¬†You can tell people put a lot of thought into this, right? ¬†When I explained the term to Danny, he said “Wow, you even make your own granola. ¬†You must be REALLY Crunchy.”

You’ll have to ask him if he still has all his teeth.

Like I said, a lot of people are totally cool with this term. ¬†But I’m not a fan of labels. ¬†It makes me feel like we’re all back in high school. ¬†“Oh, don’t hang around them. ¬†They’re like, SOOO Crunchy!” ¬†(Insert obnoxious mean girl laughter here.) ¬†Or worse yet, “Hey, if you want to be in our Crunchy Club, you’ve gotta use cloth diapers made from organic cotton. ¬†Pampers, like REALLY??? ¬†We don’t hang out with Earth haters.”

Look, I kind of get where the animosity comes from. ¬†We Moms are an enthusiastic bunch. ¬†And we also can be a sensitive bunch. ¬†So when one mom wants to ask “Did you see the article from Dr. Mercola about¬†Azodicarbonamide in commercially prepared bread?”, the mom she’s talking to hears “Don’t you know you’re killing your child with that sandwich???”

So perhaps some have given us health conscious types a bad name. ¬†I understand that people can be a little self righteous about their decisions. ¬†But does that mean we have to label everyone who makes those decisions with a texture of food? ¬†I mean, REALLY. ¬†We all put a lot of thought and effort into our parenting decisions. ¬†Entirely too much thought and effort to be lumped into a category described by the mouth feel of an oat cereal. ¬†I prefer “Parenting Non-Conformist”. ¬†Or better yet, “Domestic Revolutionary”. ¬†YES!!!

So, from here on out, we shall not use the CR word. ¬†We will instead use the term Domestic Revolutionary! ¬†(It requires an exclamation point, don’t you think?)¬†¬†So, you may be thinking “Being a Domestic Revolutionary sounds sweet. ¬†Do I have to do all the things listed above to qualify?”

The answer is simple. ¬†Absolutely not! ¬†You can do some of the things. ¬†You can do none of the things. ¬†You can do all of the things as long as you don’t go bonkers trying to do them. ¬†But there are a few simple qualifications, and while they aren’t all easy, there’s a pretty good chance you’re already doing them.

So here it is!  A sort of manifesto for the Domestic Revolutionary:

  • Know your family
  • Be tuned in to your family’s needs
  • Listen to your mommy gut instincts
  • Never make your decisions based on the status quo
  • Never make your decisions just to defy the status quo
  • Research like a mad woman
  • Never waste one second worrying about what other people think
  • Be The Expert On Your Own Home

When I had my first baby, I wanted to do things the “right” way. ¬†I wanted people to look at me and say “She’s a good mom”. ¬†I didn’t want to stand out. ¬†I never planned to be that lady who loves Frankincense, has a freezer full of wheat berries, brings organic pop corn to movie night, and refers to 1st grade as Core Phase.

I tried being conventional, but when it didn’t work out, I had to give myself permission to become a weirdo. ¬†Okay, forget for a moment that I’m a weirdo. ¬†Because in addition to being a weirdo, I am also an expert. ¬†“Ha!” you may be thinking. “Well, what on Earth are you an expert in? ¬†We know it’s not baking bread, Miss Wheatberry!” ¬†SO, I am not an expert at baking bread. ¬†But I AM the expert on my own home! ¬†And I bet you are the expert on YOUR own home! ¬†See how cool that is?

When we come across another mom who does things totally differently, we don’t have to feel defensive of our own choices or condescending towards hers. ¬†We can give others the benefit of the doubt, that what they are doing is exactly right for them. ¬†Instead of trying to examine their motives or assign them to a parenting style clique, we can say “Wow! ¬†That’s Revolutionary!” ¬†And move on with our lives because ain’t nobody got time for worrying about other people’s decisions.

So, hold your crispy Ezekiel bread with grass fed butter high, my formerly CR labeled friends! ¬†And my friends with mushy white bread because that’s all your kids will eat and it’s not worth fighting over, hold that up high too! ¬†Let’s make 2014 the Year of The Domestic Revolutionary! ¬†Hey, if Twerk was a hot word, I think we have a chance here.

Oh, and if you’re lucky AND good, I just might give you the recipe for my Revolutionary Homemade Granola. ¬†It’s really awesome. ¬†And as far as granola goes it’s more chewy than… well, you know. ūüėČ

 

For Beau, who for 9 years has been teaching me to be Revolutionary.

For Beau, who for 9 years has been teaching me to be Revolutionary.

Enter At Your Own Risk: Lego Disaster Clean Up

Remember this picture of Finn in his room from How Finn Got His Knack Back?  Yeah, this one where he was looking really happy, surrounded by a sea of Legos and Snap Circuits?

Notice the Lego bin tower in the background that has no Lego bins in it.   They and their contents are ALL ON THE FLOOR.

Notice the Lego bin tower in the background that has no Lego bins in it. They and their contents are ALL ON THE FLOOR.

 

A disaster zone, right?  Although Finn seems to have a mental inventory of each piece and it's location on the floor.

Although Finn seems to have a mental inventory of each piece and its precise location on the floor.

Despite Finn being totally content with the situation, every one else was fed up with not being able to so much as walk through the room anymore.

Time. To. Clean. Up.

Naturally, Finn was completely overwhelmed by the idea.  Being a gracious Mommy (sucker), I agreed to help.  Helping of course means I do 95% of the work while he writhes around on the floor, occasionally tossing something in a bin and acting like life is really hard.

I didn’t mind helping, but I was soon aghast at what I found. ¬†Seriously, it wasn’t for the faint of heart:

Lego mini figures with their pieces strewn everywhere, yellow heads just rolling around willy-nilly, not so much as a hand left attached to an arm. All I could think was “Who does this to their mini figures???”

My first instinct was to put them back together, but soon I was overwhelmed. How do you choose who to help? The grandpa because he’s charming? The Ninja Turtle because he’s part of a set? ¬†The Yeti because we just got him and could we not keep it together for THREE DAYS??? ¬†And do I just leave the Snake guy because he’s kind of creepy? Doesn’t he still deserve arms?

So I decided the best thing to do was to gather all their pieces and put them in one bin, creating a sort of safe zone where they might at least have a chance of being reunited with their missing parts.

legopartsAfter AT LEAST TWO HOURS I stumbled out of the disaster zone. ¬†Honestly, I had completely lost all sense of time while I was in there. ¬†Every time I was about to give up I would see another little arm peeking out of the bricks and have to keep searching. ¬†I was physically and mentally drained from the experience. ¬†(That isn’t a joke. ¬†For real, I had HAD IT.)

At the end of the day, Finn had assembled sixteen mini figures, which he proudly declared were his own “Series”. ¬†There are still more displaced torsos and hands in the box, but I will sleep well knowing I did all I could.

And I’m pretty sure that I ranted enough about “You’re not getting anymore mini figures if this is how you treat them” to make an impression on a certain little person… ¬†Let’s hope.

 

 

How Finn Got His Knack Back

There’s something we’ve known about Finn for awhile now.

Don’t worry, it’s not bad. ¬†It’s just that we knew there was something a little different about him. ¬†I remember back when he was¬†two year old and making towers out of Lego Quattro blocks. ¬†I realized he wasn’t just grabbing any blocks, he was making patterns with the block colors. ¬†At first I thought it was just coincidence and I tried to hand him blocks that did not match the pattern. ¬†Each time he would quickly reject my offer and go out of his way to find the block he had in mind. ¬†Hmm…

Then he started taking toys apart. ¬†No toy car or truck could be found in the house with all four wheels in tact. ¬†We were starting to realize… ¬†Finn had The Knack.

You know about The Knack, right? ¬†If not, this less than two minute video will fill you in. ¬†If you do know, you need to watch it anyways because the information in this Dilbert comic is pretty pivotal to the serious discussion we’re having here, okay?

(Obviously I don’t have The Knack. ¬†If I did, this video wouldn’t be too large despite my watching several YouTube videos on how to embed YouTube videos.)

So, yes, we knew Finn was a little different.  But it was so much fun to see him tinkering around in the areas he enjoyed.  He could build Lego sets made for much older children.  He was great with patterns and numbers.

young engineers

And at least I wasn’t worried about how he would do in school! ¬†Even though he would be one of the youngest in his class, I knew he would be fine. ¬†After all, he was SO SMART! ¬†Surely, school is MADE for kids who have The Knack. ¬†Right?

Not.  So.  Much.

In Kindergarten Finn was not happy.

young engineers

I thought he would get over it.  I thought he would adjust.  Sure, he whined every day when it was time to go into school, but CERTAINLY he cheered up once he got settled in?

Nope. ¬†He never did. ¬†When he had his Student Of The Week poster project, his teacher told me she was surprised. ¬†Why? ¬†Because Finn was smiling and having a good time in the pictures. ¬†She had never seen him smile like that. ¬†ūüôĀ

I realized that even in Kindergarten, there was A Box That All Must Fit In. ¬†And Finn didn’t fit in that box. ¬†He was smooshed and miserable and fighting it every step of the way.

And in the process, Finn was losing his Knack.

Now, I don’t know that this applies to all kids with The Knack, but Finn is Stubborn. ¬†The more he was pushed to comply with The Box, the more he fought it. ¬†Anything that was deemed “school”, aka “learning” was rejected with animosity. ¬†Math homework had Finn on the floor in tears, even though it was mostly very simple problems that had been so intuitive to him earlier in the year. ¬†He no longer enjoyed puzzling over numbers and how they worked. ¬†My former budding mathematician hated math. ¬†The joy had been sucked out of it.

I recently read A Mathematician’s Lament, by Paul Lockhart. ¬†Here’s a quote: ¬†“We are losing so many potentially gifted mathematicians‚ÄĒ creative, intelligent people who rightly reject what appears to be a meaningless and sterile subject. They are simply too smart to waste their time on such piffle.”

TIME OUT! ¬†You remember what the Dilbert cartoon said, right? ¬†“If an Engineer loses The Knack, the results can be devastating.” ¬†Math is part of The Knack. ¬†A love of learning is vital to The Knack!

This is bad.

Well, the Dilbert part was funny, but it really isn’t a joke. ¬†It’s true. ¬†What happens if kids like Finn, kids who don’t fit in “The Box”, are being so squashed and molded to conform that they end up saying “FORGET IT!” and leaving their talents by the wayside like a crumpled piece of notebook paper? ¬†I imagine they would end up an angry shell of who they could have been. ¬†And that isn’t funny in any way. ¬†It’s tragic.

It leads me to think about the epidemic of kids who are being labeled with diagnosis codes and put on prescription medications.  Honestly I am sure plenty of doctors would have offered our family the same, if we had been so inclined to ask them their opinion on our child.   Certainly each parent is the expert on their home, and sometimes interventions are beneficial.  STILL, I wonder, how many kids are out there, taking pills to fit in, because their undiscovered brilliance and ingenuity is so astronomical it cannot fit in a One Size Fits All container???

Hmm…

young engineers

Well, as you know, we took Finn out of The Box. ¬†It’s taken some time, but I’m happy¬†to report that the old Finn is BACK and so is his Knack. ¬†If you know Finn, you know he can be a little curmudgeonly, but I have never seen that kid so happy. ¬†He still doesn’t care for dittos, but he loves a good math problem to solve in his head. ¬†He insists that we all be completely quiet while he sits there figuring and pointing at ¬†imaginary objects, until at last he jumps up and with great excitement shouts out his conclusion. ¬†He delights in building with Legos and Snap Circuits¬†and theorizing on how things work.

No, he will never be “normal”, but none of us are around here, so it should work out just fine.

mad scientist

So, do you have a kid with The Knack or were YOU once a kid with The Knack?  What has been your experience with school?  And how do you make sure your little mathematicians and engineers keep their Love of Learning alive?

And on a less serious note, is having ALL of your Legos out on the floor REALLY a necessary part of having The Knack???

I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Dear Dash,

Dear Dash,

Listen, Buddy, we need to talk.  The other day you figured out that if you pushed a chair up to the kitchen counter you could access a whole new world of exciting things.  This morning you got up, pushed the chair to the sink and spent an entire 2 hours there, playing with dishes and soap bubbles.

keeping toddlers safe

Look, Dash, I’m glad you’re having fun. ¬†But Mommy really needs you to grow up.

I’m sorry, I’m saying this all wrong. ¬†Let’s back up a little. ¬†Do you remember when you were 14 months old? ¬† That was when you learned to open the “toddler proof” cabinet locks. ¬†At first I thought they were left open? ¬†Defective? ¬†Nope. ¬†You could actually open them. ¬†So I found high up shelves to put cleaning products on. ¬†What I couldn’t fit I moved to the garage. ¬†I put all the sharp things and breakable things up in high cabinets. ¬†Well, most of the breakable things. ¬†The ones that stayed put are now broken. ¬†No big deal, Dash, I can do without the ceramic bowls.

The same week, you started climbing up on the kitchen table. ¬†There was only one thing on the table, a glass pitcher. ¬†It was shattered on the floor within hours. ¬†That’s okay, Dash, I should have thought to move it.

cropped-027-001.jpg

Remember this little guy?

Around the same time, you learned to dismantle the play pen, which was supposed to keep you safe while I cooked dinner.  So much for that.  Down to the basement it went.

Pretty soon you were climbing the barstools onto the counter.  I already knew those stools were trouble.  Finn has a scar on his nose from knocking one of them over on himself when he was tiny.  We could do without the extra seating.  Barstools went down to the basement.

One day you pulled a little table over onto yourself. ¬†You were so short, it actually fell right over top of you, landing with you standing between the legs. ¬†Thankfully you weren’t hurt. ¬†I immediately put that table in the basement and I had Daddy double check that all the other pieces of furniture in the house were tethered to the walls.

So now we’ve gotten you to almost 21 months old. ¬†You can open and unscrew bottles as fast as an adult. You’re obsessed with electrical outlets. ¬†You love to turn on the water faucets. ¬†I’m trying to teach you which is “HOT” and never to touch it, but I always have my eyes on you in the bathroom. ¬†You always have to lean over things and reach so far that you go toppling in head first. ¬†You’re always knocking your head into tables and I’m always trying to put my hands out to cushion your little noggin when I see you’re too close to going BUMP. ¬†You put everything in your mouth and jump at a chance to get your brothers’ little Legos. ¬†I’m always scanning the house to make sure they didn’t leave anything choke-able within your grasp. ¬†You climb everything that will stay upright and plenty of things that won’t. ¬†You scamper up the boys’ bunk bed ladder and start jumping and squealing and hitting your head on the ceiling, all while trying to scoot just out of my grasp. ¬†I try and let you climb and jump as much as possible while always keeping my arms out to catch you if you get to close to the edge.

But now, NOW you are climbing the chairs up to the counter. ¬†The kitchen counter with all the hot things and sharp things. ¬†The stove, toaster, coffee maker, water, knives, glass, pottery, garbage disposal… ¬†AAAGHHHH!!!!

I’d really like to put all the chairs in the basement until you are three. ¬†I could live without them, but I don’t know how your Dad and brothers would feel about eating standing up. ¬†So for now,¬†I’m keeping the knives out of the sink and I’ve barricaded the knife block so you can’t get to it. ¬†And I’ve dragged you away from the hot toaster and stove (kicking and screaming, I might add) multiple times already. ¬†And I’ll never let you be in the kitchen by yourself.

But SERIOUSLY DASH. ¬†You’re wearing me out. ¬†I need you to grow up.

It’s not that I want to rush you through your toddlerhood. ¬†I love your snuggly toddler-ness. ¬†I love your little stinky toes. ¬†I love your curly baby hair. ¬†I love the way you ask for a smoothie and call it a “mini”. ¬†I know soon you’re going to be all grown up and I don’t really want you to be all grown up just yet. ¬†But I get so scared sometimes that I can’t keep you safe. ¬†So I stand in the kitchen for two hours helping you play at the sink, making sure you don’t get hurt and hoping you get sick of it soon. ¬†And then I start crying because your new carseat won’t fit rear facing in the van and I really want you to be rear facing because it’s safest and I just don’t know what to do to make sure this incredible little person in my care grows up and never, ever gets hurt.

You’re just so tiny. ¬†And so crazy. ¬†And I’m so tired. ¬†Know what I mean?

So Dash, I’m sorry. ¬†You don’t have to grow up just yet. ¬†But I’ll be glad when you’re a bit bigger and you have a little more sense to stay out of trouble. ¬†Until then, and after then too, I’m here for you Buddy.

I LOVE YOU DASH!!!

Love, Love, Love Always,

Mommy

That Run Over By A Truck Feeling (aka Sleep Deprivation)

The last time I wrote, I was excited after Dash had slept through the whole night on his own.  I hoped that perhaps we had finally turned a corner with him.  No more sleep deprivation!

NO. SUCH. LUCK.

That one glorious night of peaceful slumber has been followed by two (or three? I can’t count) miserable nights of wakefulness.

Apparently, that one full night of sleep was enough to fully charge his little battery and keep him going all week.  Despite lots of time running around outside and trips to the pool, Dash is not one bit tired.  It really defies logic.  How could a one year old spend two hours at the pool and splash park and then not sleep until 9pm?  Of course taking three kids to the pool makes Mommy tired.   But Dash?  NOPE.

I don’t know what’s waking him up. He doesn’t seem to be in pain, but his teeth are still coming in, so maybe he’s uncomfortable. ¬†He basically just seems mad if he wakes up and I’m not there. ¬†If I am there, he just reaches out and tries to pull my hair out of my head to comfort himself. ¬†OUCH!

Last night, I had already given up on my bed and was laying on the floor of Dash’s room. ¬†I had decided to pad the floor with a nice big down comforter, so I was “relatively” cozy there. ¬†Then, sometime in the middle of the night I woke up (to my hair being pulled) and I really had to use the bathroom. ¬†I waited until I thought he was back to sleep and tiptoed out of the room. ¬†“MAMA? ¬†MAMA! ¬†MAAMAAAAAAA!!!”

For goodness sakes.

I tried to hurry up in the restroom and rush back to calm him before he could wake up the whole house. ¬†“Dash, it’s okay, I’m right…”

BOOM!

I stepped on a truck (Rocky the Robot truck to be specific) and like a roller skate it went out from under me and I landed with my ribs on the side of the toddler bed.

Dash just stared at me in the dark as I laid on my face groaning.

EVERYTHING hurt. ¬†I dragged my battered little self back to my floor bed. ¬†“Dash, PLEASE, just go back to sleep.” ¬†He did, laying his whole body on my pillow. ¬†And so did I, with three inches of pillow to lay my throbbing head onto. ¬†(Because the whole thing triggered a headache in addition to a rib ache, hand ache, and foot ache.)

This morning I am a bit sore, my foot has a nice ugly bruise on it. ¬†I don’t think my ribs are broken, which is a plus. ¬†I wish I could say “you should see the other guy”, but Rocky looks no worse for wear. ¬†Stupid Rocky.

I had a lot of plans for today, but now here I am, back to shuffling around aimlessly, feeling like I’ve been run over by a truck. ¬†(Though technically, I ran over the truck, not vice versa.) ¬†I’m trying to type this while figuring out how to spell difficult words like “here” and “this”. ¬†Getting that little taste of having energy and mental acuity again, only to have it quickly snatched away has been somewhat cruel. ¬†Luckily, I don’t have the energy to be bitter about it. ¬†Bitterness is way too exhausting.

This too shall pass. ¬†Someday I will not suffer from chronic sleep deprivation. ¬†Someday I will sleep in a bed again. ¬†Someday I will be able to get up early and exercise instead of getting up at 8 and struggling to limp into the kitchen for coffee. ¬†Someday I will be able to answer complex questions like “how are you?” and “what’s the date today?”

Someday my Dash will be a big boy. ¬†So for now I will *try* and enjoy his snuggly toddler-ness. ¬†And I will also make sure all trucks are cleared off the floor before bedtime. ¬†Yup, definitely going to do that… ¬†ey ey ey.

sleep deprivation gets worse when toys are left on the floor

Sleep Is A Wonderful Thing

You don’t really appreciate sleep until you don’t get any.

Over the weekend, Finn came in our room and climbed into our bed. ¬†It’s only a queen size and admittedly, it’s a little too cozy with three people. ¬†No worries, because before I knew it Dash was crying and *as usual* I ended up spending the rest of the night sleeping on the floor of his room. ¬†Morning came, and we were all up around 8am. ¬†Except Daddy, who is usually the first one up, even on the weekend. ¬†Just when I was starting to wonder if he was ill, he came downstairs looking very groggy.

“Good afternoon!” ¬†I couldn’t resist saying. ¬†(I’m obnoxious, I know.)

“What-EVER!”

“What? ¬†Not feeling well rested?”

“Well rested! ¬†Not with Finn kicking me in the back all night!”

“Ha! ¬†Welcome to my world! ¬†Except without the comfy bed!”

Seriously, over the past 19 months, I have learned to function without a good night’s sleep. Actually I’ve relearned how, because I did the same thing with my other two. ¬†We are zero for three here with Good Sleepers.

So, yes, I have gotten by with very little sleep (or lots of broken up sleep) for what seems a very long time. ¬†And when I say “function”, trust me that I use the term very loosely. ¬†Function translates to shuffling around aimlessly, mumbling things that don’t make sense. ¬†I’m very sorry if you’ve tried to carry on a conversation with me over the past 19 months. ¬†Processing language is apparently one of the first things to go when you’re sleep deprived. ¬†Everything is suddenly a “thingy” or a “whatchamacallit”. ¬†Words! ¬†Bah, who needs them anyways?

True, it would be nice to be able do more than “function” with our homeschool starting in 2 weeks… ¬†Being able to speak in complete sentences could come in handy… ¬†“Eventually” I thought. ¬†“We just have to get through this phase.” ¬† (Somehow!)

THEN:  This very morning, a wonderful thing happened!

I woke up (always appreciated in itself), but it gets even better: ¬†I woke up IN MY OWN BED and it was MORNING. ¬†My husbands’ phone alarm was going off. ¬†Nobody was crying. ¬†I felt like I had… SLEPT???

At first I was confused. ¬†I didn’t have the usual Run Over By A Truck feeling. ¬†I felt strangely well rested. ¬†Should I go back to sleep? ¬†Am I still tired? ¬†Should I be tired? ¬†I decided that indeed, I WAS NOT TIRED! ¬†In fact, I felt like a million bucks!

THEN… the panic set in. ¬†What happened to Dash? ¬†I went to his room and peeked in. ¬†There he was, STILL SLEEPING. ¬†Like a baby (as those crazy people say).

WOOT WOOT!

It was an amazing morning.  I did laundry without anyone throwing dirty stuff in with the clean.  I scrubbed the shower without worrying about anyone putting my hairdryer in the tub.  I emptied the dishwasher without it turning into an extreme sport of catching glasses as the baby throws them to me.  I drank coffee!  I TOOK A SHOWER!!!  All before 7am!

And when Dash woke up and came downstairs, he was just as well rested as me.  (Although he did look a little confused about what had just happened.)  He came running into my arms and gave me a big hug.  Sweet Dash, Mommy loves you so!

NOW… let’s see if we can keep this going! ¬†I hate to get my hopes up, but PLEASE, PLEASE!!! ¬†Oh, it would be nice to sleep like a normal human being again.

baby sleep issues

Floor bed. Looks comfy, right? And yes, he has a crib AND a toddler bed, but sometimes he just likes the floor. ¬†Hey, if he’s sleeping, I’m not arguing!!!

 

 

Kids Are Gross

I was going to write about something different today, but after having to put my couch slip covers in the washing machine I felt a new inspiration coming on:

Kids Are Gross.

Through the fine art of the English language, I’m going to try to convey this concept with as little disgust to the reader as possible. ¬†I don’t want you to have to wash your couch slip covers too.

So, here’s a question for you. ¬†Are all kids gross? ¬†Or is it just boys? ¬†I’ve heard friends say that their girls like to be neat and clean. ¬†And I do remember that when I was a little girl I wouldn’t even open my mouth in the morning until I had gone straight to the bathroom and scrubbed my teeth. ¬†(I don’t know if this is usual for girls or if I was especially neurotic?) ¬†What I DO KNOW is that when I tell my boys to brush their teeth, they say “WHY? ¬†We aren’t going anywhere!?!” ¬†or “I just won’t breathe on anyone.”

Much to my dismay, my kids seem to have a disdain for basic personal hygiene.  Not to mention a keen fondness for poop.  POOP, POOP, POOP.  If I had a nickel for every time I heard that word, well, for starters I would hire someone to clean the bathrooms every time the boys used them so I never had to lay my eyes on such horrors again.  Anyways, my personal theory is that girls are probably gross sometimes, but boys have pretty much corned the market on grossness.

The thing that really amazes me though is the ability these children have to blithely ignore their own ickiness while being thoroughly nauseated by someone else doing the same thing.  Remove the mustard from your own face before gagging over the ketchup on the face of your brother!  <- Pretty close to what the Bible says, although perhaps referring to weightier matters.  Anyways, it is a lesson we need to learn around here!

Seriously, meals at our house are a NIGHTMARE. ¬†Everyone is messy and they are all too worked up pointing out the other’s messiness to worry about having good manners themselves. ¬†Example:

Beau: ¬†“EWWW! ¬†A crumb just flew off Finn’s fork! ¬†It LANDED right by me! ¬†I CAN’T EAT!!!!” ¬†(As he points with food covered fingers.)

Dad: ¬†“Finn, stop waving your fork around! ¬†Beau, use your fork! ¬†Pasta is not a finger food!”

Beau: ¬†(licking fingers) “Sorry, Daddy.”

Finn: ¬†“Dash is being GROSS! ¬†He just spit out his food! ¬†EWWW! ¬†I’M GONNA PUKE!”

Beau: ¬†“I can’t DEAL with this!!! ¬†I’m going to eat at the counter!!!”

Me: ¬†“I’m going to pour some wine.”

photo-1Ah, nothing like a relaxing family dinner. ¬†Oh, and by the way, they aren’t joking when they say “I’M GONNA PUKE!” ¬†Take this morning, for instance.

Dash had pancakes with a little peanut butter on them.  I washed him up after he was done, but I forgot to get his plate off the table.  A few moments later, I hear screams from the living room.

“HELP! ¬†MOMMY! ¬†DASH IS WIPING PEANUT BUTTER ON US!!! AGGGHHHH!!!”

And, because that’s not dramatic enough, “I PUKED!!!”

Yes, Beau, actually puked on the couch because Dash wiped some peanut butter on him.  So while I took the slip covers off and put them in the wash, Beau went to take a shower because he felt compelled to scrub off his first layer of skin after the incident.  And I still have to ask him if he used soap after washing his hands???

If you think the food based incidents are bad, just imagine when something really nasty happens. ¬†Like this weekend, when we were out driving on the highway in Dad’s car. ¬†All three boys are lined up in the backseat, seemingly in good spirits when suddenly, a crisis ensues.

“EWWW!!! ¬†Dash is picking his nose!” ¬†At first they are amused by it, like, “Cool, Dash is just like a big boy now!” ¬†… until he is successful.

“AGGHH!!! ¬†DASH HAS A BOOGER! ¬†HE HAS A BOOGER!!!”

I scramble to open some tissues from the glove box, but my fingers can’t work fast enough. ¬†“JUST GIVE THEM A NAPKIN!” hollers my husband.

“I’M GONNA PUKE!!!” cries Finn.

I hand the napkin to Beau, who is somewhat of a booger fan and is able to handle the task. ¬†But it’s too late. ¬†Finn is puking all over his pants and his booster seat.

Thankfully, I have an extra pair of pants and a BIG pack of wipes for just such an occasion. ¬†So we are soon on our way again, with the windows rolled down to air things out. ¬†(Until we hit construction and the asphalt smell becomes more overwhelming than the vomit smell.) ¬†The next 40 minutes are spent in bumper to bumper traffic with Finn crying that he can’t stand the smell of his own mess and the rest of us not wanting to be asphyxiated by road construction gases.

“I hate puke!” ¬†he complains. ¬†“I wish there was no such thing as puke!”

So do we, Finn, so do we.

Sorry, I hope I didn’t make you too nauseated with these stories. ¬†Myself, I have a pretty strong stomach (and good thing for that). ¬†How about your family? ¬†Are your kids grossed out by each others grossness?

photo-003

Off The Leash

Look at this cute backpack I got for Dash.

IMG_2528Awe. ¬†It’s so cuddly and he just loves it. ¬†Here’s another shot…

IMG_2523What? ¬†What’s that strap hanging off it? ¬†Uh, yeah… I’m not sure ?… ¬†It just came with this extra piece…

Okay, okay, it’s a leash. ¬†But we prefer to call it a Snuggly Chaos Management Buddy.

You know, there was a time when I had no idea that a baby “leash” was such a controversial item. ¬†I got one for Beau when he was a toddler and I was taking him to the airport. ¬†I was worried about him running off or getting kidnapped while I was dealing with luggage or plane tickets. ¬†REALLY? ¬†Not wanting to lose your toddler is controversial?

Well, apparently there is a school of thought promoting the idea that children should LISTEN and BEHAVE. ¬†Interesting, right? ¬†Apparently there would be no need to restrain these small people, because just the sound of an adult’s voice would stop them dead in their tracks. ¬†It sounds like a promising theory, but personally I would like to see further research on the subject, particularly in regards to 18 month old boys.

The other objection some have to the Chaos Management Buddy is that “Leashes are for dogs and children aren’t dogs.” ¬†I totally agree that children are not dogs. ¬†I have had both children and dogs and they are not the same thing. ¬†For instance, children climb things where as dogs do not. ¬†They both have about the same risk of running into traffic or biting someone. ¬†So, no, I would not compare my dear child to a dog. ¬†He is more like a spider monkey with a hint of wolverine…

Just kidding! ¬†But joking aside, back when Beau was little, I was a lot more concerned about inviting public scorn for trying not to lose my child, or for making any other unpopular parenting decision. ¬†I wouldn’t want some strange person who knows nothing about me or my situation or my child’s temperament to think I’m a BAD parent! ¬†How awful it would be if they judged me!

But by now I have more or less gotten over that. ¬†(Or at least become desensitized to it?) ¬†I do what I feel is best for my kids because I know them best. ¬†And I know not everyone is going to agree, which is FINE because I’ve seen that things work out okay when I go with my instincts.

Still, being a parent is a lot like wearing a sign that says “Open For Public Criticism!” ¬†Whether you’re the mom running frantically after an off-the-leash toddler, or the one trotting behind an on-the-leash toddler, or the one who is having all the exits shut down because she has no idea where her toddler is, you can be sure there is someone standing idly by, shaking their head in disapproval.

Let’s see… We have the Old School Folks who reminisce about the days when you could just go chop a branch off a tree and beat your kids with it. ¬†Then there are the ¬†Paranoid Vigilantes who are standing around watchfully with CPS on speed dial. ¬†And don’t forget everyone’s favorite parenting critic, The Perfect Mom. ¬†Bless her heart. ¬†She is more than happy to take a break from flash card drilling to tell you in excruciating detail How You Too Can Be Awesome. ¬†She has time to do this because her children are plowing through a midmorning snack of Doritos and Coke. ¬†Awe, Perfect Mom, it’s okay. ¬†Nobody’s really perfect!

They all mean well.  But sometimes it does get old!

SERIOUSLY, if the worst psychological damage my child incurs is because his mother was really worried about him getting lost in a public place, then I think we are going to get away with a really cheap therapy bill. ¬†Thanks for all the well meaning opinions, but we are doing okay. ¬†Everyone is happy, and Dash has no idea his Cuddly Buddy carries a stigma with it along with an small pack of washable crayons. ¬† And the best part: ¬†I didn’t lose any kids.

IMG_2532-001

Wait, there’s only two here… Has anyone seen Beau?

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