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.

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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.

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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

Our First Days Of Homeschool!

We now officially have two days of homeschooling under our belts.  (I decided to start a day before the public school to get a jump on things.)  How awesome did it go?  Well, my house smells like freshly mopped floors.  Is that because I had time to mop the floors???  HA!  That’s funny.  It’s actually because Dash dumped half a bottle of Murphy’s Oil Soap out onto the bench in the kitchen.

He was thoroughly delighted with his very own science experiment.  Just look at it drip.  Drip, drip, drip.  Yup, that’s what happens.  BTW, in case you think poor Dash is just wandering about playing in cleaning products, I was totally watching him and saw him grab the bottle.  As I was following him around the kitchen island to take it back he was already dumping it.  Did I mention he’s very fast???

baby getting in trouble during first days of homeschool

Let’s go back to the night before.  I had everything ready, but I wanted to have everything REALLY ready.  I had in mind starting off with a sparkling clean house, getting a good night’s sleep and possibly an early morning workout.  But at 10:30 pm, when Dash was sitting on the door of the dishwasher eating cheese and pretending to drink out of a dirty wine glass as I loaded the dishes in, I started to get a little nervous.  By the time midnight rolled around and I was finally getting to bed I was in a full fledged panic.

It’s not as though I hadn’t already contemplated it, but the sheer massiveness of the task in front of me and the weight of the responsibility hit me like a ton of bricks.  Am I cut out for this?  Probably not, but I have learned how to trim myself to fit when I’m not cut out. 😉   Can I do this?  Well, lots of other people have done it successfully, and I have the bad habit of thinking if someone else can do it, I can too.  And I’ve been knocked off my high horse plenty of times to prove it.  But even though I have an unrealistic level of optimism going for me, there still is that fear when you are jumping into the unknown.  Particularly when you’re doing something that most people don’t think you can do, and a lot of people don’t think you should even attempt.  Scary.  But, you know, some people jump out of airplanes, some people do homeschooling.

Anyways, I’m in it for the long haul.  The first day went okay.  Everybody liked Life Of Fred.  (If you don’t know who Fred is, you are missing out.)  Everybody liked reading Rikki Tikki Tavi and watching a National Geographic clip with a mongoose killing a cobra.  You’d have to be crazy not to, right???

first day of homeschool

Dash was fussy, but I got him out his own pencil pouch with fat crayons and washable markers.  Emphasis on washable.

Dash causes trouble on the first day of homeschool

By the end of the day, Finn was super melty.  I think it was a little much for him to process.  So I decided to let him choose a little more what he wanted to do for the second day.  He wanted to make cookies, so we did that and the boys helped with measuring and reading the recipe.  And Finn decided to play in the baking soda.

first day of homeschool science experimentDash decided to join him.

Dash playing in baking soda on the first day of homeschool“The baking soda is so soft!  And it’s salty!  Does baking soda dry out?  If I pour water on it and let it dry what will happen?”  It was a big, huge mess.  But they were having such a good time that I couldn’t bear to stop them.

“That was the BEST experiment ever!” raved Finn jumping up and down, covered from head to toe in white powder.  “Thanks for letting me do it, Mom.”

Whatever it takes to get a love of learning back into that boy.  Seriously.  Although I don’t want to see any baking soda again for awhile…

Anyhow, it’s going pretty well.  We’re getting a good amount done and the boys are getting excited about it, yes, even Finn.  I know not every day is going to be perfect and we aren’t always going to have everything crossed off the list.  We’re going to have to take breaks for Dash and breaks for Legos and breaks for chocolate.  I am keeping in mind what my friend Rachel said, “Give everyone a full year to adjust.”  Also what my friend Emily said, “The kids WILL learn!”  It’s what kids do, when presented with the opportunity.

So we’re on to Day Three.  Please pray for me and send coffee and chocolate. 😉

P.S.  iHomeschool Network is having a blog hop for First Day of Not Back to School Photos.  These pictures aren’t very conventional back to school photos, but they are pictures of what really happened, so I thought I’d add our link!  If you are visiting from the hop, thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you enjoyed our pictures and story, and come see us again soon!  🙂

How To Help A Mommy Out: A Post By Dash

Hey, people!  It’s me, Dash.  My Mommy was too tired to write anything today, so I thought I’d help her out and do a guest post for her.  What?  You’re surprised that I know how to spell and use the computer?  Haven’t you been reading Mommy’s blog at all?  Anyways…

I’m sure you read about poor Mommy taking a spill in my room the other night.  I was like “OUCH!  That’s gotta hurt!”  So, I decided to try and take it easy on her.  You know, sleep a bit like she’s always begging me to.  Really, I tried.  But that silly Mommy, she just wouldn’t rest!

For example, last week Mommy took us to the pool FOUR DAYS IN A ROW!  That might not sound like a big deal, but my brothers can’t swim too well.  And Mommy seems to think I can’t swim either.  So when we’re at the pool, she’s always looking out for us.  You’ll see her chasing after me hollering stuff like “Don’t jump!” and “Slow down!” and “Close your mouth before you put your face in the water!”  And then there’s the nasty white goop she’s always slathering on us.  Ugh!  What’s up with that?

Anyways, I did MY part to make the pool easy for Mommy.  I never once pooped in my swim diaper.  Nice, right?  And boy, did we all have fun!  Mommy had fun too, but I could tell she was tired afterwards.  I think the sun makes her all wilty.

Besides the pool, Mommy and Daddy were both so silly that they decided to put new paint all over the walls.  Would you believe they stayed up until 1:30 in the morning to get it done?  It sure looks nice, but I can’t wait to find a way to make it look even nicer.  Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll come up with something…  Anyways, that made Mommy even more tired.  But I was like “Well, Mommy, you can’t blame me for that one.”

Then we had a Bible convention to go to.  We had to get up real early.  Then Mommy and Daddy got to chase me around all day.  There were lots of people there.  It was fun, but being around lots of people seems to make Mommy even more wilty than being in the sun.

So today, I could tell Mommy had really had it.  I wanted to help because I love my Mommy so much!  This is what I did:

#1  I know it’s got to be getting old for Mommy to be changing my diaper all the time.  So whenever I’d remember that I was wearing a diaper, I made sure to take it off myself.  That way Mommy didn’t have to worry about it.

Dash tries to help Mommy out (by changing his own diaper.)

#2  I know Mommy’s been trying real hard to keep the counter tops clean.  And they weren’t looking too good today.  So when I spotted a Mag Light on the stairs, I knew I just had to grab it.  It would be the perfect tool for knocking stuff off the counters!  Can you believe she took it away from me?  Come on!  I’m trying to be of assistance!  Oh well, it’s the thought that counts, right?

#3  While Mommy was getting some diapers out of my closet, I found the curtain rod for my room, just waiting to be hung up.  I was like “Great!  Now all I have to do is find Daddy’s drill and I can get these curtains hung!”  Okay, I was downright ticked off when she took that away.  I even threw a little tantrum.   I was like “Help Me Help You!”  Know what I mean?

#4  The dishes were really starting to pile up.  I couldn’t reach the sink, but I knew dishes needed to be washed.  So, I did the next best thing.   I took everything I could lift out of the cabinets, smeared them with either food or my feet, and then poured water on them.  *When* I could get Mommy to give me water, that is, (because you know by now she is not the easiest person to help).  Then I took a dishtowel off the floor that had been used to wipe up some previously spilled water, and got the dishes all shined up.  I’d like to think she appreciated all my hard work, but when she tripped over a pot and the handle hit her ankle she didn’t look too happy.  In fact her head kind of looked like it might explode…

Dash helps Mommy by "washing" dishes

#5  Oh, and talk about getting behind on the kitchen.  I found lunch boxes from the weekend still sitting on the floor, waiting to be washed!  I didn’t want her to forget and think they were clean.  So I drew on them with marker.  That way they’d HAVE to get washed up nice.  YOU’RE WELCOME.

Dash helps Mommy out by making sure the lunch box must get washed

These are just a few examples of the MANY things I did today to help my Mommy out!  Aren’t I a good helper?  I hope I have given all you kids out there some ideas on how you can help your Mommies out too!

Oh, and I think my Mommy is starting to feel a bit better.  She doesn’t look quite so wilty and she even rewashed some of the pots I already cleaned.  Silly Mommy!  I’m sure she’ll be back to writing on her own again soon… 😉

Meet The Super Heroes

Yesterday evening we had to run an errand.  Two little boys fell asleep in the car.  Now, I’m not sure what happened with them, but come 10 pm, I had two Super Heroes buzzing around, wide awake and ready for a late night mission.

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Meet Dark Night and his partner, The Bit.

Now, I know you’ve heard of The Dark Knight, but this is a different guy.  (Trust me, I was confused at first too.)  Dark Night’s super power is to turn everything jet black.  For instance, when it was time to brush his teeth he said “But my teeth need to turn BLACK!  I’m Dark Night!!!  I need black toothpaste!!!”

“Hmm, how about if you just use regular toothpaste and try and get them a shiny black instead of a dull black?  Okay?”

Dark Night claims that he NEVER sleeps.  I do think he sleeps sometimes, but he definitely likes to be ready for late night missions.  Why just last night, he was needed in Antarctica.

Antarctic ModeGood thing we had plenty of hero gear for the subzero temperatures.  I am not sure why all that gear is now all over the floor…  AHEM, If you’ll excuse me for a moment….

HEY DARK NIGHT!  YOU DON’T HAVE A MAID YOU KNOW!

Okay, I’m back.  Sorry about that.

So what about The Bit?  Well, The Bit is a little spitfire of a guy who sleeps even less than Dark Night.  His super power is to get under the bad guy’s feet and make him trip.  I can tell you I have seen The Bit in action and he’s quite a force to be reckoned with.

Oh, and I almost forgot!  There are actually THREE Super Heroes.  The last one in the trio is Camo Man.

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Here he is.  Sorry, he’s kind of hard to see.   He totally blends in.  Even his eyes.  At least that’s what I’ve been told.  Or you might not be seeing him because his Alter Ego didn’t fall asleep in the car and went to bed at a reasonable hour.

Now here’s the exciting news:  This Elite Group has asked me to be a part of their team!  Can you believe it?  They even have a Super Power invented just for me.  My long hair can shoot out of my head and tangle up bad guys.  And they thought of a name too:  Hairy Girl.

Okay, not to be ungrateful for the privilege, but can I pick a different name?

 

P.S.  I wanted to write something serious, perhaps even useful.  But when you have kids up half the night it’s really best to keep it light.  The brain can only handle so much before it implodes.  Oh well, “Useful” is probably not my niche anyways… 😉

 

The Exuberant Mr. Tom

When I was a kid, I had a friend who I would go and spend a week with most every summer.  This friend had a baby brother she adored. Let’s call him Tom.  Tom was the same age as my own baby sister, probably about 2 at the time.  My little sister was sugar and spice, a precious doll baby who was always smiling and well behaved.  So, when I got to my friend’s house this particular summer, I was HORRIFIED to find that little cherub faced Tom was actually the Muppet Animal in a toddler’s body.

In my twelve years of life I had never seen anything like it.  This wild, untamed little person was wreaking havoc on their entire household!  What was wrong with this child?!?  What was wrong with the whole family?!?  I was aghast as over the week I watched one chaotic situation after another unfold involving Tom.  Tom was screaming.  Tom was throwing things.  Tom somehow locked himself in his room and cannot get out.  Tom was screaming more.  Everyone was running around like chickens with their heads cut off  trying to appease this pint sized dictator named Tom.

At the end of the visit I eagerly went back to my own home, where three little girls sat around quietly playing with dolls and reading classic literature.  I was SO very glad I would never have to deal with the likes of TOM again.

At least not for another 23 years.

My Tom, aka Dash, was born like a tiny 8lb 4oz freight train.  The doctor was running down the halls of the hospital just to get there in time to catch him.  He started screaming immediately, didn’t stop for about 3 months, and now he just REALLY LIKES to scream.  The littlest thing will set him off.  Zero to meltdown in one second flat.

But really, he doesn’t need something to upset him, he’ll scream just for fun.  SCREAM. Laugh. SCREAM. Laugh.  SCREAM some more.  He is delighted by his own deafening loudness.

Take this morning for instance.  Up until 10pm the night before (as usual), Dash slept in until 7:30.  I carried him down the stairs, but when I went to set him down, he pulled up his landing gear and refused to stand.  I set him down anyways, gently, because frankly, I wanted both hands to get the coffee pot going.  Cue SCREAMING.

Okay, maybe the little dear is hungry.  I had promised Finn I’d make waffles, but I gave everyone yogurt smoothies to tide them over.  Dash was happy with for a minute, until he decided it was more fun to turn the sippy cup upside down and watch it drip.  I took it away because yogurt smoothie is too expensive to pour all over the floor.  More SCREAMING.

One thing that Dash really likes playing with is water.  It seemed like a good substitute for the dripping smoothie, so I filled a little plastic tea pot and gave him a bucket to pour it into.  He took the lid of the tea pot and dumped it on the floor.  “WAWA!  WAWA!” he hollered in a raspy voice, demanding a refill.  Soon, all the kitchen towels are on the floor, soaked to capacity.  Finn comes in the kitchen to check on his waffles.  “Be careful, the floor is…” BOOM.  “wet.”

Thankfully, he wasn’t hurt, just wet and ticked off.  Okay, that’s enough of that.  “WAWA! WAWA!  WAWAWAWA!!!!”

Soon enough (as in before my brain completely liquefied), the waffles were ready.  Everyone was at the table eating.  Dash took a couple of bites and then started chucking his food at Beau.  “AGGGGHHH!  I can’t eat!  That’s disgusting!!!” wailed Beau, pointing at a piece of waffle.  Beau has a weak stomach, which is an inconvenient trait to have around here.

The table was quickly vacated and I washed Dash up.  Within moments he was back at the table, climbing on top of it, eating the big boys’ breakfasts off their abandoned plates.  Perhaps this was his plan all along?

After breakfast is REALLY over, I am trying to clean the kitchen.  Dash wants to be IN the dishwasher.  Like standing on the door.  I remove him for his own safety.  SCREAMING.

I wonder if recordings of babies screaming have ever been used in psychological warfare?  I mean, I hope not, but it would probably be very effective.  After a couple of hours of listening to Dash’s high decibel complaints, my eyeballs feel like they are going to fall out of my head and I just want to melt into a puddle on the floor (except that we have enough of those already.)  The point is, I will give him most anything to get him to settle down.

Oh, you want to smear blueberry juice all over yourself?  Okay.  Hmm, we do have to wash you off before you go on the carpet.  SCREAM!

Dump the crayons out all over the floor?  Why not?  I hate to risk upsetting you, but may I suggest some paper to go with those crayons?  No?  SCREAM!

Oh, you found my camera?  And you have that in one hand and a piece of waffle in the other?   Sorry to bother you, but could we please not rub the waffle on the camera lens?  SCREAM!

I was really starting to think that this was A LOT of meltdowns, even for Dash, and he might not be feeling very well.  Then the big boys decided to start moving furniture around in the living room and putting cushions on the floor.  Dash was immediately distracted from his tantrum and delightedly joined them in dismantling our primary living area.

All three of them played nicely for quite some time, at least until Finn closed the door on the playpen with Dash inside and we all had a moment of panic that he was going to freak out.  Fortunately, Dash knows how to dismantle the playpen.  He learned that around the same time that he figured out how to open cabinet locks and scale furniture to reach the highest vantage point.

Yup.  He’s a real handful.

So, what ever happened to Tom?  I don’t know, I lost touch with my friend when her family moved out of state.  But I have a feeling the now grown up Tom is using his boundless energy and exuberant personality to do something fantastic.

And I’m sure Dash will do the same.  As soon as he gets over the food throwing stage.

 

The exuberant Mr. Dash.

The exuberant Mr. Dash.