Children

Meltdown on aisle 4

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Meltdowns…those are always fun.

It’s funny how good you become at spotting a meltdown on the horizon.

And when you have more than one child with the proclivity to meltdown, that only multiplies the awesomeness of the adventure!

We have meltdowns for both logical and crazy reasons:

  • Because Momma said “no” when I asked if I could eat candy just before dinner
  • Because I couldn’t get my 100th plastic dinosaur in the $1 bucket at the grocery store
  • Because I didn’t get to say the dinner prayer by myself
  • Because it is bedtime
  • Because Daddy got my socks out of the drawer when I wanted to get them
  • Because I have to wear a dress to church
  • Because sister turned on the porch light when I wanted to
  • Because the blanket I used on my homemade fort isn’t big enough to cover all of the furniture I used to make said fort
  • Because I am not the first in line at the garage door when we are going somewhere in the car
  • Because we are taking one car instead of the other
  • Because my favorite shirt is in the washing machine
  • Because my Minnie Mouse fork is dirty
  • Because I have to wear a coat when it’s cold outside
  • Because the frog doesn’t want to be picked up
  • Because the balloon got stuck in the ceiling fan and popped

The above is a very small selection of the wonderful reasons the world wrongs us in our daily lives. As parents, we see these thunderstorms brewing and our mission is to change the weather pattern such that the meltdown is avoided, or at least, diminished in volatility.

Sometimes there is no escaping a meltdown. We just brace for it and try to seek shelter so that the child can go through the process with as little impact to the general public as possible.

So as the children navigate through the tidal wave of their feelings and emotions, we steer them as best as possible. It is astounding that so much emotion is housed in such little bodies, but through this process we see them learning (ever so slowly) that life is not fair.

Life is not fair.

You know what? Sometimes you won’t get the 100th dinosaur. Sometimes someone else gets to the door before you do. Sometimes your favorite shirt is in the washing machine. Sometimes someone else gets the Lion King dinner plate instead of you. And sometimes it’s not your turn to play with the toy, sorry.

Children

In Case You Didn’t Know How to Care for a 4 year-Old

Attention to our friends and family!! We moved our blog so please be sure to “Follow Us” (even though you already had done it before) so you’ll get the newest posts!

So recently it was time for baby girl’s annual check up at the doctor. Firstly, I did not realize how modest my littlest little has become! But she certainly let me know when it was time to strip down to her undies (the usual protocol at the doctor’s office).

Actually, let me back up a smidgen and say the girl is brave! When it was time to get the finger prick to check for anemia, she as awesome! Now, I can get myself worked up to the point of almost blacking out if I am left to sit and wait knowing a finger prick is coming. I can handle blood draws and shots in the butt, but a finger prick? Let the cold sweats begin…no idea why.

But baby girl? No big deal. In fact, not only was she brave, but they gave her a zebra striped band-aid. Totally worth the inconvenience of the finger prick in her eyes!

Fast forward to the room and preparing for the visit with the doctor.

The look on baby girl’s face upon finding out that she had to take her shirt and shorts off? Um, excuse, me, what? She was not on board with this request. At all. Until I showed her the special “doctor blanket”. This was enough to convince her to go against her modest tendencies and strip down to her underthings.

But once I got her bundled up in her “doctor blanket”, she was good.

Uneventful check up…all looks good. And then it was time for shots. I was dreading this part because I knew it would not go well. But holy cow, it did. It went fabulous. It was something to behold. Baby girl laid down and the nurse prepped her legs for the injections and baby girl looked up at me, exhaled and held my hand and then…nothing. It was over.

Can you even imagine this? Her big sister would be on the ceiling with fear and objection. Baby girl? No big deal. Satisfactory payment received with a Bugs Bunny band-aid and Daffy Duck band-aid (one on each leg).

Now…how does this relate to my catchy blog post title? Here it comes…

The doctor, upon wrapping up a positive exam, confirming that baby girl is in excellent health and has established great habits of eating, activity and learning,,,proceeds to hand me this: ( I usually scale down pics for the blog but I left this one big so you can also bask in the community over-reach into how to interact with and generally raise a child at the 4 year old stage)

I get the intent is to be informative and helpful but seriously, I don’t need to be told to respect my child or to ask her about her day. It’s not my first day on the job with my kid. I mean, thank goodness the American Academy of Pediatrics has given me this fact sheet so I know not to let my kid cross the street alone.

Here’s the thing…there are definitely situations where this information is completely valid to hand to a parent. Going through a full examination with my kid and the kind of invasive inquisition I was subjected to in regards to baby girl’s general livelihood? Doc, you should know not to give me this piece of paper. Nothing says “Mom, you’re doing a great job!” like an spec sheet on how to care for a 4 year old like she’s the new family pet.

So…to the American Academy of Pediatrics: please refrain from fire hosing all parents with information if they already are demonstrating that they know it. Maybe offer the information on a case-by-case basis as needed? Just a thought.

Children, Family

Hangman

IMG_4314.JPGI recently played a game of Hangman with four-year-old Baby Girl. Now before you faint from her ability as a four-year-old to not only think of a word, but spell it out mentally and provide the corresponding tick marks where each letter goes please know that this is not how this game works for her.

I love her dearly and think she’s a smart little cookie but she cannot spell. Well, that’s not true…she can spell her family’s names and her own name. Outside of that…don’t bet on it.

So, we played Hangman on the back of a paper kids menu while waiting for our dinner at a restaurant.

I went into this game the way I go into a hearty game of checkers with Baby Girl…there are no rules, but try to keep the game “looking” somewhat like it’s supposed to. She’s good with that. And also, when you play these games with her…really play them. She can spot a phony opponent a mile away.

So here we are…playing Hangman. Her rules are basically this:

She draws the Hangman noose apparatus thing? Then she draws out a bunch of tick marks where the letters go. She’s a fan of big words (read: a lot of tick marks). Sometimes it looks like I’m guessing the letters that make up a sentence. Now we are ready for the game to begin… well, a few snide remarks from Girl and/ or Boy Child about her inability to spell words followed by a quick admonishment from a parent and now we are ready to begin.

Occasionally, I do something outside of the rules and boy, she calls me on it…the little stickler! But, rules are rules so what are ya gonna do?! I say “oops, I forgot!” and we keep moving along.

Her sparkly eyes, her impish smile and her little elbows on the table…one hand holding up her head, the other hand playing impatiently with the crayon she has methodically chosen…

“Pick a letter, Mommy!” she says.

So I do…I pick a letter she loves to write. Lately, it’s the letter ‘R’. And without fail, that was a correct letter. Imagine that!

We go through this process many times and I pick the letters she loves to write…K, X, S, R, L, M (she knows this is Mommy’s favorite letter because, well, “MOMMY! That’s your letter!”)

Every once in a while, for the letters that aren’t in her current favorites list, she’ll say, “nope!” and start to draw the cutest hangman in the hanging thingy. And she’s giddy with delight!

Now for those of you who are sticklers to rules and playing by them, this game will kill you. Literally. Because what you have at the end of this fun game of Hangman is a bunch of letters that don’t spell anything. Although Baby Girl will tell you what it says…something like “Mommy is my best buddy” or “I love to eat yogurt”.

If you ever get the chance to play a game like this with a little one, put your OCD away for a bit and watch the magic unfold! It’s a beautiful thing to watch a little mind work.

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Children, Family, travel

Life’s a beach…vacations that don’t kill me PART 5

IMG_3866.JPGSo here’s the last post in the series about vacations that don’t kill me. I thought it would be good to map out the logistics in a logical format with a “bottom line” to show what our vacation looks like to our bank account. As discussed in previous posts, there’s wiggle room in each area that can allow you to squeeze by using less money or add on if you want a some extravagance. Remember we were able to bring some items with us from our pantry so we were able to save a bit on our grocery bill for the week. Also, depending on the deal you can find with your lodging, you can shave some expense here as well…camping, KOA cabins, Groupon, last-minute discounts on condos. There’s deals to be had out there!

So, here goes:

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So, saving $55 every two-week pay period can give you enough funds to take a family of five on a beach vacation for an entire week. It takes some planning, a lot of discipline and cooperation to stick with the budget but it can be done. And with all the planning in place,  you can enjoy the moments a little more because the decision-making has already been done. You know where we are going, you know what’s for dinner and you know how much it’s all gonna cost.

FullSizeRender.jpg-3Not all vacations have to be this big or this long, but any planning and budgeting you can do no matter where you go will lead to a more enjoyable vacation you and your family will remember for years to come!

Now…bring on the summer!!

Children, Family

Pinch Me!

This day went like most others…not really anything to write home about.

Kids played, they did school, they played some more, they ran errands with Daddy, they made lunch, we all ate dinner together, they argued, they laughed they cried. They spent some time in time out. All normal things in the course of the day.

And then something amazing happened. Just amazing. This happened:

Maddux

Boy child decided that he really wanted to vacuum. In fact, he didn’t even come right out and tell us. I found him playing with baby girl’s Minnie Mouse play vacuum, just humming the motor sounds as he moved methodically back and forth.

I saw his technique and the dedication to his craft so I asked him, “Boy child, would you like to use the real vacuum and vacuum the family room floor?”

Oh, the joy in his eyes! He couldn’t nod his head quickly or harshly enough to convey how much “yes” he wanted to.

Never one to miss an opportunity to bribe my children, I told boy child to go brush his teeth and get his jammies on. If his teeth were sparkly and his jammies on, I would get the vacuum for him to use.

I have never seen such efficiency. Or quality of work. Or enthusiasm for cleaning. Pinch me! I have a child who wants to clean!!

Who is this boy? And what is going on?? You know what- doesn’t matter. He wants to vacuum, who am I to stand in his way?!

So I plug the vacuum in, and he insists on stepping on the release to bring the body of the vacuum down and he gets started. Man, he’s good. He’s got the wire in his grip so he doesn’t accidentally run over the cord and suck it up.

And then…he did something that made me speechless.

He started moving things around so he could vacuum underneath! Praise God, my boy is thorough!! He did a phenomenal job and his heart was full of clean, vacuuming joy! That is until he got to the best part…

Stepping on the lever that automatically winds up the long, twisted cord back into the hungry belly of the vacuum cleaner.

The smile on boy child’s face and his tip-toeing around his own handiwork was a sight to behold.

And just like that, he was off to something else he wanted to do.

 

Issues!

It’s not a threat. It’s just physics.

Untitled designSomething happened to me today on the way in to work that stirred something inside of me and took me down the path of figuring out why and what happened. Along my route is a school zone and the road is a two lane with a center turn lane. The road isn’t very busy, despite the elementary school being right on it and the bustle of parents and school buses dropping off kids.

Speed limit is 30mph. A school zone.

And yet, this extremely important lady decided that she was above the rules and passed me in the turn lane to zip on down the road, completely disregarding the school zone and consequently the very reason it exists.

Sadly, I met her at the red light at the end of the road so her expeditiousness and law breaking saved her no time whatsoever. And she didn’t appear to be in distress, in labor, or otherwise stressed. In fact, she was checking her phone, probably for her important messages and texts. So important.

So she potentially endangered walking children, other drivers, buses, school personnel for literally no reason.

What made her do this?!

What made this selfish woman think that the rules didn’t apply to her?

And this is where my mind went…because I think it’s been a ticking time bomb that’s based on the “you are important” mentality we are mistakenly instilling in our children. That we have been instilling in our children for quite a while now. Let’s all enjoy the fruits of this mistaken approach to encouragement.

In order to live in a society together, there must be order, rules, boundaries, etc. We cannot live only for ourselves or we will cause each other physical harm. If I made decisions just for me, without any regard for the people around me, someone will get hurt. I don’t care for red lights but if I didn’t care ABOUT red lights, someone’s gonna get creamed.

It’s not a threat, it’s just physics.

People a long time ago were put in place to determine things like road rules, ordinances, methods of decision-making, orders, etc. In addition, people were put into positions to represent the masses on the forward movement of the society that ensures the benefit of as many as possible. Heck, we even had the forethought to put in place a mechanism that allowed for the change of people if those said people were not performing on our behalf in the best way possible. How lucky for us!

Long story short…the rules are there to keep everyone safe.

Which leads me to this…and it might sting.

You are not important.

Well, you are important…of course you are, bless your heart you sweet thing.

But seriously, you aren’t important. You are unique…just like everyone else. There are many of us…and there are many more to come.

Parents are telling their children “You are a leader!”, “You are a strong, independent person…you will go far!”, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t do something!”.

You realize kids take this crap literally, right?? Where is the talk about when things don’t go your way?

“Hey, sometimes you will be on the bottom of the totem pole” or “Hey, sometimes you will have to clean the toilet”

It’s why they suck at being friends, getting along, enjoying each other’s company, generally socializing with other people, etc. And don’t tell me that’s not true. Kids today are snarky, rude, selfish, lazy…and we’ve been telling them they are special and important. They believed us!! It’s not their fault!

Sometimes you aren’t the leader…that negates the idea of teamwork when your mentality is built on always being the leader.

Sometimes you aren’t a strong, independent person… we actually aren’t all good at everything and each of us possess specific skills and abilities that should complement each other.

Sometimes you can’t do something…there, I said it. Sometimes you just can’t and that’s actually ok because sometimes someone else can. I can’t build a car engine, but by golly my brother could do it easily with his eyes closed!

Sometimes you will have to clean the toilet. Just a fact.

I feel like some mothers are putting this crap in their kids’ heads now to prep for the day they envision when their grown child is standing in front of the press giving credit to their success (and obvious subsequent wealth) and that child says, “I owe everything to my mom because she always told me I could be anything I wanted”. And that’s selfish.

We cannot be a society of leaders. An upside down pyramid does nothing to move society forward. Every hive needs worker bees and being a worker bee is not a bad thing. It’s honorable. It says you care about others in addition to caring about yourself.

So…in conclusion:

Don’t pass me in the turn lane of a school zone!!!

Children, Family

Child-noise

D587DC83-B949-418C-BA27-739E486E4AEFIt happened one day that our first child came into the world. Soon after another child and then a third child. So our hearts were filled with love and our home filled with child-noise…a special noise that is many things all at once. Lovely and irritating. Joyful and frustrating. Amazing and exhausting.

So many things all balled up into the experience of having little ones and if you blink you could miss it.

Of course that’s what everyone tells you and of course you think you heed the warning but I have been almost scared to find that it’s actually true. Where did all the time go?

A few weeks ago we were begging for a night without a crying baby.

Last week we watched our little one take her first steps.

Three days ago, he begged us for his paci because we were weaning him off. “I na ma paci!!! I na ma PAAAACCCCIIIII!!!”

Just yesterday, she stopped needing pull-ups.

Now our kids are still on the young side but they are growing fast and furious and I’m starting to be concerned at how unprepared I am for them to grow all the way up.

Sometimes I look at girl child and think that in the same amount of time that’s already passed, she will be driving a car. She won’t need her friend Teddy anymore.

I look at boy child and think that someday, even though he’s not interested at all right now, there’s a girl who’s going to be more important to him than his Momma.

With Baby girl, I think, “You’re already so strong and determined. Am I ready for the firecracker you are going to be in your teen years?”

It didn’t occur to me that the babies we wanted so desperately and finally received would eventually grow up and start their own lives and now that I see them starting to grow more independent, it’s hit me that there’s an end to our little family under our roof.

They’re gonna stop wanting to snuggle up. These babies are learning how to leave me and I guess that’s part of the joy of parenting…teaching your children how to get along without you.

Yeah I’m not prepared for that at all.

Children, Family

I’m kind of a thief!

9eea464898656e7fa5931defa7e5cfc610ff95dcThat’s right…a thief.

Well, thief is a really strong word. Actually, I collect my payment without bothering the debtor with the details of repayment specifics.

See, it’s much easier to just quietly collect my payment than to go back and forth on negotiation and who said what and terms of agreement. Let’s not get caught up in the details.

Of course, my little debtors don’t really know they are indebted to me. But they are. Oh, they owe me big time! But that’s ok…I collect when I can and they are generally none the wiser.

I’m kind of like a repo lady but I only repo perishable goods.

I think you know where I’m going with this…are you with me?? I go through my kids candy stash like it was my own. Of course, I leave the super awesome candy that the kids have already inventoried, bar coded and sorted. And I apply a percentage-type fee. So baby girl’s stash is a little less picked through than boy & girl child’s stashes.

There are three generally lucrative times in which I collect payment from my unsuspecting brood: Christmas, Easter and Halloween.

I do not apologize for this method of payment. I stand by my actions and I believe there are more out there like me! Which leads me to the following:

Children, Family

The irony of me

FullSizeRender.jpg-1Last night I got to do something I haven’t been able to do in a long time.

I got to play in the yard with my kids. And get this…my cell phone? In the house somewhere!! I know, right?

We had three kids, two soccer balls and a frisbee and a lot of laughter. It was so nice and I didn’t realize how much I missed being able to just be with the kids.

I wasn’t correcting anyone, I wasn’t scolding anyone…no one went to time out. No one was upset. The world fell away and for about a half an hour after dinner, I had the fun of just being with my kids.

The older two had their “world championship” soccer match in the cul-de-sac. They stretched before-hand and discussed strategy. It was a big deal. I have no idea who won or what the parameters were but they did and the game worked beautifully in their eyes.

My extra special treat was to actually play “kick the ball” with baby girl and she was in heaven to have my complete attention. And little did I know, she can actually kick the ball really good! She’s got some skill apparently.

As with all good things, this time came to an end and the kids scampered into the house- out of breath, cheeks rosy and hair stuck to their faces with hard-earned sweat. Today I sit all day, alone, doing mandatory grown-up things and think that I would so much rather be home actually playing with my kids.

It was just a typical evening of fun for them but it was so important to me. They won’t even know or understand the irony of what it is to be me. I leave them everyday, all day, to make a living- for them. I work and work to be able to give them what they need.

You know what they keep telling me that they need? Me.

Does this describe you at all? Tell me in the comments!