Issues!

I Must Wash My Hands

i must wash my handsI must wash my hands. You must also wash your hands. Seems simple enough, right? We teach our kids how to do it and gradually over time they get better and better at it. They even start to remember to do it without being told, so I’ve heard.

It’s a funny thing how our society is so competitive. Over everything. Every. Thing. So what does this have to do with washing your hands. Funny you should ask. This seemingly simple activity has become (at least from my perspective) a competition in the ladies room. Guys, I’m sure y’all have better things to do than to critique each other’s hand-washing ability and quality.

Ladies? Come on! Does every single thing have to be a competition?

So at work, we have a rather large multi-stall women’s restroom and it’s usually got a few ladies coming and going throughout the day. No big deal…it’s a big office. But here’s the thing. No longer is hand-washing just something you do when you’re finished using the restroom.

i must wash my handsSide bar: Let me just say a huge thank you to all who actually do wash their hands. I know it’s not required and usually the rest of us suffer at the dirty hands of those who choose to skip the ceramic basin and Dial so thank you for those who actually do wash their hands…much appreciated!

Here’s where it gets odd. The germaphobia that seems to have taken a strong hold on the women in this particular office is remarkable. We aren’t a dirty group of people, we are generally healthy and yet some ladies seem to think they are scrubbing down from a shift working with patients in a Tubuculosis ward or some yet-to-be diagnosed virus the CDC is trying to isolate.

Here’s how it usually goes:

  • Leave the stall and head toward an available sink
  • Stop first at the paper towel dispenser and grab two sets of paper towels
  • Lay the paper towel sets on the counter beside the sink
  • Get soap from the automatic hand soap dispenser
  • Scrub like mad
  • Rinse in a downward motion from the middle arm toward the finger tips (as if prepping for surgery)
  • Use the first paper towel set to turn off the faucet
  • Use the second paper towel set to dry hands
  • Using the second paper towel set, grab the first paper towel set and head toward the door
  • Use the clump of paper towels to open the door
  • Throw away the paper towels in the trash can by the door or hold on to them for any other subsequent doors you may encounter upon returning to your work station

Seriously? You have an immune system. For Pete’s sake, this level of cleanliness eliminates the ability of your immune system to get its exercise and when it never gets its exercise, guess what it’s doing when you accidentally let a nasty germ through the Fort Knox you try to create with this excessive shower session?

It goes even further. There are little bum papers to cover the toilet seats and there are distinctly two groups of ladies in our building. Those that use them and those that don’t. Let me reiterate that we are a clean group of people. There’s not nastiness on the toilet seats, no one forgets how to use a commode and “spills” all over the place. This isn’t a shady truck stop. And yet, some need to keep that toilet covered with paper.

Whatever.

Never mind the grossness of your own keyboard, phone or mouse. Never mind the pen you use, which may have been in someone else’s mouth while you weren’t guarding it. What about the community copier machine buttons!!?!?

I am all in favor of washing those hands. I really am. And I take advantage of the bum paper covers for the toilet when I encounter a toilet that’s gross. But seriously, I am tired of getting those “you call that washing your hands??” looks when I grab some soap, scrub, rinse, turn off the faucet and go grab a paper towel.

I get it…you turn the faucet on after you use the bathroom and before your hands are clean. But if you really want to gross yourself out, research how much of our regular everyday stuff has microscopic fecal material on it. You can thank me later.

 

Children, Family, Holidays, Uncategorized

Top Ten Fall Activities for Families with Young Children

Fall is in the air! And you know what that means, right? It’s time to spend time together as a family. Making memories. Enjoying each other’s company…as a family. Together. All together. So, without further ado, here are our Top Ten Fall Activities for Families with Young Children!!

1. Go Apple-Picking

Top Ten Fall Activities for families with young childrenThis is such a fun activity, especially if you have children in the 3-5 year old bracket. Because you know apple trees are taller than your kids at this age. And you also know that they must do everything (EVERYTHING) themselves, right? So, be prepared to bust your back lifting your little kid into the air to get an apple from the tree. And also know they are not strong enough to pull the apple off themselves. So be prepared to then hold the child up in the air with one hand while being sneaky enough to pull the apple into the child’s hand without them knowing you actually picked the apple. Bonus points for getting mud or questionable poop-like material smeared on your shirt and pants from your kid’s shoes.

Top Ten Fall Activities for families with young children2. Play in a Pile of Leaves

Yes! A chore someone actually managed to turn into a “makin’ memories” thing. I think dads like this one the best. Because now dads have to get the rake out and start working up a sweat to bring enough leaves into a pile worthy of his kids jumping into it and literally undoing everything he’s just done. What’s even more special is when that awesome 3-5 year old age bracket wants in on the action and says, let’s all say it together, “I wanna do it myself!”. Hand over the oversized raked to the child and just pray you aren’t close enough to the window for the butt end of it to smash through as the child halfway maintains control while flinging the rake around and “raking leaves”. Bonus points for those of you who have two kids who want to do it themselves and only one rake.

Top Ten Fall Activities for families with young children3. Go to a Pumpkin Patch

These pumpkin patches are popping up everywhere these days. So to get this straight, I have to pay to walk around your garden to pick out my own pumpkin. Then I have to cut it from the vine and lug it all the way back to the “pumpkin hut” to pay top dollar for said pumpkin. (I know you’re over-charging me and I know it’s all part of the experience). Please know that kids only have to go to the bathroom after you are carrying a pumpkin under each arm. Bonus points for any bee stings that may occur in this activity (parents included) because bees just don’t care about your fall memories.

Top Ten Fall Activities for families with young children4. Pick out Halloween Costumes

Never mind the thousands of conversations with your kids that starts out with them saying, “You know what I’m gonna be for Halloween?”. And never mind that you must retain all the answers over the course of the prior six months when these conversations started. At last we are close enough to Halloween that you can reasonably assume that the costume your child wants now is the one he will want come October 31st. When you realize at the store that there are no more of his desired costumes, you must make a decision. Tell him and risk a meltdown or trek across town to another store and pray that the costume is there! Bonus points for the parent who buys the costume and whose child still manages to meltdown before exiting the store.

5. Visit a Fall Festival

Ah fall festivals…the crisp air, the jaunt into the country, the smell of cinnamon and pumpkin. The miles of traffic from similar-minded parents looking to etch memories into their kids’ heads if it kills them in the process. There’s nothing quite like underestimating the ability of your umbrella stroller on a gravel road that leads to a rocky path not built for strollers. Unless you’re trying to also hang an over-packed diaper bag from the handles completely not designed to hold a diaper bag. Bonus points for kids who have to go potty real bad but refuse to use a porta-potty.

6. Take a Walk on a Nature Trail

Top Ten Fall Activities for families with young childrenWhat a lovely way to take in autumn in all it’s splendor. Who are we kidding? Take a walk anywhere with little kids and it will result in a pile of “found things” that better all be present during inventory counting at the car. So the idea is to enjoy the nature walk…maybe see a deer or pretty birds? No, you’re going to carry one of your kids back to the car because she skinned her knee and it’s bleeding down her leg and onto your fall-inspired flannel shirt. Bonus points for the parent who has to retrace steps because somewhere along the way your child’s shoe fell off.

Top Ten Fall Activities for families with young children7. Make a Pie

Oh good grief…this is a mess. A hot mess. And someone will most likely get burned. Between “Let me do it!” and cracking an egg, be surprised if you end up with a pie at all. Little kid pies are like mystery prizes. There will be egg shells and a piece of sand or two, maybe some lint. Who knows. Upside is that the house will smell good because spices know their job and they always perform well. Bonus point to the parents who eat the pie.

8. Go for a Drive to See the Changing Leaves

Top Ten Fall Activities for families with young childrenNow this is a great excursion. The kids are contained and you can put some relaxing music on and just enjoy the scenery. Don’t worry, once you’re out on the windy roads and far away from civilization. It’ll hit you. The beauty of the changing leaves will overwhelm you. If not, the smell of the diaper from the back seat will do it. There’s nothing like the feeling of hopelessness when you realize the poop has leaked onto the carseat itself so that smell? It ain’t going anywhere any time soon. Bonus points to the kid who arrives back in town wearing a diaper and nothing else because Mom and Dad forgot to put new “emergency clothes” in the diaper bag after the last explosion.

Top Ten Fall Activities for families with young children9. Visit a Petting Zoo

A lot of petting zoos have fall activities that are perfect for little kids. Things like coloring contests, face painting and cotton candy. Plus all the adorable, fluffy animals that your kid is deathly afraid of and wants nothing to do with. I smell a photo-op!! One day we’ll all look back and laugh at the picture of junior sitting on dad’s lap literally scared to death at the helpless rabbit sitting on junior’s lap. Bonus point for dad laughing his tail off instead of consoling junior. Because that’s also in the picture!

10. Take the Kids to Grandma’s House and then Go To A Movie

Now here’s a fall activity I can really get my arms around. Parents, this is realistic. This is the activity that’s going to make everyone happy. Grandma can do a fall craft with the kids and they can make those memories while Mom and Dad go relax in the cool, dark movie theatre. Go ahead and get that large popcorn and enjoy yourself. When the kids are a little older and more self sufficient, you can make those memories with them. For now, build up your energy. Because you’re gonna need it when you get the kids from Grandma’s house. You know she’s going to stuff them with “yummy sweet fall treats”, right?

 

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

Where did we go wrong?

Rise and Shine, Beautiful!Today started out like any other day. The alarm spoke, I resisted, it spoke again, and I begrudgingly listened to it.

I stumbled to the bathroom to get my day started and that’s when I called my own parenting into question. How could I have let this happen? How did this just slip by all these years with no guidance from me? I can’t believe I became “that person” and I knew I had messed up my child(ren) forever because of my own carelessness.

You think you have all the time in the world to nail down all the principles and base standards before the world comes along and tries to negate those teachings and infect the kids with alternative beliefs. In reality, time is so very short and I feel like I missed an opportunity I may not ever get back.

My mind began to spin on the damage control I can do…heck I don’t even know at this point who my “problem child” is! All I know is I HAVE to fix this…now!! Some may even say this isn’t a big deal, but it starts with the little things and just snowballs. I have to get my kids back on track before its too late…

So this is my new parenting goal…I have to solidify deep within the bellies of my children, nay, in their DNA.

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Toilet paper goes on the roll with the paper going OVER the roll, not under it for heaven’s sake. Seriously, I contemplated taking a personal day from work over this. You just can’t be too careful with these things!

 

 

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.

 

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

Meet Arby’s

IMG_1154This is Arby’s.

Arby’s is a little white-tail fawn. Adopted by boy child during a family trip to the mountains, this little deer is one of many special little friends in boy child’s crew.

So, the name? Three guesses.

It’s funny how boy child finds names for his little critters. And he’s not one to flip flop on the name, with it changing each time you ask what the name is. He names his friend and that’s it’s name, end of story.

So, among others, he has Mavis the turtle, Frankie Jr., the little whale shark (not to be confused with Frank, the big whale shark), Pleasant the pheasant, Beluga (the beluga), Hootie the barn owl, Snakie…the snake. Ok, I know some of these names aren’t all that creative. But by golly, you better not call them by another name.

And then there’s Arby’s.

Arby’s…not Arby. Arby’s…like the restaurant.

Because that’s where we ate right after “adopting” the little deer. And it was good. Boy child remembers this meal because he got to have a warm salty caramel chocolate cookie as a special treat since we were on vacation. He also remembers the restaurant and every time we head back to the mountains, he is forever connected to Arby’s- the deer and the eatery! So he has all the components to remind him of this happy memory he will never forget.

Regardless of what friend boy child has chosen to bring with him on any given travel in the car whether near or far, what tickles him and the girls is that every once in a while one of his little friends gets to drive the car!!!

It takes a bit of serendipity…dropping the animal in Daddy’s seat of the car, Daddy being in a playful mood, whether the animal wants to drive, whether we are running late, traffic in general, and if everyone is paying attention to the driver when it happens.

Imagine the sight of Arby’s plowing down the highway without a care in the world and feeling the wind in his fur. And the kids are in heaven with giggles and laughter!

What do your kids name their stuffed animals?

 

Children, Family

Ugh, what’s that smell?!

dsc_0399So…we’ve had an interesting conversation this weekend.

Something has happened enough times that we need to talk about it before it becomes a widespread problem. This is not something to take lightly, either.

And I feel like I’m doing the world a favor by nipping this in the bud now. So…you’re welcome, world.

A child, who shall remain nameless, stinkered in the car. Stinkers are flatulence…passing gas…floating an air biscuit…a fart. That’s right, one of our dear ones farted in the car. In the winter. When we had the heater on.

And it was a silent one.

Can I tell you how much I did not enjoy the invisible slap in the face? It just quietly wafted into the front seat. Where I was strapped into my seat and unable to move.

So…the discussion:

“Dearest children,

If you need to stinker, please say excuse me when you do it so we can roll a window down before the stinker permeates into the fabric of our clothes and the upholstery of the car. I know sometimes you “just have to” and that’s ok. But please don’t forget there are other people in the car who do not want to smell your stinker, let alone have it sneak up on them.”

Their response?

Giggling.