Monthly Archives: September 2011

Mission Impossible

Your Mission, should you choose to accept it: Complete a 48-piece dinosaur puzzle with a 3.5 year old.

Obstacles: 3.5 year old has an ear infection (read: POSSESSED BY THE DEVIL).

Rules: No finding the flat pieces first because “it’s boring.”

For advanced challengers: Complete puzzle while nearly 8-month-old crawls on top of and eats puzzle pieces while tackling the cat, also on top of the puzzle.

Twist to the game: 3.5 year old will dump out second 48-piece dinosaur puzzle about half-way through first puzzle.

Goal: Complete one puzzle without cussing or yelling, and it must be done before noon.

Bonus points earned if puzzle is completed before morning coffee. (nothing in the rule book about Bloody Marys)

Good luck. This mother will self-destruct in 5 minutes.

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Arts and crap

For some reason that makes ZERO sense to me, every year about this time, I decide to make crafts. Holiday decor, Halloween costumes, you name it. I suddenly get the urge to join the ranks of all those other moms and women the world over who make throwing together crap like this look as easy as grabbing some toilet paper and a marker.

It’s not.

Not for me.

First off, I don’t have googly eyes just laying around my house, waiting to be glued to things. I don’t have a “craft” room in my house. I have a junk drawer in the kitchen with a glue stick, some tape with cat hair stuck to it and maybe, if I’m lucky, scissors.

So why on EARTH do I think I can pull shit off? Why? And even worse, why do I subject Declan to it? I don’t know. It’s cruel. But yet I do it, again and again.

So today, an image from Pinterest caught my eye. (What is Pinterest, you ask? It is a time suck of epic proportions. It’s like an online bulletin board, where you can “pin” images you see online that you love. For the creative folks, I’m sure it’s very inspiring. For the idiots like me, it is just constant proof of how bad I fail at domestic tasks. Fun!) It was billed as “a Halloween banner you can make with kids!” Sounds great! Let’s do it!

Declan saw the picture of the banner and immediately loved it. I asked him if he wanted to make it, and of course he said yes. Because he’s 3 and has no clue what making a Halloween banner entails. He just thinks Halloween = Candy, and anything to get him closer to candy is a +1.  So while Simon was napping, I run and get out our craft supplies, which consist of some colored printer paper, a glue stick, some dull scissors and a bucket of broken crayons. Hobby Lobby, I ain’t. We spread out in the floor and get ready for some harvest family fun.

About 3 minutes in, Declan is over it and I’m still reading the instructions. I figure once I start cutting stuff out, he can jump right in and we can share some memorable mother/son time over images of pumpkins and ghosts. Instead, the conversation went like this:

Me: Here, put some glue on the pumpkin eyes… no, the eyes. More than that. MORE. Give it to me.

Declan: Look! I’m running in a circle! I want some juice.

Me: In a minute. Listen, put more glue on that and stick it on the pumpkin. No, there. THERE. Next to the other eye, just give it to me…

Declan: Can we make something else?

Me: Yes. Which one do you want to make?

Declan: The cat.

Me: We don’t have black paper. How about the owl?

Declan: THE CAT!

Me: How about Frankenstein?

Declan: I’m throwing Puppy at you! (he throws his ginormous stuffed dog, sending all my cut paper everywhere)

Me: DECLAN! Stop it! Now come down here and help me do this owl.

Declan: I’m going downstairs.

In the end, the Halloween banner turned out pretty cute, which is a massive improvement over pretty much anything else I attempt. But making it was about as fun as a root canal. Actually, once I stopped forcing Declan to do it, it was fine, but why would I want to do that crap alone? No. If I have to suffer through it, he does, too. We are a family, dammit. We do this together.

This banner was made with nothing but hate and loathing.

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Laundry day

This is what happens when I attempt to do laundry with both boys awake.

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House 1, Kids 0

Today has been one of those super productive days that makes me really proud of myself as a Domestic Goddess. By noon, I had cleaned the bathroom from top to bottom, swept and mopped the kitchen, made chicken and dumplings for the crock pot and thrown in a load of clothes. That is more than I get done in a week sometimes. It feels good to have a shiny clean tub (with a mild case of chemical pneumonia from the fumes. That’s how I know it’s clean, when I start seeing spots), floors that I feel comfortable with Simon crawling on and a house filled with the smell of something yummy.

Yay me!

Except, boo me. Because in order to do those things, my parenting has been nonexistent today. Seriously, Declan has watched HOURS of TV today. Simon has luckily cooperated by napping, but Declan has been set back mentally and physically at least 6 months by the constant animation and lack of motion he’s experienced today. It’s shameful. But I don’t know what the hell else to do.

I was a good mom for a few minutes this morning and attempted to put together his Geotrax train set when he asked, but seriously, my brain does NOT work that way. It took me like 30 minutes to figure out that just making a circle was the best I could do. And by the time I had it set up, he was over it and Simon was eating pieces of track, so we gave up. (Legos are the same way. I can build a tower. Or a wall. But Paul can put together a fortress with buttresses and drawbridges and turrets in like 10 minutes with no pattern to go by. If only Declan loved Barbie…) And Declan did help me cook, which is one of my favorite activities with him right now, because he really seems to enjoy it and he is more likely to eat something that he “cooked,” so that is a +1 for me. But other than that, not a good parenting day.

I will say that Declan was tired today from waking up early the past two mornings, so he seemed fine with taking a lazy day, but I can’t help but feel like a crap mom. I’m sure I could have kept the TV off all day and set him up with some activity to enhance his learning or whatever, but let’s face it. You can either play with your kids or you can do housework, but you really can’t do both very well at the same time. If I was engaging him the entire time I was trying to cook and clean, I’d have raw chicken sitting out on the counter right now, a toilet brush  in my hand and a suitcase packed for the Looney Bin.

It’s not that I can’t do anything AND parent, I can. And I do. But not the big stuff, and not a lot of things in one day. I try to engage him as much as I can by giving him things to do to help me, which can be surprisingly effective. For example, as I’m sitting here typing this blog, Declan is washing my windows. (I don’t think of it as child labor, I think of it as “playing grown up.”) And I am not afraid to have him feed Simon (with me watching, of course), polish furniture or any other chore that I can delegate out safely. Seriously, I will get him to do anything he shows interest in. Mopping? Sure. Folding clothes?  Go for it. Watering the plants? Yes please!

But today was just one of those days when crap needed done, and he fell by the wayside. I’m sure some of you will read this and think I’m pitiful. Go for it, I don’t care. I rarely put the house in front of the kids (trust me on this, I am not a neat freak) and I spend plenty of time at the bottom of the dog pile, covered in kids and dirt and paint and toys. Everybody gets a day off sometimes.

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Happy Fall, Ya’ll!

Labor Day has come and gone, and not only does that signify the end of summer, it kicks off my favorite time of year: Holiday Decor Season!

It is ON, people. It may be nearly 2 months til Halloween, but my pumpkins are ripe for a’pickin. Or a’harvestin. Or whatever.

Seriously, I am in full-on GEEK OUT mode. It all started with an innocent trip to Yankee Candle. I figured I’d pick out a few new tarts for the ole warmer (P.S. All tarts and votives are $1 through Sunday, great deal!) to get the house smelling all warm and spicy. Now that it’s finally below 100 and we haven’t seen the sun in a week, a little Spiced Orange Leafy Pumpkin or Warm Halloween Harvest Apple Cider wafting through the house was just what the doctor ordered.

It's beginning to smell alot like pumpkins...

I loaded up on every Harvest Spicy Pumpkin Autumn Pie fragrance the store had, and from there, it was all down hill. As the house was filling with the smell of pies baking (I guess that’s what it smells like, I don’t bake pies), my mind started racing: As long as I have these new yummy Autumn Cinnamon Stick Pumpkin Spice Halloween votives, I might as well get out my ghost candle holder to put one in. And as long as I’m digging around in the holiday bins, I should just go ahead and find that cute scarecrow for the living room. And since I’ll be getting the stuff out, I might as well hang that berry-covered “Welcome” pumpkin made of twine and sticks on the door. And if Declan wants to go ahead and wear this orange tshirt with the ghost on it, that would be ok with me… 

As long as I have the candles, I have to put them in something...

So by the end of the day, Halloween had arrived.

Of course, the next day a trip to Target made things way worse. I just had to swing through the holiday section (soon to take the place of the back-to-school section, since school has been in session for, oh, 2 weeks now), and that little jaunt meant coming home with a “craft pumpkin,” stick-on pumpkin faces, a haunted house candle holder and other boo-tiful accouterments for the house.

Every holiday should have its own salt shaker.

Declan and I also busted out some pumpkin muffin mix and made mini muffin doughnuts that had the house smelling delish (well, it was either the muffins or the 45 different pumpkin scents coming out of the candles, tart warmer and room fresheners).

Once the baking begins, it's all down hill from there. Up next? Puppy Chow.

Seriously, it is Sept. 8. I’m out of control. Baking? Already?

I don’t feel bad, though. Getting all overzealous and tacky with holiday crap is one of the best things about being a parent, at least for  me. I love holidays, always have. I love Easter baskets and fireworks and cornucopias and don’t even get me started on Christmas stuff. Since Declan was born, my love of holidays has ramped up every year, and now we have reached the magic age range where all holidays are AWESOME for kids. I figure, if I’m lucky, I get from 3 to 9 before that magic starts to fade some and coolness kicks in with the tween hormone surges. I know the holidays will always be special and fun, but the real mystique and excitement of ghosts and Santa and the Easter Bunny is pretty limited. So I am going to make the most of it while I can.

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The talk

As parents, we have to be on the look out for learning opportunities everywhere. And not just learning math or English, life lessons and all that jazz.

So the other night in the bath, one of those learning opportunities occurred, and I had to really think on my feet. I’m not sure that I succeeded. I’ll let you be the judge.

Declan and Simon recently started bathing together. It’s cute and fun and saves water, so I’m all for it. Anyways, Declan is a typical 3 year old boy and is fascinated by his body parts. And by body parts, I mean his genitals. Fine. I get it. Pretty much as soon as his hands found IT, he’s been a big fan of the business “down there,” and I accept it. I know all about not making them feel ashamed, allowing exploration, blah blah hippy nonsense. My attitude is basically “It’s yours, you own it, just keep it to yourself.” Luckily he’s not a weirdo or overly obsessed with it, so it’s not really been an issue.

Declan does love figuring out who has a “weener” and who doesn’t. He’ll randomly ask me “Mommy, does So-and-So have a weener?” and depending on whether that person is XX or XY, I say yes or no and leave it at that. Our pediatrician did inform me at his last well check that it’s time to have “the talk” about good touch/bad touch and Stranger Danger, etc., and while I don’t feel uncomfortable discussing that at this age, it really hadn’t come up.

Til the bath.

Declan knows Simon is a boy. He knows Simon has a “weener” (I really hate that he calls it that, but at the same time, teaching him the proper word for it doesn’t appeal to me, so we are going with it) because he sees diaper changes, etc. But when bathing together, it’s kinda right there. So Declan reaches over and points right at it and says “Simon has a BABY WEENER!”

OK, that’s a battle to be fought later. But I knew an opportunity to teach when it stares me in the face.

I decided that was a great chance to talk about who can touch who and why. So I go into Supermom Mode, and tell Declan: “Honey, yes, Simon has a weener, too. Cringe. But you don’t touch Simon down there, and he won’t touch you down there. Mommy, Daddy, Bebe and Nana can touch down there during baths, but nobody else should ever touch you there, ok? And you don’t touch other people down there, ok? Does that make sense? Only Mommy and Daddy and anyone giving you a bath.”

Declan said, and I quote: “Keke and Marina can touch it.”

Who are Keke and Marina, you ask?

Don't come near my sons, harlots.

Why, they are the pretty girls from “Fresh Beat Band.” And apparently, it is totally acceptable for them to touch my son’s privates.

My response? “Keke is dating Wayne Brady. So it will have to be Marina.”

Don't mess with Wayne Brady's woman.

Parenting fail.

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