Tuesday, July 31, 2007

To Spank or Not to Spank

I once heard this story and have concluded from it, that spanking is not always the effective form of discipline...

A man laid his son to bed one night and kissed him on the head. As he slowly walked out the door, his son yelled to him,
"Dad, can I have a glass of water?"
"No," the Dad said, "It's time to go to sleep."
The Dad walked out of the boy's room and headed down the hall.
"Dad, can I please have a glass of water?"
"No!" the dad said. "Go to sleep!"
"But dad, I really need a glass of water..."
Completely fed up and frustrated, the Dad yelled back, "If you don't go to sleep right now, I am going to come in there and give you a spanking!"
The dad heard a small pause of silence. "It worked," he thought. Until, his son yelled back,
"Hey Dad, on your way in to spank me, can you get me that glass of water?"

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sincerely Sunday


My junior year in high school, I took a class called Contemporary Issues, in which we debated various world issues like abortion, euthanasia and surrogate motherhood. I can remember ending one particular debate with a classmate and feeling especially exhausted yet confident in the argument I held. I just felt like I really gave it my all, and well, if you could win a debate, I felt like I did. I looked to my teacher, who remained completely neutral throughout every argument, for some sort of encouragement, and he turned to me and said, "Wow, you are very consistent." Consistent? Ok. I was expecting something more like noble, insightful, or even mature. But all that he said was that I was...consistent.

What I didn't know then, but know now, is that consistency really is the ultimate compliment. What I would do to be as consistent as I was back then. I looked the word up in the dictionary and it said, consistent: to be free from variation or contradiction, marked by steady continuity. In reading that I thought of all the times I contradicted myself in my words and my actions with my kids, my husband, and even with God.

As I think about the word even more, I realize, to be consistent is to be like God. He is completely free from contradiction, and is completely marked by steady continuity. Think about it...

As we consistently sin, He consistently forgives.

As we consistently disobey, He consistently disciplines.

As we consistently stray from his path, He consistently protects us.

As we consistently hurt others, He is consistently merciful.

And as we consistently run from Him, He consistently waits for us to return...with open arms.

How much more consistent can you get?

Yeah, I'd definitely prefer to be called consistent, over insightful and mature, any day. Would you?

Friday, July 27, 2007

3 Signs You and Your Husband Need a Night Out

1) Before your hubby goes to bed at night, you ask him if he has to go potty.

2) You consider fish sticks and birthday candles a romantic candlelight dinner.

3) Your evening wear...is your pajamas.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Do you really want to know about being a Mom?

Do you really want to know that I woke up this morning in a semi-unpleasant mood, and that I really questioned whether I would survive the day's trials with five children?

Do you want to know that I couldn't pull everyone together and out the door in time, to go to this bible study that I really wanted to go to, prepaid for, and desperately needed?

Do you want to know that by 9:30 a.m. I had already given my one year old two time outs (yeah, right) and threatened to throw away toys?

Do you want to know that my mom saved my life, not from a tradgic death, but rather a tradgic day, with five children under six, and took our girls out shopping for clothes, while I took the three boys?

Do you want to know about how excited my daughter was to try on the navy blue school uniforms for me, that she would be wearing this fall to kindergarten?

Do you want to know about how unbelievably cute she looked all dressed up with her blue cardigan, and how unbelievably sad I was that she would be leaving me to go to kindergarten? And how for a second, I pondered not sending her?

Do you want to hear the 15 stories I made up of my childhood, just to appease my nephew's inquisitiveness, as we drove the five minute drive to the post office?
Are you curious about how I convinced my nephew and son that Wendy's has better kid's meal toys then taco bell, just because I was really craving a juicy burger?

Do you want to hear about how my nephew told me his belly hurt at Wendy's and about the thought process that flew across my mind, of how I could race him to the bathroom to throw up, while carrying a toddler and three year old in tow? And my purse?

Do you want to know about how I took the kids to the park, and then had to rescue my toddler from a high death, as he ran up the ladder of the biggest slide in North America, which ironically is in my park? And how when I rescued him, one of his feet got stuck in the slats, and I had to twist and turn his little ankle to pry him out? All the while, he was screaming and getting mad, because he really wanted to climb up that slide?

Do you want to know what it felt like when I ran across the park to retrieve him, and a jagged piece of mulch went through my flip flop into my foot, and slowed me down, so I had to yell for my mom to run ahead and save him?

Do you want to hear about how two seconds after that I loaded the kids back into the car to head home, and bribed them all with pops to stop them from crying about how we had to leave the park so soon?

Do you really want to know that I went home, I put a movie in, and sat on the couch refusing to do any sort of mother duty for the next hour, or two?

Do you want to hear the conversation I had with my husband, when I called him at work to tell him how underappreciated, we mothers across America really are? And how I suggested he start a petition to send to the President, that stay at home moms be compensated somehow, for our noble and backbreaking work?

Do you want to know about how my mother saved me one more time that day, and treated me out for a girls night, to a nice restaurant that didn't even have happy meals? And how she drove the extra miles to take me out to another restaurant, just so I could get a piece of my favorite chocolate cream pie?

Do you want to know about how much fun I had sitting in a chair at Barnes and Noble reading through parenting magazines, without having to keep my baby from tearing books off the shelves, and from tearing books?

Yeah, but do you really want to know, that the whole time I was out on my girl's night, I couldn't help but think about how my kids are so cute? And how every time I saw a desperate mom trying to hold the store door open while pushing her double stroller through, I couldn't help but wish I had my double stroller with my kids in it?

Do you really want to know that we mothers claim we want our time out, but really think about and miss our kids, the entire time we are out? And couldn't imagine what our lives would be like without them? (At least I do.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Next Generation of Superheroes

Do you ever feel completely wiped out after a long afternoon of playing on the floor with your children? Are you tired of having to come up with names of superhero guys and scenarios for action figures? If you're like my sister, who has a five year old who insists on playing rescue mission and army combat constantly, then you probably are. I mean, are we really supposed to be able to come up with that many diverse, imaginative scenarios?

"Mama, who should this guy be?"
"Uh...that's firefighter Joe, honey."
"Where is he going, mama?"
"Uh...to the firehouse."
"But, he can't be at the firehouse, 'cause Jake Justice is at the fire house."
"He should be diving in the deep sea, mama..."
"Doesn't he need diving gear, honey?"
"NOOO---can't you see he has invisible gear on!"
"O-K-A-Y, honey."

Really, there should be a book of action figures names and what kind of combat and occupation they're in. You just look at the guy, flip to, "man with moustache and yellow hat," and you've got yourself a whole life story on him. One that will keep your kids from hounding you again.

I decided to address this daunting issue, and have come up with a list of superhero names and backgrounds. Feel free to borrow from my list at your next playtime.

1. Veggie Man--Basically he can be any guy that is wearing green or is green. He fights obesity and high cholesterol, and his arch nemesis is Donut Hole.

2. The Toilet Troopers--They can can be white, black, even dark green. They fight germs and bacteria and keep toilets safe so little children can use the potty. Their arch nemesis is the evil Dirty Diaper, who resides in the land of Underoo.

3. Super Sharer Man--He's a pretty versatile character, he can be any color. He's known for making the world a better place by intervening when siblings are brawling over a toy. His arch nemesis is the frightening Mr. Playdate.

4. Captain Coffee--He can be any guy that is brown, tan...He's known for swooping into houses in the middle of the day and saving sleeping mommys from slipping into a comatose state, all over the world. He's pretty much your All-American Hero.

There you have it. Just some ideas you might want to use, in case you run out of your own.

P.S. No thanks required.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mama TV

Have you ever seen the movie "ED TV?" It's about a guy who lives his life normal until one day he realizes his life is really just a script for a live television show. Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm convinced my life must be a script for a comedy/drama television show. It's gotta be true. Nothing else could begin to explain the series of mishaps that transpired in my home on Friday.

The morning started out typical, well, typical enough for our house--baby ransacking the fridge and dropping a big bowl of chicken and mashed potatoes, only to shatter on the kitchen floor. After cleaning that up, and making notes to pick up childproof locks for my refrigerator, I decided to focus on doing laundry that day. My children were running out of clean clothes that fit them, and it was getting harder to convince my three year old, that his pajamas, doubled as an outfit.

My baby had been sick for a few days, and his cough seemed to worsen. I've become pretty adept at distinguishing a viral illness, which typically needs no antibiotics, from a bacterial one. This little skill of mine transpired over the last five years of child rearing and many co pays at the doctor for viruses that "run their course." (I come from a long line of self-diagnosers, though I don't encourage this) So, I decided to make an appointment for my son, and booked the only slot they had, 1:15 that afternoon. The second I hung up the phone, I remembered that I had booked a dentist appointment for my daughter at 2:30, at an office 45 minutes away. Perfect. I couldn't cancel that, because those dental appointments usually take months to reschedule. So I proceeded to cancel the doctor appointment, but then convinced myself, I would accept the challenge, and just try to make both appointments.

I loaded the kids in the van. My daughter was so excited for her first dentist appointment, she could hardly wait. We headed towards the doctor, and I looked back and noticed that my baby had fallen asleep...what to do, what to do. Ah, the dilemmas of motherhood. Do I wake my sleeping child, only to torture him at the doctor's appointment? Sounds like a fun time to me. I quickly make a U-turn and decided to forgo the doctor, and to reschedule later.

I figure now I have ample time to make it to the dentist, so I stop for some gas and a cup of Joe. First mistake. I could not have foreseen the massive traffic I was going to run into, that would make me late for yet another appointment. When I realize the time, I step on the gas, and maneuver in and out of lanes, just scathing numerous accidents, only to make it to the dentist about five minutes late. I look in my rear view mirror and see my daughter's gleaming smile, as she squeals for joy. (Obviously, her first trip to the dentist) For the fifteenth time that trip, I answer her daunting questions of what color toothbrush she'll get, and what flavors of toothpaste the dentist will have. As I go to unload my waking baby, I rush to unbuckle his cookie crusted carseat, and accidentally step my flip-flop into a pile of mud on the sidewalk. Perfect. (Wave to the cameras, honey.)

We rush up the thousands of stairs (Aren't any offices on the first floor?) and walk inside the sweetest, most quaint dentist office, you'd ever see. The waiting room alone could keep my toddler busy, with it's bounty of toys and activities. Finally, something goes right. As I swing my massive backpack/diaper bag around, I say my name to the receptionist. The sweet, young girl was a bit of a soft talker, so I have to read her lips in order to understand what she is saying to me. What? I say. It's as if time slows down, as I read her lips say to me, "I'm so sorry, I tried to call you."
"What do you mean, you tried to call me?" I reply as I dig my fingernail into my hand.
Long story short--this particular pediatric dentist is especially elderly, and apparently inadvertently picked my daughter's dentist day, to be rushed off in an ambulance.
"Will he be okay?" I ask. She whispers, "I just don't know." I send my well wishes and head out the door. Perfect.

See what I mean? Mama TV--you'll laugh, you'll cry...mostly cry. Everyone knows drama is always the perfect ending to a show, my show that is. But wait...the saga continues.

I head home with my sick baby, and disapointed daughter. My husband gets home from work after a four hour commute, due to incredible traffic. This night was supposed to be a date night for us. We decide to just put the kids to bed, and go out at around 9 p.m. to Barnes and Noble for some quiet magazine reading and coffee. Who needs fine dining, when you can read a book, uninterrupted. My kids surprisingly go down to sleep easy, and the plan takes action. (All this, to build up to the finale.) My parents stay with the kids as my husband and I head to the bookstore.

As we pull up, the store looks surprisingly busy for this hour of the night. We walk in only to discover it is "Harry Potter Night." Perfect. The new book is being released, so they are throwing some sort of loud, costume and contest party. I couldn't believe my eyes.(Did I mention how much I dislike Harry Potter?) Hundreds of people dressed up like witches, sorcerers...Harry Potter. There are no seats let alone even enough room to walk through the aisles. I feel my heart rate increase as I pop a squat in the corner of the autobiography section. Ahh...a nice quiet evening to end a chaotic day with the kids...perfect.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sincerely Sunday


The last few years, I've struggled to find satisfaction in myself and who I am. I've always known I'm a good mother and wife, and am completely confident and satisfied in those roles, but satisfaction in myself as a person, I sometimes didn't have. I've felt as though I wanted more, and needed more. I can remember saying to my husband at times, "I want more, I need to be more than this." It wasn't until I heard some of "A Purpose Driven Life," and got a whole new perspective on satisfaction, that I realized what it means to be truly satisfied.

See, the world tells you to want more, have more, be more. "Be all that you can be," "Get more for your money." Get a bigger TV, bigger car, bigger house. These things in themselves aren't necessarily bad. But what they promote is dissatisfaction, and a life of always wanting more. This may seem obvious to you all, but I know with me, I didn't necessarily realize it was happening, but little by little, it was. I started out completely confident and actually honored to be a stay at home mom, and little by little I started to see it as a "just" kind of job. I was fooled by the world's standards and I wanted more.

"A Purpose Driven Life" talks about how God created us with a void inside, one that only He can fill. The truth is we have dissatisfaction because we are looking to the wrong things to fill us. No matter how much money, possessions, or degrees we have, it is not humanly possible for us to be satisfied. At least not with those things.

He designed us to want Him, and even if we don't know it, He designed us to need Him. Ever feel like you just don't have enough? Think you need to be more? I know I do. All the time. We need Christ. Only He can satisfy.

Does this little sermon mean I'm truly satisfied? Not even close. I know it's easy to write, not as easy to do. Almost daily I fall into the thoughts of wanting more and being more. It's not until I come out of the fog I'm in, and remember to spend time with Him, that I realize where I'll get true satisfaction. We can all try to fill ourselves up on achievements and things, but trust me, we never will. We weren't meant to.

If you can, check out this song from Hillsong United.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Grosser than Gross

I've decided to take part in the "Grosser than Gross" tag that Steph of Adventures in Babywearing, is hosting. This may not compete with some of the other's downright disgusting stories, but what can I say? You didn't sit on my couch. Here goes.

A Sofa Story

I can still remember how excited I was that day, browsing through the furniture store. My husband and I had just gotten back from our honeymoon, and with a wad of wedding money in our pockets, we headed to the local furniture chain to pick out our first couch together.

I remember carefully picking out the coordinating plaids and florals, the perfect accents to our country apartment. As we handed the lady our $800.00 in cash, there was one last detail to address.
"Did you want to Scotchguard the sofa?" the lady asked. With little contemplation, we answered in unison, "Oh no, we won't need that." Period. Biggest mistake of our lives, right there. If only we had the foresight that my wise mother has...if only we could go back in time.

Fast forward approximately two years. Our green plaid couch was holding up great. It's wide cushions and fluffy pillows catered to our needs perfectly. We loved our couch. Everyone loved our couch. And then one day it happened. What we didn't know then, but know now, as the "beginning of the end."

My daughter was about 18 months old, our little doll. Even at that age we could see her artistic nature in bloom. It was everywhere in our apartment, pictures on the refrigerator, on the walls, just everywhere. Along came that day: My husband claims he was busily cleaning that hot summer day, and thought she was just "hiding" from him. But to his surprise, when he lifted the overstuffed, ticking striped pillow, what he revealed was not what he had thought. Our little Picasso had fearlessly drawn with permanent black marker on the couch, not just the pillow...the entire couch. In fact to this day, I'd swear it was a picture of a face laughing. It was laughing all right, laughing at me, that is.

From that moment on, protecting the couch became much less of a priority for us. We no longer felt the need to guard it with our lives. What could be worse than permanent marker? That couch was as good as dead to us.

As the years passed, the children increased and so did the damage. The staining became much more of a daily occurrence. The wear and tear progressed and we knew it wouldn't be long until we had to let it go.

The final demise of our sofa would come with the potty training of our middle son. I don't think I have to tell you, it wasn't a pleasant time for anyone involved, including the couch. The accidents kept happening over and over, and the cushion covers were shrinking due to the constant washing. As you can imagine, this left for some worn down, half opened cushions. I tried to cover the couch with a pretty slip cover. Those things never completely work. They slide all over the couch, and never really amount to much more than a blanket tossed on the couch. And everyone who sits on a slipcover, always fears what is lurking under it.
In my case, the fear was a valid one.

Ironically enough, what would prompt us to get rid of our beloved couch, was not the staining, (our standards were much lower now), it was the smell. Though it was hard to let go,(not really, the thing was rancid), we found a lovely replacement, (a 1980's hunter green pouf couch), and moved our prized sofa down into the garage. There it would rest for the next two years, where my husband would rip off its fabric to use as grease rags. Imagine that. Our dream couch, stripped and reduced to rags. What a shame.

If only we had opted for the Scotchguard...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wednesday's Most Wanted

My day in a nutshell:

Charge: Unintentional shoplifting of one sandal, one elmo figurine, one bottle of children’s vitamins, and the list goes on.

Proceed with Caution: Don’t be fooled by their cuteness. Can be extremely whiny and fight amongst themselves.

Accomplice: May or may not be accompanied by one exhausted mother.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

And the award goes to...

Well, after a very long day of helping my parents pack up their home of twenty years, I came home to a very nice surprise: A gash in my right big toe from dropping an iron bell on it. But that's not all-- Elizabeth, from The Whole Family, nominated me for a Rockin' Girl Blogger! Yeah, I know, I can hardly believe it myself. To all my fans: Mom, Dad, Bro, I just want to say...No, I did not pay her off.

I have been called many things in my life, but never Rockin. Did you hear that kids? Mommy's cool! Honestly, the only award I ever thought I deserved was that of World's Best Negotiator. I'm pretty sure if I can convince my son that the McDonald's down the street is closed on weekdays, then I can negotiate any hostage situation. Nonetheless, this award is greatly appreciated, and well, it makes the carpal tunnel in my left wrist, oh so worth it!

Now, I must fulfill my duties to pass on the award to five more Rockin' Girl Bloggers: (Note, I had technical difficulties in nominating five bloggers as I only have time to read approximately one post per week, due to my three unruly children and their "projects." So, I picked one. Maybe some day I'll be able to pick four more. Unfortunately, today is not that day.)

My pick is Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer--She's hilarious, in fact I was just laughing out loud reading her "About Me" section. Also, I think she must be one of those bionic women or something: she has four kids, and she makes their clothes! Need I say more.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sincerely Sunday

I've decided to put my sarcasm and cracks away for, well...one day a week, and try to entertain you all with something a bit more inspirational.

Come Gather at Our Table

I decided to join in on a photo tag that Lori has going on at Glass Half Full. It's a post about your family table, so I came up with a list of reasons why I love my family table.

1. I love that it came from my parents house when they were a young family.

2. I love that the legs have been painted over a million times, each time to suit my mom's or my current decor.

3. I love that each time I've had a baby, I added another leaf to it, so it fits our expanding family.

4. I love that its where my daughter recites commercials or tells us long, drawn out, detailed stories of what she did that day.

5. I love that the paint marks that were left on it from being in my Dad's garage , are right down the middle, so I can cover them up with a table runner.

6. I love that it has marks on it from where my son banged his fork when he was a baby.

7. I love that it's where my three year old son tells us knock-knock jokes that make no sense to us, but are completely hysterical to him and his sister.

8. I love that it's where my baby learned how to fold his hands to pray.

9. I love that it's where my family gathers every night to eat, laugh and often cry about each of our days.

10. Even though it's immensely imperfect, and worn out, I love it because it's mine.

I imagine that's how God feels about us--full of scratches and paint, but His nonetheless.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Shop til you Drop

I've been trying to be more budget conscious lately, and in doing so have decided not to go food shopping, unless I really have to. This morning when my daughter asked for her usual cereal, and I had to use coffee creamer instead of milk, I knew it was time to head to the store.

Just the thought of loading all three of my children into the van, was a scary one. You see, my kids together in the car, are kind of like those boxed chemistry sets you used to have as a child. You take a dash of one chemical, a pinch of another, put them in a beaker, put the stopper on top, shake it up a bit and just pray there is no explosion. Unfortunately, this morning, I sat the wrong two "chemicals" next to each other and within the first three minutes of the trip, I began to see smoke.

The trouble started when my daughter decided to serenade us with her rendition of "Frosty the Snowman." (Always a crowd pleaser in the dead of summer.) All was fine until my son decided to join in.
"Mama, he's messing up the song."
She turned to her brother, "You only sing the first part, not the last part, no, not that part...WAAAHHH!"
I yelled from the front, "Don't be bossy, he can sing too, it's nice when you both sing."
She yelled back, "he doesn't sing the right words."
My son began to bawl, "she says I don't know the words..."

I contemplate turning the car around and borrowing a cup of milk from each of my neighbors. I decide to press on.
"If you guys want fruit snacks at the store, then you need to behave," I say.
Fruit snacks are like gold at my house. I can virtually get my children to do anything, by promising a reward of fruit snacks. (If only they were really fruit.)

I get to the store and take my usual route around the parking lot, searching for the race car cart. Ah, the race car cart. Such a wonderful invention for the mom shopper who totes her kids around. And yet, such a massive failure, because when they produced them, they only made enough for one race car cart per store. Can you imagine? I once drove around the parking lot for an hour, staking out shoppers for their race car cart.

The race car is taken so I persuade my brood to ride in the not quite so popular cart with the big red seats. I tie my children into the seats with my best knot, as the seat buckles on those things are almost always broken. We begin our trek through the store and before we can hit the spinach leaves, the interrogating begins.
"Mama, what's that?"
"Mama, why is that apple yellow?"
"Mama, what are those green things for?" That last question, sparked a conversation that would last for fifteen minutes, as I had no idea what my son was pointing at. I finally figured out what he was talking about--the little green twist ties they give you so your fruit doesn't fall out of the bag. How am I supposed to keep track of my spending again? I can barely navigate this Cadillac-of-a-cart through the aisles, let alone keep a running tab in my head. I decide to forgo the budget this time and just start throwing things into the cart, in hopes of making a quick, clean getaway.

I hit the international foods aisle and make my way towards the taco kits. As I reach down to grab some salsa, my daughter jumps out of her belt, to grab one of those electronic coupons. This is by the way, a great game to keep the kids busy.(Thank you supermarkets everywhere.) Soon to follow is my three year old son. He wriggles out of his belt and follows right behind his sister, jumping at each machine. As I bump the cart into the heel of the man in front of me, I realize that I no longer need this monstrosity of a cart, and could very well just have used the regular carts, had I known everyone would be evacuating. "Only a few more aisles," I think to myself.

As I make my way round the bread aisle, my toddler catches me off guard as he grabs onto a package of hamburger rolls. He digs his little fingers into the rolls as I try to grab his hands. When I grab one hand, he grabs another pack with his other hand. I look around for cameras, as I'm convinced I must be on Punk'd or something. I muster up one last burst of energy and maneuver the cart as fast as I can past the rest of the breads. I make a bee-line for the registers, while looking over my shoulder to make sure my troop is trailing behind. As the last item crosses the register belt, I sigh a huge sigh of relief. I made it, or so I think.

I head to the parking lot, where I have one last close call, when someone nearly backs up into me as I am loading up my trunk with groceries. The man comes close enough that I have to literally hit his car with my hand, to keep him from running me down. My body has a fight or flight response, and I feel a surge of adrenaline rush through my veins. It turns out okay though, because it was just the right boost I needed to survive the ride home.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mommy's Kryptonite

I've avoided this topic thus far, because nobody likes to talk about it. Out of all the tasks in parenting, this is, the most dreaded. And if it's not the most dreaded, it's because you haven't experienced it yet. Once you do, you never forget the toll it takes on your life, and the lives of your family. What is it? Potty training, of course.

Potty training is the biggest of big. If parenting was your driver's test, then potty training would be parallel parking... on a foggy day... in downtown Manhattan... during the Thanksgiving Day Parade. It's just daunting. Most people think it's the obvious handling of accidents, that make it so unbearable. For some that may be. But for most moms, potty training woes run deeper than messy underwear.

When potty training your little ones, there is a balance, or equilibrium that you must be careful not to offset. If you make one wrong move, you can set back your training by weeks, even months, and could virtually erase all progress you've made in one foul swoop. I asked a few moms I know to share their tots training stories with me, in hopes to explain better to you, the severity of this task.

Case1: My Nephew
My nephew insists that someone accompany him to the bathroom and tell him a story. We're not talking reading him a book or two. You remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books? He's just like those books. He gives my sister characters (ie. batman, diverman), and scenarios (ie. rescue mission, broken car), and she has to come up with the storyline. Could you imagine? I mean the pressure alone. The clincher is, she can't stray from the story or characters given. If she's feeling creative and adds in her own little twist, let's just say...my nephew isn't pleased.

Case2: My Friend's Son
My friend's son is two and a half and has been pretty easy to train thus far. As long as his mother doesn't upset the routine of things, he will perform on the potty on command. (Actually, my sister and I are amazed, as it took immense coercing to even get our kids to step foot in the bathroom.) Not to say the routine is an easy one to follow. First, the toilet must be free and clear of any kind of debris. We're talking anything from a strand of hair, to a piece of kleenex tissue. If anything is floating in the water when he has to go, the toilet must be flushed completely clean. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but the constant flushing gets very costly. Let's just say when a person has to refinance their home to pay the water bill, that is a pretty big deal. By the way, this fear of abstract, foreign objects, also applies to the bar of hand soap he uses after going to the potty. This means he will stand there and pick every speck of non-soap substance off of the soap, before washing his hands.

As you can imagine, this sort of pickyness can take its toll on a person, mainly the mother. This is when unbelievable, straight-out-of heaven, patience, comes into play. This is also why potty training is such a time consuming venture. Ever see a mother and her toddler go into those one-person bathrooms and not come out for what seems like hours? This is why. They're not going to the bathroom that long, the mom's are just trying to remember the routine, as not to upset their fragile children, and screw up the potty training. Sound a little backwards?

Case#3: My Niece
Now all of these enticements and routines are well and fine, if, that is, you can get your child to actually go to the bathroom. My niece will willingly sit on the potty for you. No problems, no hesitation. The problem is that, that's where she'll stay...potentially forever. My sister once went to a doctor's appointment which lasted fifteen minutes. She would've been in and out, had her daughter not insisted on using the potty. What would have been a quick stop, turned into an all-afternoon outing. She sat on the potty so long, that other patients were actually banging on the door to use the restroom. But what was she to do? She went along with it. Want to know why? She didn't want to upset the equilibrium.

These are the lengths we mothers, must be willing to go to, when potty training. Unfortunately, this is a time in parenting when our children are actually the ones in control. It's just the way it is. Mom's have been manipulated by their children when potty training, for generations. The requests, and rewards, the constant attention...I heard of one mom who promised her kid a trip to Disney World if he went on the potty. You see, these are the extremes we'll go to. We will stop at nothing. Why? Because we're afraid. Afraid of embarrassing accidents, afraid of tantrums, afraid of our kid being the only one in college wearing Pampers. Clearly, potty training is our kryptonite.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Pimple Necklace

If you ever want to know the truth about how you look, ask your children. They're so honest, so truthful, so...ruthless.

I was swimming in my mother's pool yesterday to try and escape this heat wave, when my daughter asked me to carry her around the pool. She hates her swimmies, but can't swim yet, so she insists I carry her "like a baby." Ahhh...the closeness of holding my oldest, my baby who is no longer a baby. Such a tender moment, the kind you see in mushy hallmark commercials. Or so I thought.

As I leaned over to kiss my little princess, she looked down at my neck, and said "Mama, what's that?" I looked down.
"That's a pimple," I responded.
"What's a pimple, mama?"
"It's kind of like a little bump, honey."

Phew. The answer I gave managed to suffice her instinctive nature to ask a million questions about everything. I sighed, as I had just dodged what would have been quite an interesting and yet somewhat embarressing conversation.

Just as I brushed her wet hair back with my hand, she looked at me and said, "Mama, with that dot in the middle of your neck, it looks like you have a pimple necklace." There it is. My extremely creative and imaginative little girl has just paid me yet another compliment. One I will think about, and obsess about for many days. (I am not leaving the house for at least a week.) Fumbling for the right words I said, "Yes, I think you're right." (I try not to stifle her creativity.)

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Littlest Samurai

I should have known what I was in for when the epidural stopped working, twenty minutes after they gave it to me. Those things are supposed to last for hours, pretty much throughout your entire labor. Mine didn't. I began to feel every contraction, every pang of labor not long after the anesthesiologist packed up his little tray and left. I told my husband they gave me the wrong dose. He assured me it would be fine, and that I would soon feel better. (Spoken like someone who has never been in labor.) He didn't know any better, nobody did. How could anyone have known that I was about to deliver the world's strongest baby?

No exaggeration, my third child, my sweet baby boy, has the face of an angel, the arm of Roger Clemens, and the strength of Hulk Hogan. It's crazy. But true. He can reach anything, can open everything, and can and will tackle children twice his age like a linebacker on the field.

And the mischief! Oh, the mischief this little guy can get into! I always thought that word was reserved for little boys in the 1920's who wore knickers with suspenders and polyester caps. But, it appropriately applies to my son. No other word would suit him better. I once went upstairs for literally less than two minutes, only to come back down and find my little boy with half a wine goblet raised in his hand, whilst standing in a pile of the other half of the wine goblet broken on the floor. (Once again demonstrating his superior strength.)

Just so you see what I'm talking about, here is a play by play of this morning:

  • 8 a.m.--Hear baby screaming, run upstairs. Try to find binky that the baby chucked across the room into large pile of Rescue Heroes.
  • 8:08 a.m.--Head towards kitchen. Offer baby small tupperware of mock Apple Jacks cereal. Baby not appeased, takes bowl and flips it over.
  • 8:10 a.m.--Baby runs over to kitchen table and eyes banana, makes sure to crunch up Apple Jacks with each bounding step.
  • 8:13 a.m.--I look up from floor where I am picking up grains of cereal, to see baby climbing up side of kitchen chair. I watch as he leans over to reach bowl, and nearly tips. As chair just barely falls over baby senses unbalance and leans back to level chair safely.
  • 8:15 a.m.--As I dash for my $39.95 Sur La Table fruit bowl, baby catches glimpse of me in his peripherals and moves even quicker to grab his banana.
  • 8:17 a.m.--"Almost...got it!" I make it to the table and attempt to pry batch of bananas from baby's tight, clenched grip. I'm amazed by his strength and tenacity and slowly release my grip allowing him to take a bite of banana, peel and all. Once again, I have been defeated by the Samurai.

In closing, I've compiled a list of all the things my little wonder has broken, eaten or gotten into.

  • bag of Oreos
  • bubbles
  • raw chicken marinating in refrigerator
  • craft glitter
  • wine goblet
  • tube of toothpaste
  • box of Cheez-Itz
  • shampoo
  • straws
  • acrylic paints
  • carton of eggs
  • toilet bowl cleaner
  • liquid foundation
  • package of ground beef in back of grocery cart

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Top Five Things Not to Give Your Toddler in the Car

Consider this a little gift from me to you. I had to learn these lessons the hard way.

1. Your wallet--unless of course you're in one of those debt management programs where you have to get rid of (or lose) all of your credit cards.

2. One of those push the button board books. Ever read "Dora the Explorer Choo Choo?" I have. Trust me, you don't want to. Thirty minutes of "C'mon Vamanos," is enough to put any sane mother right over the edge.

3. Cheap brand of Fruit Snacks. (major choking hazard, not the best time to save a buck)

4. A fruit punch Slurpee. (Trust me, when you slam on the brakes, it will slip right out of his hands and well...you know. Not even OxiClean can get that stuff out of gray van carpet.)

5. A bag of potato chips--they're just so messy, messier than you think. (I know this one because every time my sister babysits my kids and takes my minivan, for some reason she always gives my toddler potato chips.)

Pass the Chicken, Please

As a child, I can remember coming upstairs in the kitchen for dinner every night and thinking to myself, "I hope we're not having chicken again." It's not that I didn't like chicken, or even that we had it so often, I just would've preferred to have a lot more pasta, instead.

Fortunately, that is not the case at my house. My kids will eat chicken for every meal, every day of the week. They just love it. In fact, they think they eat chicken pretty much every dinner, every day of the week.

At about two years of age, my older two children started to really vocalize their likes and dislikes at the dinner table. The mushed up concoctions I had been serving them previously, were no longer acceptable. I found that unless the main meat I was serving was in some sort of chicken dish, they would vehemently declare that they didn't like it. I couldn't understand it because my niece and nephew, who were the same age, had palette's like Wolfgang Puck. They ate fried calamari like they were potato chips. My children's taste buds just couldn't handle these complex flavors. I had to devise a plan.

I came up with a plan because my husband and I got tired of eating chicken nuggets, fingers and patties every night. I called the plan, OPERATION MEAT SUBSTITUTION. It was very simple and went like this: Any meat entree I made, we would replace the name of the meat with "chicken." So, our dinner menus began to change, and instead of the usual chicken dishes, we had things like, "chicken sticks, chicken chops, chicken and chips, chicken loaf...etc." You get my drift. And the great part was, it was working!

Not to say the plan went along with out any snags. Remember, children are very smart, especially mine. So, when you're serving something like sausage or steak, you'll need to tailor the acceptable meats name, to fit the shape and color of the actual meat. Sausage becomes "hot dog" and steak, well, that's easy..."hamburger."

Lastly, just like with every aspect of parenting, for it to be successful, you have to be consistent! What's "hot dog" for one meal, has to be "hot dog" the next.
(Note: I do not in any way, shape or form condone nor promote lying to anyone, especially your children.)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Dear Abby...'s Mom

Gotta Mom question for me? Want to know some mama tricks I use, or just what diapers I use? There are a lot of "mom" things I wished other moms would've warned, I mean, told me about. Post me a comment, and I'll get back to you...
Just remember, no experts here, just one mom who prays a lot and laughs through the tears of motherhood.
And yes, my daughter really is Abby.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Ideal Park

I took my three kids to the park today. It was a mild, beautiful day, and I knew if I didn't take them outside, I would have some sort of "mother guilt" later. As I sat on the miniature sized park bench and watched my son dangle from the eleven foot slide, I couldn't help but dream of the perfect park.

First, my ideal park wouldn't be on Main street, where your kid has to dodge semi's just to retrieve his ball. It would be nestled out in an open field somewhere, surrounded by perennial gardens.

Next, there wouldn't be slides higher than four feet off the ground. Standard rule, if your kid has to wear repelling gear and a helmet to safely climb the ladder, it's a sure sign the slide is too high. And instead of the decade old, jagged-edged mulch that is supposed to "cushion" your child, should she fall, there would be pillows. That's right, goose down pillows around the entire park. Imagine the decline in park related injuries each year.

Finally, the perfect park would have special comfortable chairs for parents. I mean we spend approximately five-nine hours of the day there at a time. Is it too much to ask for some comfortable seating? I say reclining chairs and foot baths, mandatory for all public parks. And instead of the benches and chairs being halfway across the park, where you can't see your kid unless you have supersonic vision, imagine this people...they would be right in front of the play area. Aahh...in a perfect world.

Monday, July 02, 2007

How to Find a Babysitter (Told by an expert ex babysitter)

To all of you parents out there who don't have the luxury of living near family(AKA: built in babysitters), this article is for you.

Most of us have been there. Your marriage is under some stress and you and your husband decide you could use a little "couple time." Heck, you deserve it. You haven't been out alone since the baby was born and your "baby" is now three years old.

You ask yourself these questions: Who will we ever find to watch our most precious little darlings and where will we find this angel in disguise?

Option1: Head to your local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble and scope out all studious looking 17-20 year olds. Age is crucial here--under 17 and they can't drive to emergency room, over 20 and they're too "career minded" to be interested in the petty cash they'll be making by watching your children. You want to catch your potential babysitters right before they've "found themselves" and have really discovered their career paths.

Option2: Take your toddler to the local park and make note of who sends you consoling glances when your two year old throws a big tantrum as you exit. You know the look, the head tilts to the side a bit and they crack a half smile, as if to say, "aww...kids will be kids." Obviously this person hasn't experienced enough toddler tantrums to think they're not so cute. Perfect candidate for a babysitter. Be careful not to confuse a potential babysitter with a sympathetic mother, one who's been there and done that. (Note: Other mothers of children the same age as yours are never potential babysitters. They're too burnt out and sleep deprived from their own kids to watch yours. Unless of course, they're family.)

Option3: Hit the local restaurants during "early bird" hour with your baby. Hire the first elderly woman who walks up to your crusty, sweet potato faced baby and says, "Oh, how sweet." ( Note: Grandmas are the best babysitters, whether they are yours or somebody elses)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Spring for the King

What does that mean? Is it a new blockbuster hit? Or maybe a political campaign for the latest candidate? Nope, neither. It's the new
marketing campaign I came up with, for King size mattresses. I wish I would've came up with it say, 5 years ago, when we went shopping for a mattress. My husband and I, such rookies. Our naivete went like this, "we don't need a King, let's get a Queen, that way we'll snuggle more." If only we had the foresight to imagine us "snuggling" with our future three children in our queen size bed. Should have sprung for the King.

It's bad enough that our bedroom is the smallest in our cape, about 6x6. It's so small that we don't even have to walk into our room to get into bed, we just superman leap from the hallway right onto our bed. But we convince ourselves we like the "cozy" feel.

The real problem is the sleeping arrangements. I know what your thinking, she has one of those "family beds." And to that I would say, not true. I wholeheartedly bought my bed, not for my family of five, but rather for two, my husband and I. It's the truth. I have no trouble drifting off to asleep alone in my bed, knowing my kids are safe and asleep in their own beds. From the hours of 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. something strange happens. I think my 3 year old and 5 year old wake up, congregate at the top of the staircase, and plan their descent into my bedroom. I don't see anything, and I don't hear anything. It's like they're top secret agent spies or something. Because when I wake up, I have my daughter's foot in my face, and my son lying across the top of my pillow like a cat. Yeah, should have sprung for the King.

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