Much like babies, toddlers can be equal parts cute and annoying. Here is one of those cute moments! Living the Dream…
School dance party Friday night. I tried to dance with my son and he told me, “Mom, you need to go sit down.” Dissed by a four-year-old! Living the dream…
Newborns: it’s like to partying like a rock star for a year without any of the fun! Babies are cute, but they can also be rather annoying. The newborn cry that was like music to your ears when your baby was born and may remain charming in the days to follow, soon sounds more like nails on a chalkboard! Your sweet, little bundle of joy will be sounding more like a freaking goat than a human baby. Actually, I think the baby crying may be more annoying than the goat! Go ahead, have a listen:
After you give birth, the “baby trenches” usually last for the first year…or three. Remember, until your child is at least two years old you’re still worried about them choking on a marble, falling down a flight of stairs, or sticking a fork in an electric socket. Warning: This will not be the most relaxing time in your life. In fact, if this is your second child and you’re contending with a baby and a toddler there will be times when you would rather have a colonoscopy than spend another minute at home with your kids. Actually, a drug induced nap in a dark, quiet room with no children sounds more like a prize than a punishment. Unfortunately, when you have two small children, the work far outweighs the fun for quite some time. There is a tipping point when the fun starts to outweigh the work, that comes sometime between your youngest getting out of diapers and getting their drivers license.
If you are pregnant with your first baby, have no fear. The mystery and magic of your first pregnancy, birth and baby will fuel your Mommy Mojo more than enough to get by. Even though your baby is certain to be annoying at times, you will likely find almost everything they do as wonderful. Even a blowout diaper! You will be focused more on taking in each and every experience as they present themselves, rather than being annoyed by your baby’s annoyingness. Happy parenting!
Living the Dream…
The other night we went to dinner with our friends who were in from out of town. They had rented a minivan to accommodate Mom, Dad, three kids and the grandparents. Luckily their daughter was old enough to babysit, so the kids all stayed at our house to play. I offered to be the designated driver so everyone else could relax and enjoy the evening.
After a delicious meal and a great night, my husband and I walked the couple blocks to the parking garage to grab the minivan and swing back around to pick up our friends. Mind you, I’ve never driven a minivan. I know they are amazingly convenient, totally practical and make perfect sense when you have kids. Unfortunately, I’m one of those moms who can’t bring herself to drive one as my everyday car. Kudos to those moms out there who do; you’re smarter than I!
As I pulled out of the parking garage to go around the block, I noticed the minivan had no “get up and go.” Every time I took my foot off of the accelerator, the van basically came to a stop. “Jeez, this thing is a piece of shit,” I complained to my husband. I proceeded around the corner, struggling to maintain enough speed to keep up with traffic even though the speed limit was only 25 mph. After several minutes in the car, my husband leans over to look at the dash and informs me, “You have the parking brake on.” Indeed, I did.
After picking up our friends at the restaurant and having a good laugh at my expense (which I totally deserved), we hopped on the highway to head home. I announced to everyone, “Wow, this minivan drives a lot better without the parking break on!” After several minutes on the highway, I realized I didn’t have my lights on, it was 9pm and pitch black. What the hell?! It’s like I’ve never driven a car before. Between the laughter and instructions for finding the light switch, I managed to turn on both the front and back wipers, the windshield fluid and finally the lights. Apparently, I don’t make much of a designated driver!
When we got to our place and I made my first attempt to make it up the driveway, the tires started to spin about halfway up and the minivan came to a stop. Since it snowed that week and the weather had turned frigid, our driveway was covered in a thick layer of snow and ice. My husband and I had also failed to shovel one ounce of snow, so that may have had something to do with it too. Not to mention the fact that the minivan was sporting some bald-ass tires with little to no traction. Everyone in the car chanted, “Try again!” I backed up the minivan and took another shot at it, only to fail once again. Grandma called out from the back of the car, “Go again. This time start down the street!” Who am I to argue with Grandma? “Everyone lean forward,” I called out. I did as I was told that time and seven more times after that. The best I could do was to make it 3/4 of the way up the driveway.
After our friends got their kids in the house, my husband stopped them before they left, . “I think I can make it up the entire driveway.” Apparently, this is what happens when you marry an Olympic Level Wrestler. Even making it up an icy driveway in a minivan becomes a competition! The kids and I stayed at the top of the driveway cheering on my husband as he hopped in the minivan and backed all the way down the street (Of course I was hoping he wouldn’t make it up as far as I had). Although my husband failed on his first attempt up the driveway, to my dismay, he succeeded on his second try. Gotta love wrestlers…they never give up! I have to say, the night out with friends was great, but the drive home proved the most entertaining! I’m not saying to drive with your parking brake on or with no lights at night; but never miss an opportunity for a good laugh when it’s staring you in the face. Remember, if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry!
*Yes, those are my legs in the reflection of the minivan as I took the photo. I think minivans have the same effect as those circus, fun house mirrors because that does not look good. At least, I hope so!
Living the Dream..
So your kid found a pair of scissors and snuck into the corner to give her bangs a trim…More like she scalped herself with a machete! Look on the bright side, it could have been worse. Thankfully, the mullet she will be sporting for the next six months will grow out eventually. Kids have some weird obsession with the use of scissors, especially when it comes to the cutting of their own hair. Little Edward Scissorhands, they are. Kids also don’t learn from their mistakes, so don’t be surprised when your kid walks into your kitchen sporting the same jacked haircut it took you months to grow out! Better go buy a hat for those professional family portraits!
Parent Fail #394
Living the Dream…
Today’s post is a massive deviation from my lighthearted ramblings about the hilarious side of parenting and the miscellaneous nuggets of wisdom I’ve learned along the way. Maybe not a total deviation because today’s post IS about an episode in my parenting journey and the lessons I learned through the experience, just not a funny one.
My husband and I lost a very close friend to brain cancer last month. Our families spent lots of time together over the past decade, having babies, raising small children, sharing meals and doing fun activities. Our first instinct was to protect our seven-year-old son from the truth, if only for a short while longer. We wanted to spare him the harsh reality that death is a very real and fundamental part of life. When the end was finally upon us, we knew there would be no way around telling him.
While we didn’t over share and offered up only as much information as he asked for, it was clear that our little boy’s brain was putting some things together. He asked, “How old was Erik when he died?” “How old are you, Dad?” While we were wrestling with our own sadness over the loss of a friend, we were forced to deal with the sadness of knowing our mostly innocent little boy (minus the occasional indiscretion), was having to face some pretty harsh realities about this life we live. Life can be pretty damn cruel at times. Who wouldn’t want to protect their child from that? On the other hand, there is a fine line between sheltering your child and not giving them the tools necessary to succeed in life without you. We aren’t born with the ability to cope with the curveballs life offers up, they are taught to us by our parents, teachers and mentors. If we are to disregard death altogether, are we doing our children a favor or a disservice?
While dealing with truth can be unsettling and disturbing at times, you can often find a silver lining if you look closely enough. While my son has definitely been thinking about our friend’s death and what that looks like in the broader scope of his little life, he has been open with us about his feelings. This morning, he happened upon a picture of our friend and told me, “Mom, I’m sad about Erik.” When I drop him at school these days, he’s been showering me with hugs and kisses. Though the reality of losing loved ones can be crippling to some, it can also propel you to live more consciously. Isn’t that what I want for my son? The skills to cope with life, death and feelings, both good and bad. And the ability to manage healthy relationships, where one can be both open and honest.
Though it’s been difficult on many levels, I’m glad my husband and I chose honesty. Unfortunately, parenthood doesn’t come with an instruction manual, although we all wish it did. Chapter 229. How To Handle the Death of a Close Family Friend With Your Seven-Year-Old Son (wouldn’t that be nice?). Instead we settle for trying our hardest and hoping for the best.
Living the Dream…
There are countless baby books out there that address sleep issues. Here is a quick overview since you’re probably too tired to read eight full-length books at this point. If you want to co-sleep with your kids until they leave for college, then you should read “The Baby Book” by Dr. Bill Sears. If you want your baby to sleep through the night in their own crib yesterday, you need to “Ferberize” their ass! “Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems” by Doctor Richard Ferber will explain the Ferber Method, often referred to as “crying it out.” The bottom line is, it works. You and your child both need to sleep so get to work, stay consistent and have faith in oh mighty Ferber!
We aren’t knocking co-sleeping. Wait, yes we are. Here are the reasons NOT to co-sleep:
- It’s FN dangerous and increases the risk of SIDS.
- You’ll never get laid with Junior cuddled up next to you.
- Kids are crazy sleepers and will be throwing elbows and kidney shots all night.
- Your relationship is parent-child, not friends at a sleepover. Teaching kids that everyone needs personal space is a great lesson.
- Nighttime may be the only break you get from your kids, so take it.
- What’s the bedtime plan? Everyone goes to bed at 7:30pm in Mommy and Daddy’s room. Screw that…I want to watch “Dexter.”
- You’re so sleep deprived when you have a newborn, you could literally roll over and suffocate your baby. Please refer back to 1. It’s FN dangerous!
Warning: A bad sleeper can put a huge damper on your parenting experience early on. Though you have little control over whether your baby will be a good or bad sleeper, you do have control over when you choose to sleep train them if it proves necessary. Obviously, talk to your pediatrician about when and how to sleep train, just know that often times the longer you wait the more stubborn the behavior becomes. We know from experience that “waiting it out” for your child to correct their own sleep issues does not work. The bigger the baby, the louder and longer they scream. If you can, sleep train sometime between five and seven months if they’re still waking up more than once a night. Depending on your child’s weight, they should be more than capable of a six to eight-hour stretch at about ten pounds. Just remember, one or two weeks of torture may spare you months (even years) of sleep deprivation.
Middle of the night wakings for older children should be treated in the same manner as bedtime. Lay the hammer down. They are not to wake you unless they are sick, period. If all else fails, use threats! Remember the Not So Zen Mom Parent Pledge: “I understand that the proper response to any waking in the middle of the night by a kid over one year old is, ‘Go back to bed or Santa’s NOT coming!’” Typically these nighttime wakings are just another manipulation to test what you’re willing to put up with. You will be exhausted from the hour and a half bedtime routine plus getting woken up twice in the middle of the night, yet somehow your kid will still wake up at 5:30am raring to go. These kids never clock out! If you don’t put a stop to the bedtime/sleep manipulation, your kids are sure to take advantage.
Good Luck & May The Force Be With You!
More Importantly, May Ferber Be With You!
Living the Dream…
Bumps, Bruises, Goose Eggs & Fat Lips are a fact of life if you have little boys. The question is not IF they will get them, it’s WHEN. You need to be prepared for these situations when they arise. Some good things to keep handy:
IN YOUR PURSE:
- Dissolvable Children’s Motrin
- Triple Antibiotic Pain Relief Spray
- Benadryl…Because you never know when someone is going to have an allergic reaction and have their face blowup like Will Smith in “Hitch!”
IN YOUR HO– USE:
- Ice packs in the form of Spiderman or Elsa depending on whether you have girls or boys.
- Enough supplies to perform triage for any major incident.
Once you have said supplies, your work is not done. Unlike adults who willing apply pressure to a cut or hold ice bags on an injury, how are you going to get your four-year-old to keep an ice pack on their giant goose egg? Parents, you’ll need to be creative here and always remember. Necessity is the Not So Zen Mother of All Invention!
Living the Dream…
No matter what lies you may hear, boys usually potty train around three years old and won’t be able to properly wipe their own butts for years after that. Due to this fact, you will probably choose to wipe their butts for them to avoid purchasing new Spiderman underwear on a weekly basis. Just hope that by the time they reach high school they will get it figured out.
Another thing boys are less than stellar at, is aiming when they go to the bathroom. You may find yourself asking, “were your eyes opened or closed when you peed?” Warning: If you have a trashcan next to the toilet, it may end up filled with urine. You will wonder how this is even possible, until one day you catch your son with his pants around his ankles, three feet from the toilet, peeing as he walks towards it. As the only female in my house, I’ve seriously considered purchasing a urinal for our bathrooms. The only reason it hasn’t been installed yet is due to ongoing negotiations over who will clean it.
Having low expectations means any pee that does not end up in your son’s underwear will be considered a SUCCESS!
Living the Dream…
I’ve already discussed parent’s obsession with taking photos of their kids in my post: “Say Cheese” http://notsozenmom.com/kids-cameras/. What I didn’t mention was kid’s obsession with taking photos of themselves. I recently tried to take a picture on my iPhone only to realize that there was no more memory available. I thought it seemed odd until I looked at my camera roll and saw 123 pictures of my son’s left butt cheek that he had secretly taken. Nice! Here is a tamer example of the same situation:
Another caveat to the kids and cameras dilemma, is that eventually the day is going to come when you’ll want/need your child to take a photo for you. This can be a dangerous gamble. Your kid’s thumb will likely end up in every picture they take (I cropped my son’s thumb out of the pictures below before I knew I was going to write this blog post…Damn!) and your head will be conveniently chopped off. Oh well! You win some, you lose some. If you need proof of this phenomena, I have documented proof below. I’m still not sure if my son meant to take 37 pictures or if he was just screwing with me. Since he already knows more about technology than me at seven-years-old, I’m banking on the latter. As my four-year-old son likes to say, “It is a little bit funny!”