Category: Toddlers

3-Year-Olds Are Pure Evil

Ok. So maybe this title is a little bit overstated, but not by much. They are evil dipped in adorable, topped with sweetly mispronounced words, and sprinkled with a dash of bat-shit crazy. “Mommy, I want more ‘camel-lope’ please.” (That’s cantaloupe to you & me.) Immediately followed up with a psychotic tirade of frantic warfare when said ‘camel-lope’ is all gone. Whoever coined the phrase ‘terrible twos’ apparently never met a 3-year-old. That, or they decided that ‘terrible’ was simply just not a strong enough word to describe the rage-inducing, tiny vein in forehead bursting task that is raising a 3-year-old.

Maybe I’m just too fresh from the drama to be objective about this age group. Perhaps if you ask me tomorrow I’ll proclaim that it’s one of my favorite ages because they really start to communicate with you and their personalities really emerge and some other b.s. that I really mean at the time. But not today.

Today began with the 3-year-old climbing into our bed at about 2:30 in the morning and kicking me in the face. Did I mention she was wearing shoes? Why, you ask? Because apparently footwear is very important to her (even when she’s sleeping) and I have lost the ability to argue with tiny humans about why wearing shoes to bed is a bad idea. But I digress. Needless to say it was not a restful night of sleep.

The morning brought with it whining. OMG, the whining! Just sitting here thinking about the “whiny voice” is raising my blood pressure. You see, dear reader, whining is the primary form of 3-year-old communication. I feel fairly certain that the devil himself employs a whiny 3-year-old to be Hell’s receptionist.

All of this whiny fun was then followed up with a trip to the dentist where lovely threenager refused to allow the hygienist or dentist to clean her teeth. The dentist was able to get as far as being able to count her teeth before making the very wise decision to try again in 6 months.

Lunch was equally as enjoyable. I had the nerve to serve her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She used to love peanut butter and jelly. Not today. Today I may just as well have served her dog poop on pasta. Pretty sure it would have gotten the same reaction. I made the poor dear take a bite of her sandwich. She refused to swallow the bite and as we were loading into the minivan for big sister’s dance class she must have accidentally choked on the sandwich a bit. Next thing I know she vomited all over the back of the van, on her sister, and on herself. We were a tad late to dance class today and my minivan now has a faint barf smell to it.

The afternoon has brought with it more whining, some crying, fighting with big sister, and (just when I’m about to completely lose it) some sweet little gesture to remind me there really is a good little person in there hiding under all those very big 3-year-old emotions. Not all days are this bad. Some days she’s a perfectly sweet little girl. But today? Today she is a threenager, and so mommy drinks a glass of wine.

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Do you have a threenager living in your house? What is the most psychotic thing your threenager has ever done?

Back-to-Preschool Blessing

For many of us the upcoming weeks will bring with them the return of preschool/mother’s day out programs. Whichever side of the fence you fall on (the happily doing cartwheels all the way home from drop-off mom, or the sobbing uncontrollably mom) we could all use a little blessing for back-to-preschool. So I’ve come up with one! Hope you enjoy!

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Back-to-Preschool Blessing

May your tuition be low; May the germs be few. Nobody around has time for the flu!

May there be no tears, and few projects with glitter. May your kid always make it on time to the shitter.

May the parent sign-up sheet always let you bring forks. Who has time to bake?! Must be the dorks.

May the lessons always be understood fully; May your “precious angel” not be the class bully.

May your kids always eat the lunches you pack; May they keep their pants up and cover their crack.

May your kid not be the one full of sass, May they not be “that kid” with uncontrollable gas.

May they learn the proper writing grips, and speak not the bad words they’ve heard from your lips.

May you meet with some friends for child-free lunches, or find time to go to the gym and do crunches.

May your kids happily wear the school clothes you bought; May you love all the teachers that they got.

May they learn; May they grow; May this time be pleasant. There is only a small window we have in the present.

Enjoy it, hug them, laugh and be silly. It’s only a matter of time before Kindergarten, really.

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Boobs & Boogers

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This week I decided to keep track of all the incredibly bizarre things that come out of my mouth when dealing with my children. You know, in the name of science and stuff. If you are a parent then you are probably keenly aware of the stupid and/or weird crap that comes out of your mouth that you simply never imagined you would be saying to another human being. As I was keeping track, I noticed a theme started to emerge. Boobs, boogers, and all things bodily functions. That’s, apparently, what my parenting nuggets of wisdom have been reduced to.

With both a 2 and a 4-year-old suffering seasonal allergies who are not expert nose-blowers, I am frequently catching them knuckle deep in a nostril. So gross. As for the boobs, well, I swear you would think they were a couple of frat boys. I’m hoping mine are not the only girls slightly obsessed with boobs. It’s a tad unsettling. And thanks to a potty training tot we are constantly finding ourselves in bathroom related conversation.

So, for your reading enjoyment, I have compiled a list of the Top 10 bizarre things I have had to say to my kids this week. Sadly, many of these were repeated several times over the course of a week…

  1. “Please stop punching Mommy’s boobs. They’re not toys.”
  2. “I’m sorry I had to throw away your picture sweetie, but you smeared boogers all over it.”
  3. “No, you may not squeeze my boobs, but thanks for asking first.”
  4. “Whose booger is this on the wall?!”
  5.  “Please get your hand out of your butt. It’s not a pocket.”
  6. “Don’t you dare put that booger in your mouth!”
  7. “Do not toot on your sister’s head again.”
  8. “Please don’t go poop on the floor.”
  9. “What’s this puddle on the floor? Is this pee?”
  10. “Get your face out of my butt!”

So if you run into me and discover that I’m having considerable difficulty carrying on an intelligent conversation, just know that I’ve probably lost some valuable brain cells while spewing out ridiculous crap at my children. Because, motherhood ya’ll.

What are some ridiculous things you’ve caught yourself saying to your kids lately?

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Battle of the Potty: An Update

Potty training round 2 began yesterday and I’m proud to report that it has gone infinitely better than our first go-round in April. The added maturity that 4 months offers is amazing. It’s incredible how much mere months seem to matter when they are this age.

We began on a Sunday so that Second Rate Dad could be around to help for Day 1 of battle. Having him around as a soldier in this war was soooo helpful. All other times I have potty trained I’ve done so while he was at work. Having him there worked so well that I would even amend my Tools for Potty Training list to include the enlistment of a trained militia. Invaluable.

We started by getting our favorite dolls to use the potty.

Our fake American Girl dolls have this potty thing mastered. Boom!
Our fake American Girl dolls have this potty thing mastered. Boom!

Then I pumped her full of fluids and waited for the showdown. The first couple attempts ended in puddles on the floor, and we did have one “Code Brown” alert. Shit happens.

Also, big sister kept good on her promise to encourage little sister to use the potty. She really can be sweet when she wants to be.

Big sister helping entertain little sister on the potty. This help is costing me a bribery toy from Toys R Us. So worth it though.
Big sister helping entertain little sister on the potty. This help is costing me a bribery toy from Toys R Us. So worth it.

By the end of Day 1 she seemed to be catching on.  Any potty training attempt that leaves me having a celebratory glass of wine instead of a sorrow-drowning glass at the end of the day is one for the win column, friends! The success appears to be continuing into Day 2 (so far). This morning she went downstairs all by herself and used the potty without any help. Accident-free so far at 11:30 a.m. (I’m really hoping that all this bragging on my girl doesn’t come back to bite me in the butt! Fingers crossed.)

The next battle in this potty training war is to get her to apply these new-found skills in public places, because I would like to eventually be able to leave the confines of my home… One battle at a time.

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Potty Training: Tales From the Trenches

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Potty training. Never have two words struck more fear and anxiety in the hearts of mothers everywhere. It’s so much more than just teaching a small person how to use the toilet. It’s bribery, crying, cleaning up messes, pleading, more messes, banging your head against the wall, wine drinking frustration. (Just to be clear, the wine is for you; not the little person.)

In short, potty training is war.

If you’re anything like me, you feverishly read every article and Pinterest tip you can find leading up to the big event. You consult friends that have successfully battled before you. You look for signs and cues that your little one is ready. And then, when you have conjured enough bravery, you gather all the necessary tools and pray for sweet mercy from the potty training gods. My tools of choice are:

  1. Plenty of liquids for your little to help move the show along.
  2. Wine (or adult beverage of your choosing) to help take some of the edge off. No judgement here if you can’t keep it corked until 5 o’clock. Gotta do what you gotta do. This is war, people. Showing up to potty train without alcohol is like showing up to a gun fight empty handed.
  3.  Plenty of cleaning supplies and paper towels for messes. War is messy.
  4. Bribery implements. This can be candy, small toys, whatever motivates your child. This is one time when you must engage in negotiations with the terrorist, err, kid.
  5. A lot of new “big kid” undies/panties that your little will like. A lot. Like I said, war is messy.
  6. A cleared schedule. Plan on being home for at least 2-3 days. You didn’t have anything to do anyway, right?
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Have your battle gear ready.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Have your battle gear ready.

I nervously entered into potty training battle with my oldest when she was 2 years 10 months old. She was probably ready before that, but I wasn’t. With my second being an infant at the time, I felt I had too much on my plate to jump in sooner. Also, the very thought of potty training made me so anxious that I put it off.

We jumped into battle and got both feet wet. Both metaphorically and literally. That first day was TERRIBLE. She didn’t make it to the potty on time once. Plus, every time she peed on the floor little sister came crawling over like the bat signal had just flashed into the sky. It was as if a puddle of her sister’s piss on the floor was the best sensory play ever. It was not a good day. Wine was uncorked, words were muttered between gritted teeth as I tried to feign a smile and pretend I wasn’t about to lose my ever-loving shit. I almost surrendered, but decided to show up for round two. She had won the battle, but she wasn’t going to win the war. Then, something happened that second day. At some point it just clicked for her. She got it. She started using the potty and we never looked back.

Doesn't everyone keep a little potty by their front door?
Doesn’t everyone keep a little potty by their front door?

I felt like a potty training genius. I figured it would be just as swift a victory when it came time to potty train my second. I was wrong. The battle instincts are strong with that one. It started off well enough, but as you can see in the progression of photos morale started to waver as the day went on.

All smiles on the beginning of day 1.
All smiles on the beginning of day 1.
Starting to have second thoughts about this thing.
Starting to have second thoughts about this thing.
“Is this how you use the potty, mom?”
Just not having it anymore.

You see, my second child is un-bribable. No amount of promises for candy or toys was going to convince her to use a potty. How am I supposed to parent under these conditions?! On top of that, she could give a rip about pissing on the floor. My oldest was very upset when she had an accident. Not little miss stubborn. She would no sooner take a wiz on the floor and look at me all matter-of-factly and say, “Mama, I go pee-pee on the floor. Clean it up”.

This continued for three days. She didn’t go in the potty once. Not ONCE. On the third day she began telling me, “Mama, I not a big girl. I a baby. I want my diaper”. How can you argue with that? She had won this war. I packed up my battle gear and retreated to safety.

So here we are, four and a half months later. It’s time to declare war once again. She has proven she’s a worthy adversary. I have enlisted a secret weapon this time. Big sister. I have bribed her with a trip to Toys R Us if she helps me encourage her sister to use the potty. Pathetic, I know, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Wish us luck.

How was your potty training experience? What worked for your little one? Feel free to share your funny/scary/encouraging stories in the comments.

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Opinions Are Like A-Holes; Everyone Has One

Something happens the moment you let the world know you are going to be a parent. Everyone has advise, insights, and cautionary tales to tell you. Even the least likely among us to give a flying fart about what others think are suddenly susceptible to give weight to this unsolicited advise. Maybe it’s the unparalleled hugeness of it all, or maybe it’s just the hormones blocking your ability to form your own objective thoughts. Who knows…

What I do know is that in the beginning of my parenting journey I listened (mostly) to what others had to say about pregnancy, birth, babies, and toddlers. I assumed (falsely) that if my experience was different that I must not be doing something right. What I realize now is there isn’t a “one size fits all” for parenting. Just because someone else finds something to be true for them does not mean that it will ring true for you. And that’s okay. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t still seek advise from others or share our experiences with others. Give advise, take advise; just take it all with a grain of salt.

Here are the top 5 inaccurate (for me anyway) parenting nuggets I was told. Maybe you can relate too.

1.) Breastfeeding comes naturally and it’s so easy. Um, false. Yes, breastfeeding is natural and once you are established it is pretty easy. But it can be very difficult in the beginning, not to mention painful. Did I mention painful? (Ouch!) Just because your body naturally produces milk does not mean you and your baby automatically possess the ability to be instant experts at it. There is a learning curve involved. And, sadly, you might find yourself bleeding from the nipples in the early days.

Good advise, luckily, did come in the form of encouragement from Second Rate Best Friend. In the early days when I was contemplating even continuing to breastfeed she advised that I see it through the first month before making the decision. Glad I listened to her. It did become natural and it did get easier.

*On a side note: Can we please just all agree to stop all of these ridiculously immature and ignorant online mommy wars on breastfeeding versus bottle feeding. Both ways are great and nourish your baby. Breastfeeding doesn’t make you more of a woman any more than formula feeding is going to poison your infant. What happened to respecting and supporting other’s decisions? Enough! Jeez. End rant.*

2.) Sleep when your baby sleeps. What the what?! Okay, maybe this works for some people, but it was not true for me. I love my sleep as much as the next sleep-deprived Mombie (mom-zombie), but this just wasn’t realistic for me. When my newborn was sleeping it was the only time I had to tend to the mountains of poop/pee/spit-up laundry, do dishes, prepare a meal, or take a not frequent enough shower. And when my second baby was born, her napping provided some much-needed one-on-one time with my oldest. This well-meaning advise just didn’t work for me.

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3.) Your life is over once they start walking! Could not have been further from the truth for me! I felt so much more freedom once my littles hit the walking stage. That’s not to say that the walking stage didn’t come with a new set of challenges;  just that I felt like it beat the hell out of crawling. Walking gave my poor aching back a break from always having to carry the baby around. It meant no more being grossed out by all the germs on the ground when they were forced to navigate the world on hands and knees. Walking brought with it a whole new world of awe and discovery.

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4.) When they drop nap time, it messes up your whole schedule. This one is both true and false. My kids decided to drop nap time within weeks of each other shortly after turning 2 and 4 years old. It was rough at fist. I had grown to cherish the 90 minutes of peace and quiet nap time afforded me every day. Losing it sucked at first. But then I realized there were also benefits and some new freedoms to our napless days. No more stressing about rushing home from a play date or an errand to make it in time for a nap. Plus, once my girls dropped their naps they started going to bed a bit earlier in the evening with less bed time protests. What’s not to like about that?! So overall, this was one for the “tie” column for me.

5.) Going from 1 kid to 2 kids is so much easier than going from no kid to 1 kid. FALSE! At least, it was for us. I’ve heard split reactions to this one among friends. The transition from 1 to 2 kids rocked our world to the core. Me and Second Rate Husband admittedly aren’t the best at multi-tasking, and having multiple children is the ultimate form of multi-tasking. Add that to the feeling of suddenly being pulled in too many directions, and the insecurity I had about being able to equally divide my love and attention. Our first year as a family of 4 was definitely harder on us than our first year as parents. Again, I know that is not the case for everyone, but this was true for us.

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Was there any advise you received that didn’t pan out for you? What was the worst advise you ever received?

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