Monday, December 27, 2010

I Was Supposed to Have Girls

I was supposed to have girls.

Really, I was.

I was supposed to have little pretty princess girly girls who sat still and let me braid their hair, never raised their voices and never acted out. They were going to be clean and well dressed always, they were going to be beautiful!

Ah, I can see them now!

Fast forward a few years to me cursing loudly after stepping on a hot wheel car while chasing my two year old son with a brush trying to get the mashed banana out of his hair...getting him to sit still for this activity is almost impossible, so I guess braiding is out of the question.

How did it come to this?

It all started from the moment I heard the words that I had feared for nine straight months, "ITS A BOY!" Really? Are you sure? Can you check again? Is there any way that the umbilical cord is just down in that area and that any second now you will move it aside and say to me "Oh, just kidding! Its really a girl".

Fat chance.

Ok, well, maybe raising a boy won't be that bad. I mean, its all just parenting, right? If I teach my little boy to sit nicely and play quietly then I can still have my dream of a neat and tidy well behaved child. Let me introduce you to Carter...

Carter is a boy's boy. He loves trucks and hates getting his face cleaned. He runs, jumps and yells. He is my worst nightmare...and a dream come true! I love my son.

I am now the mother of two amazing little boys and, surprisingly, I could not be happier! I never thought I'd know the difference between a back hoe and a giant excavator, but I do. I never thought I'd be playing with tools rather than dolls, but I am.

My kids have taught me that you have to take life with a grain of salt. And if that salt happens to have fallen off the glass of my well deserved margarita...then all the better!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Using Fear

Carter is starting to develop certain fears. He won't watch a movie if he thinks there is a monster in it, stuff like that.

But all of a sudden he seems to be really afraid of falling off of things...mainly, his changing table.  I don't know when or how it came about but when we go to change him he gets a little stiff and says "I don't want to fall!"

Now, as his mother my first instinct is to protect him and assure him that he is safe. But my second instinct is to exploit his worries and use them to my advantage. And lately the second instinct has been winning out...

When he is on the changing table he likes to kick things and in general be a pain in the ass. He squirms all around and it's really very annoying. So now I just say "If you move around up here you are going to fall".

That usually does the trick.

And if not, then I can always slide the changing pad up just a little so part of his head is kind of hanging off the table. This makes the threat of falling seem more real...and it is also probably some form of child abuse.

But the thing is, I'm not wrong!

If he moves around too much up there then he WILL fall. I'm just stating the obvious. I'm a realist, Carter. Personally, I think you are never too young to learn about gravity. So actually, I'm giving him a valuable science lesson rather than scaring the crap out of him to benefit myself...and that's my story...

Last week Carter fell while running and split his head open. He went to the doctor's office to get some Dermabond on the cut. He had to be held down and let's just say it was not his favorite moment. On his way out he turned around unprompted and told the doctor "Thank you for putting glue on my head."...just a cute little side note, not the point of the story!

The point of the story is that I now use that against him as well. When he's running around the house or jumping off the couch (yeah, having boys is a blast isn't it?) I tell him "If you do that you'll have to go get more glue on your head". If it doesn't stop him completely it at least makes him pause long enough that I can get my hands on him.

Do I feel guilty using his trauma to scare him into compliance? A little. Do I still do it? A lot.

My mom did the same thing to me when I was younger, so I guess it's just a vicious cycle. She told me that if I bit my nails and accidentally swallowed one it would rip my stomach open. What a loving, caring woman huh? Hmmm...I'm thinking my upbringing has a lot to do with my parenting style. But it did stop me from biting my nails. I rest my case.

Today, however, Carter called my bluff. I was changing him and he looked right at me and said "Mama won't let you fall." Like he was thinking, "Alright, woman! Let's see just how far you are willing to take this game..."

Damn! How can I really threaten him with falling after that? Cause now if he falls it will be because Mama let him. So I had to say that no, in fact, I would not let him fall.

What a punk!
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Holidays

Oh, the holidays!

That magical time of year when my kids are fed too much sugar, stay up too late, get thrown off their schedule and in general become little, tiny walking zombies.

I love my relatives but having them around the kids all at once is like being in one of those movies where the underdog is surrounded by a group of skilled Ninjas all wearing the same outfit. You always hope that guy wins, but it seems improbable at the time.

That's how I feel when I have nineteen different people handing Carter a cookie, or sneaking Grant a few bites of pie. I'm their only defender...and also I only have one hand with which to fight them off because the other is clearly busy holding my wine glass.

"But it's the holidays!"

Yes, I know. And there is nothing merrier than a two year old waking at 3am to puke up a stomach full of sweets. You coming over to clean that up? Right.

That's the problem, everyone gets to enjoy them while they are being all cute and Christmasy and then the second they fuss it's "Oh, he's out of sorts...go see Mommy!"

Mommies get the short end of this whole Christmas deal. Like, OK, who picks out all the presents, buys them, wraps them and then places them out on Christmas morning? Mom. And who gets all the credit? Friggin SANTA!

So, when Carter has a really cool, awesome, unbelievable toy that he LOVES, he's gonna go around telling everyone that Santa gave it to him.

I really want to be like "Yes, but Mommy told him that you'd enjoy getting all those cars..soo...a little recognition??"

Know what else is fun this time of year? Trying to navigate a giant double stroller through the mall stores with their itsy bitsy little aisles. People with kids have to shop too, people! And its a hell of a lot easier for you to get out of my way than for me to move out of just move without the damn attitude and we can all spread around the Christmas cheer.

Today I actually hit some lady in the foot with my stroller. Totally by accident. But the look she gave me, even after I said sorry, made me reeeeeally want to hit her again....and again. This is how stroller rage starts, I'm a classic case.

Is it a bad thing that I came home from the mall, put my kids for a nap and poured myself a drink? Maybe. But its making me a whole lot cheerier.  And isn't that the reason for the season?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Carter and Grant

Carter was 8 months old when we found out we were expecting Grant. I was so excited...and so scared out of my mind! I wasn't sure how my baby would deal with being a big brother.  But he was such a sweet little boy so I couldn't imagine it being anything other than perfect....

Their first meeting was, well, interesting. Carter toddled over to the car seat and took a peek but I really don't think he even saw the baby. All he saw was the cute stuffed duck that was in there with him. Soooooo, he just poked Grant in the eye real quick, grabbed the duck and left...and that was the beginning of their beautiful relationship.

At first, having someone else in the house didn't effect Carter one bit. It wasn't until Grant started moving that things changed. And Grant rolled/crawled/walked early, which was pretty awesome for me because now there was someone to mess with Carter. Which he totally deserved.

Payback is a bitch my little friend!

Grant is fast.  I wouldn't want him for a little brother.  He's also really strong.  Carter sometimes has to drag him several feet before he'll let go of the toy they are fighting over.  That's dedication, Grant.  Keep it up!

I love watching them interact. Sometimes I'll hear them nicely playing together and it will make me so happy. Until I walk into the room and realize that they are nicely playing together with.... a pizza cutter that Carter stole from the kitchen drawer.

Um, at least they were getting along while slicing up plastic asparagus, right?

We also have this big red car that they like to play with.  But its like, if one is playing with it the other MUST throw himself in the way.  They can't just take turns.  Ya know, when I used to dream about having children I never pictured the moment when I would have to yell "WE DON'T RUN OVER OUR BROTHERS!" But, yeah, that's a concern around here these days.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Arts and Crafts

I don't like mess. I don't like clutter. I don't like dirt. I don't like things that are sticky, muddy, gooey, goopy or oozy. Glue and glitter rank very high of my list of materials not to use to entertain my child.

As a result of my neurosis, Carter has never been exposed to arts and crafts. I mean, we color (with crayons, NOT markers!) but as far as projects go he's slightly behind the average child.

I never thought of this as odd until the day we went to a class that involved an art project. The teacher handed him a glue stick. She may as well have handed him an algebra equation. He's had as much exposure to those as he's had to glue sticks.

When he figured out what you could do with said stick, his face lit up. You would think this thing held the secret to curing cancer, eliminating the national deficit and bringing about world peace...that's how happy he was to be holding it.

He now possessed the power to stick things to other things, and he intended to use it. His fire truck had no less than 13 wheels on it when he was finished. He just kept gluing them on.

Then the teacher brought out the glitter. Good lord. Luckily, she did the sprinkling for them. She spilled a little on the table. Carter ran over and said "I clean it up." I've never been more proud!

Know how sometimes when a kid has overly controlling parents they grow up and rebel? Yeah, well, my kid isn't going to be out partying till all hours of the night...he's going to go off to college and sneak finger paints into his dorm room.

I can see myself now, trying to explain to the police...."He used to be such a good boy!  I don't know where I went wrong and let him grow up to become 'The Glue Stick Bandit'!"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Other Mothers

Are there any normal parents left out there?

You know, the ones who say to their kids:
"You're annoying me today. Here's a cookie, now go watch Mickey Mouse and give me a break."

Instead of:
"I can see you're frustrated today. Here, have some organic oatmeal and soy milk. Now lets sit down and write a haiku about your feelings."

Up until now it has been fairly easy to surround myself with other mothers who share my views on parenting. I love my friends because I can call them up and tell them "My kids are driving me nuts. I'm coming over. I need a witness in order to garuntee their safety."

But now that Carter is older I try to take him out to classes that will help him learn valuable social skills and will in other ways enrich...yeah, no, I can't even finish that sentence and keep a straight face. I take him to classes cause it saves me from being trapped in the house alone with him for ten hours every day.

The problem with these classes is that you never know what type of parental figures you are going to encounter. I am easily annoyed (at least ACT shocked by that statement, would ya?) I don't want to be surrounded by touchy-feely idiots who think their child is quite honestly the most perfect child that has ever been created. If you follow this blog you are aware that I certainly suffer from no such delusions regarding my kids.

I recently attended a class where some of the other mothers took it upon themselves to change the curriculum. And the teacher LET THEM! I missed the first class of the session where these God-like women decided what my child was and was not going to be learning.

Carter will be going to preschool next year and I will be surrounded by these people. I hope I don't show up late one morning and find that the decision has been made to skip teaching math that year and focus on teaching meditation skills instead. Cause there are no wrong answers in meditation, and that will foster a child's sense of self-worth....

These mothers are so judgemental. Don't get me wrong, I judge other people too. Everyone does so don't deny it. But at least when I do it there is usually a good reason. If you're wearing brown socks and black shoes, for example. Then you're just asking for it. But I've found that mothers judge other mothers for the MOST RIDICULOUS reasons.

When Carter was around a year old, a mother at story time gave me a lecture because I didn't use sign language with him:

Her:"But it helps you understand what they want! Like, when she wants more of something she can tell me!"

Me: "Hey, Carter. Say 'more'."

Him: "More."

K? We good here?

Another time I was having a conversation about nutrition and the topic of school lunches came up. So I have this woman telling me how she couldn't believe the things that some mothers pack their kids for lunch these days! Her example? White bread.

White bread? Really? That's what you got as ammo on this mom? The way she was talking I thought she was going to say heroin.

OK, other mothers, I realize that you are judging me because I brought Goldfish as a snack instead of organic avocados grown by blind orphans in Guatemala. But rest assured, I'm judging you right back for being pretentious know-it-alls who are raising the next generation of overly entitled American brats!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Special Agent Oso

I know many of you have heard me say this before but, honestly, Special Agent Oso is by far the worst show on television. Well, if not the worst then certainly a contender for the most annoying.

If you haven't seen it, the premise is that this supposedly James Bond-esque animated bear goes around and solves problems with "three special steps". Now, if you're like me and think that there are some tasks so simple in nature that they cannot possibly be broken down into three whole, separate are wrong, my friend, you are wrong.

The episode names are plays on Bond films. Things like "The Man with the Golden Retriever" and "The Chairs are Not Enough". They show clips of Special Agent Oso (emphasis on the Special) doing his spy-like training exercises. There will be thee buttons and in order to avoid disaster (insert danger music here) he has to know which to push! So he'll manage to pull that off somehow, then he'll make his get away in some sort of high-tech transportation. I'm sorry, but if you don't know which button has the picture of the red square on it, I'm pretty sure you shouldn't be driving an invisible motorcycle, navigating a large ship or operating a jet pack....just saying...

Sean Austin provides Oso's voice. I'm not an expert but I'm thinking this may have been a bad career move. This man has played a miniature football player, a bumbling hobbit and now an animated bear who needs to be given three special steps in order to breathe properly. No one is going to be casting a blockbuster movie and say "Ok, who do we get to play Angelina Jolie's love interest in this movie...Brad Pitt? No, been done. Tom Cruise? Nah. Hey, I know! How 'bout we get the guy who provides the voice for that mentally deficient bear? Did you catch his performance in 'Quantum of Sandwich'? Good stuff. Brilliant actor."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Trick or Treat!

Carter was originally not into Halloween.

I took him shopping for a costume but he didn't really grasp the concept.

We picked out a fireman ensemble but when we got home he refused to wear the jacket or the hat. So that left him just holding the axe that it came with.

Yeah, Cart, let's take you around to all the neighbors just like a two year old axe murderer. Like we don't have a bad enough reputation around this place as it is.

So I went out independently and bought him a cow outfit. Ok, not the coolest costume around but it was one piece and it zipped. I was mainly thinking it would be easy to trap him in when he inevitably tried to rip it off his body.

Is this how other parents plan their kid's costumes? Or no?

In the weeks leading up to Halloween I put him in the cow a few times, hoping to get him more used to the idea of parading around dressed as a barnyard animal. He would look at himself in the mirror, laugh for a second...and then immediately scream "Don't want it! Don't want the cow!" while attempting to pull it off.

Let me tell you something, kid. You are going out dressed in that cow suit! You are going to take pictures and get candy and have a good time. Even if it kills you...which, judging from your reaction, it just might.

Halloween night: Still no go on the cow.

But I forced his contorted little body into the costume, zipped and velcroed it and even managed to get his shoes on...a feat for which I would like some sort of recognition. Thank you.

He finally stopped screaming and we headed out. The first house we went to was our neighbors that we love. They invited us in and gave him some fruit snacks and candy. He said trick or treat, he did his job and got the reward. He then studied the piece of candy, looked up at me and said "Wanna do trick or treat again!"

Here is the evidence that my son is a true capitalist. He suddenly realized that his work ethic is directly related to his earning potential.

"So let me get this straight, Mom...I put on this ridiculous barn yard animal outfit and pound the pavement and the more times I say trick or treat, the more loot I get? Yeah, ok. I'm in."

Unfortunately, I had to teach him about taxes by taking a percentage of his hard earned Snickers.

The rest of the night was amazing!

He was so damn cute saying trick or treat. Although he did try to walk right in to several houses (he almost made it up the inside staircase at one place). Turns out if someone offers my son candy he'll just go right into their house whether he knows them or not. We probably gotta work on that.

He walked the entire night, holding my hand. I was melting and thinking about how good he was being and how this couldn't possibly by my kid.

On our walk home he was trying to run ahead so I told him that he had to hold Mama's hand because there were cars going by.

He looked right up at me with those adorable, pudgy cow cheeks and said:

"You don't want the cars to kill you!"

Ah, there's my son!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Our Neighbors

The people in our neighborhood are all at different stages of life. Its actually kind of interesting to compare our situation to theirs. Ya know, think about where we're going, where we've been. That sort of thing. So here is a glimpse into the lives of the families that surround us...

There's us of course. The young, cute, hip totally put together couple with the two ADORABLE little kids.


Anyway, we have our next door neighbors to the right.  They have kids a little older than ours so they can basically relate to us. I hear them yelling sometimes too.

In fact, when I hear their kids throwing a temper tantrum my first though is "Good! Thank God other people's offspring do that." My second though it is "Damn. They still do that when they're eight?"

Then there's the older couple across the street. They're grandparents so they've been there and done that. They like to hear stories about what the boys are doing. They send over little gifts for the kids and get a kick out of everything they do at this stage. We love them.

Finally, we have our other next door neighbors. The newlywed couple. The young romantics not tied down by children. The couple who holds hands as they go for a leisurely evening stroll. Ah...remember those days?

 Me neither.

I cannot imagine what they must think of us.

First of all, they put us to shame with the amount of upkeep they do to their house.

Yes, it must be SO nice that you can both take four hours on a Saturday afternoon to paint the railings on your porch together. I remember having that kind of free time.

Or isn't it adorable that you two put all that work into your lawn and garden. "I'll mow, honey. You can prune the hedges. And after that we'll go have a candle lit dinner, stare into each others eyes and talk about how valuable and fulfilling our relationships is!"

Lovely, just lovely. Our conversations about yard work go something like this...

"Jesus Christ! You haven't mowed the lawn in three friggin weeks! It looks like the Amazon Rain Forest out there. Do it while the kids are napping cause right when you're done we gotta go food shopping and then do those returns at Target..."

I bet it drives them crazy when our unraked leaves blow onto their perfectly manicured property. Is it wrong that I get a small amount of satisfaction from that?

Sometimes I really do wonder what I sound like to them as I'm yelling at...I mean reasoning with... my kids.

"I don't know WHY you would think it was a good idea to pull the wheels off of your fire truck and EAT them, but let me tell you, IT WASN'T!"..."GET OFF THAT NOW!"..."Do NOT push him again!"..."I can't take this today Carter! I CAN'T!"

Living next door to us is the best birth control life has to offer.

I also get really jealous when I see them leave their house to go somewhere and they aren't carrying anything...or anyone for that matter.

Then they see us leaving the house lugging fifteen bags...and we still make three trips back from the car for the inevitably forgotten items.

I think if they ever saw me leave the house, get in the car and just drive away they wouldn't know what to make of it. They would probably call the police, thinking I'd been high jacked or something.

I wish children on them daily...


So they finally had a kid.  We didn't know she was pregnant until a month before she delivered because she never left the house.  I thought maybe them having offspring would make them less weird and introverted...I was mistaken.

One afternoon we were playing in the yard when we stopped to talk to them (a very rare occurrence since they usually get out of their car and BOLT into the house.)

We were chatting and Carter was in the background screaming about something.  I gave my best sarcastic eye roll and said "Three is a fun age! I bet you guys hear him screaming all the time!"

Things I expected them to say: "Oh no, not at all!" or "Hahaha! He's a kid, that's what they do right?"

Things they said: "Yes.  Yes we do." With the most serious faces I'd ever seen. 

Oh, well, in that case I hope your child is born with horns.  I can't wait to call in a noise complaint the first time I hear him cry. 

We were thrilled when we saw the "For Sale" sign in their yard.  Even more thrilled when we saw the "Sold" sign go up. They packed up their stuff yesterday and just drove away.  Didn't even give us a second thought.  What?  No hug goodbye? I'm shocked.  SEE YA! 

New neighbors move in to follow I"m sure!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Things Carter Says in Public

So, you're out in a store. You're minding your own business. A woman with a kid in a shopping cart passes by you and out of the blue the kid says something completely inappropriate. And the mother looks mortified but you laugh cause, hey, its not your kid!

Yeah, that's cause it's my kid.

And I'm hoping that when he says these things the people who hear it choose to be amused by Carter and do not choose to, say, call child protective services.

For example...we're out at gymnastics class and Carter is bouncing happily on the trampoline. He's just singing and laughing and generally enjoying life. I'm having a moment where I just love him...uh huh...

From out of nowhere he says "If you hit the dogs..."

At this point I think he's going to say "If you hit the dogs, you'll go in time out". Something like that. So I'm alright with encouraging him to finish his sentence.

"What happens if you hit the dogs, Carter?"

"Mama will let them bite you...and it will hurt."

The mother next to me looks over so I smile and laugh. Thankfully, so does she.

She shakes her head and gives me the good old "Where do they get these things!"

Ha...ha...yeah its funny. Except I know exactly where he gets these things because I did actually say that to him...probably more than once. Alright, definitely more than once.

Then there are the times when he says something embarrassing and just won't stop.

We were at Babies R Us and the cashier said hello to Carter.

Carter looked at her for a second and then said...."That's Uncle Donny".

OK, now Uncle Donny is a 6'2", rather large man. And in Carter's defense, this lady actually did bear a striking resemblance to him. Poor thing.

Sometimes you know what your kid is saying but no one else does. Unfortunately for me Carter has very clear speech. I highly doubt the woman couldn't make out the words "Uncle" and "Donny". Especially because he repeated it several times...

"Hi Uncle Donny...What Uncle Donny doing?...Thank you, Uncle Donny!"

I need to find out when she works and not shop there at those times because I don't think I want to run into her again any time soon...and I'm sure she feels the same way.  
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Friday, October 22, 2010

The Evolution of Time Out

Throughout Carter's life we have used many time out spots and techniques.

"No, I read about this today. This one will work..."

I'm beginning to think they have not yet invented the time out trick that can cure Carter. Or they probably have, but it's since been outlawed.

We gave Carter his first time out when he was 14 months old. I sat him on the small carpet in our play room. He laughed...I should have known then.

I wasn't sure how long to keep him there or if he even got the concept of time out, but I was actively disciplining my child so I gave myself a quick pat on the back. Nothing irks me more than parents who let their children run the show, tell them what to do or say no to them.

I once watched a mother actually bribe her child with MONEY to put on her shoes in the middle of winter.

"I'll give you a dollar if you put on your shoes."

SERIOUSLY! How bout I'll let you LIVE if you put on your shoes? Its winter, this is not an option, put on your damn shoes. I was not going to have this child.

At 15 months we began physically holding him on that carpet square while looking away and not giving him any attention. I was eight months pregnant at the time so, I'm not sure if you can picture me trying to wrestle with him at this point...but try, cause it's funny.

At 18 months we went to two minutes and made him sit on the bottom step of our staircase. So now every time he got put on that step his first move was to mess with the throw rug that I have in the foyer...cause he knew that it annoyed me. Then he would look at me innocently and ask "What happened?" You, Carter. You happened.

Now, the thing about Carter is not only is he very fresh...he's also very amusing. This leads to some difficult discipline moments.

Like, when Mike was explaining how we can't actually ride our little brothers and Carter very slowly and very deliberately reached out his finger and poked Mike right in the eye. It's probably hard to take the lesson seriously with your mother cracking up in the background. Or the time when the toaster dinged while I was correcting him and he exclaimed "OH! Your toast is ready!" How does one recover from that?

So the doctor just told us we need to step up our game and put him in his room for time outs.

Now, do I tie him up and then put him up there? Cause I'm pretty sure that's the only way that this will not result in my having to pick up the room that he trashed while alone in there for two minutes. Who is this a punishment for again?

OK, I'll try anything at this point. So I wait for an you can guess I didn't have to wait long.
"We don't push our brother! Time out! Upstairs!"

I put him in there, shut the door and wait. I hear the drawers opening, things being thrown around and even one noise that I didn't recognize...soooo... that made me kind of nervous.

Towards the end I hear silence. I go up to release the prisoner. And find him laying, literally sprawled out, in the middle of his room surrounded by every shirt, blanket, toy and chair (that was the noise I didn't recognize) that he could get his hands on. He just looks at me. And he honestly looks exhausted! Like it was just SO much work wreaking all that havoc, and he just totally needed a rest!

So as I had imagined, this is more of a punishment for ME than for HIM. What I really need is a room with nothing in it. I need to put him in "the hole", solitary confinement. I've seen shows where this works on inmates...something to think about...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Did You Even Taste That?

I think Carter has a sixth sense that lets him know when I am eating.

Honestly, its like his toddler superpower. No matter how quietly I open up that bag of cookies, no matter how softly I close the cabinet, no matter where in the house he is at the time...I turn around and he's standing there looking at me.

"You want a cookie, Carter?" (That's him offering himself a cookie.)

Damn it! "No, this is Mama's cookie."

Have you ever tried to explain to a two-year-old why you can have a cookie and he can't? Don't.

Its especially a pain in the morning when I'm trying to eat my cereal and do something check my Facebook! We have a high top table and he'll actually climb right up my leg to reach my bowl. All the while he's proclaiming "That's Mama's cereal!" Yeah, it is. So back off, pal.

My husband and I used to cook together and then sit down and eat a nice meal while we talked about our day.

We still do this like 10 o'clock at night.

But the meal now takes place in front of the TV. And the conversation has been replaced by DVR'd episodes of 30 Rock and The Office. Occasionally we'll throw in a "Honey, did you feed the dogs?" Ya know, to keep the romance alive.

I used to think I was sneaky and smart...Carter has rid me of those ridiculous notions.

When he would ask me for a bite of something I would just give it to him thinking "Ha! There's no way he'll eat goat cheese and sun dried tomato pizza! He'll have one bite and then leave me alone!" I know you won't be shocked when I tell you he ate an entire slice.

When you become a parent you expect to learn new things. But speed eating is a surprising addition to my skill set.

When you have a screaming infant in the other room or a greedy toddler reaching for your plate you are eating for survival, not pleasure. Like, if I don't get this sandwich in my body in the next five seconds I may actually pass out...and then Carter will definitely get it and I don't want that to happen purely out of spite!

One morning Carter finished his Cheerios and asked for "A couple more?" When I told him they were all gone he gave me a dirty look and pointed at my bowl. So, like a good mother I had to...quickly finish my last spoon fulls and show him the empty bowl. See? All gone!

I'm sure a lot of mothers out there are appalled by the fact that I don't want to share with my child. Listen, I've given that kid enough. I let him live IN MY BODY for nine months. I actually think he owes ME a cookie or two!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Name That Sound!

When you have kids you sometimes have to make up little games to entertain yourself and keep yourself sane. I have one that I play pretty much hourly. Its called "Name That Sound!"

This is how its played:

You have a two year old stand in a room where you don't have a direct view of him. Then you wait. (Some of you may be waiting longer than others, but I'm Carter's mother so my waiting time is almost non-existent). When you hear a noise you time yourself to see how long it takes you to figure out what it was. I wish this would be made into a game show because I would clean up!

Now, this may sound simple to some of you. But do you think you could make out the sound of a knife and a cutting board being used as a drum set because your child is suddenly taller than you remember and can reach the counter?

I can now.

Or would your ears be able pick up the subtle difference between a tow truck and a dump truck as they are launched off the table? Yup, there IS a difference!

The sound of the snack cabinet opening is an easy one because it has its own signature squeak. But hearing that noise causes me to cease all activity and run to the kitchen. Clearly I forgot to close the latch and am about the pay the consequence.

This is the physical challenge.  It comes down to pure speed and agility as you are forced to leap over babies and maneuver around dogs.

I'm fast...Carter is faster.

By the time I get there he has undoubtedly eaten half a bag of cookies or dumped a box of crackers on the floor. This is the reason the dogs come running for that sound as well.

The newest edition of the game features the bonus round: "Things Found in the Fridge!"

Sounds in this round of play include everything from the pop of the ketchup bottle opening to the sound of a Tupperware container hitting the floor. Tupperware is especially exciting because it could contain almost ANYTHING! (Bonus points for guessing this one before the lid is opened.) 

Did you know that the sound of a gallon of milk being poured into a sour cream container is barely audible? That one was quite the challenge, let me tell you! 

Sometimes your kid even has time to get himself a spoon and eat an entire container of Duck Sauce before you realize what's happening. 
The Lightning Round features the single most terrifying sound in the known universe. A sound so frightening that it can make even the most veteran mom shake with fear...SILENCE!

He's in, he climbed up to the, he's...he's...Ah! There are so many choices!

Occasionally he really is just sitting quietly playing with some blocks, but this is a rare occurrence and not as much fun to guess. I get no points if this is the case.

Now, I know that many of you are jealous of my superiority when it comes to the game of "Name That Sound". Don't be. It's just that I have more practice.

If anyone would like to borrow my child so you can hone your skills just let me know. I'll be sitting by the phone...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Grocery Shopping

(This one has nothing to do with Carter but its on my mind...which currently isn't focused on something that Carter has done so please allow me this moment.) 

I am bad at food shopping.

When I got married I had no idea that this was a skill. I'm good at shopping, so what's the difference? Right? Wrong. Way, way wrong!

First of all, I have to admit that marketing executives have me in mind when they create an advertisement. Whether it's new, improved, scented, shiny, buy one get one, buy twelve get one half off...I have to have it. Mike now refuses to send me to the store alone. Or at least without a serious pep talk.

"Just get what's on the list."

I actually get nervous going on my own. I know I'll have six things on my list and end up spending $90 anyway. How does this happen?

I guess it's because I'm a "just-in-case" type of shopper. I know that I like to have certain things in the house, and if I'm not sure about their status in my pantry then I'll have to buy one. Just to be sure.

We've had situations where Mike assures me that we do, in fact, have hummus in the fridge. He just saw the container. He KNOWS it's in there. We leave the store hummus-less only to find that the container previously referenced holds some sort of crust which indicates it once contained hummus, but that's all. Who the hell puts that back in the fridge anyway?

SEE?! I may over spend but at least I have something to dip my crackers in at the end of the day!

No, I can do this! I'll show him that I can..oooh! Family Size!

"But we use this, so buying it on sale now will save us in the future. And yes I did NEED five of them! They don't go bad!"

This "over-shopping" habit runs in my family. We are constantly preparing for our future needs, as well as for the needs of anyone we have ever met in our lives ("Yes, I know that I PERSONALLY don't use contact solution...")

Fortunately, this gene isn't as strong in me as it is in some (you know who you are!)

I have an aunt who once bought ten bags of cat food because of the unbelievable price. And no, she doesn't have a cat. Nor does anyone within seven degrees of separation from her. But ya just never know. One day someone, somewhere may have a cat. And then she can whip out her cheap kitty chow and triumphantly tell us all what a savvy shopper she is!

Monday, October 11, 2010


Know what makes me really nervous?

When Carter walks up to me out of the blue and says "Sorry".

At that point I have to immediately go on a scavenger hunt around my house looking for damage. Sometimes I figure it out, but not always. Carter, however, is satisfied because he has made the first move and apologized. How big of him.

I think he feels like sorry is a catch all, and as long as you say it then all is well.

He also uses please and thank you in this way. For example, as long as he's said please then he should automatically get what he wants. Or its alright if he grabs a toy away from Grant, because he yelled thank you over his shoulder while running away from the scene.

Now we have sorry.

So he'll just admit to things he's done, even if I haven't caught him yet.

Like, he figures, if I'm already getting a time out I may as well come clean about some other stuff I've done too. Its good for the soul. Ya know, Carter, this is not like confession. You're not gonna just get one Hail Mary for admitting to nine different crimes against humanity.

Now when I release him from the step I'll ask him "Why were you in time out?" Most of the time it sounds like he's just guessing:

"Cause I throw a toy? Cause I pushed Grant? Cause I hit the dog?"

Realistically he's probably done all of these things, so I guess he's not technically wrong.

Once at the end of a time out I went over and asked him why he was in there. He said "Because I throw a garbage truck." So I said, "That's right. We don't throw things".

I let him out thinking, well at least he knows what he did wrong. As I walked away, however, I realized...that's not what he was in there for.

And sure enough I found that garbage truck in the middle of the living room.

That little bastard!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Worth It



Carter walks by me as I'm on my way to discover the source of the crying (even though I'm pretty sure I already know what happened) and as we pass in the kitchen he looks right at me and states matter-of-factly, "I pushed Grant." He continues on his way and sits himself down in time out.

And I just know he's thinking, "Do your worst, woman! I can do two minutes standing on my head and I enjoyed EVERY SECOND of pushing my brother!" (Insert image of smug, bratty child here.)

Opening the fridge, throwing his toys, taking down the gate, antagonizing the dogs...he thinks its all worth it!

During the commission of an offense he'll actually say to me "If you do that you'll get a time out."

Oh, soooo, you know that and yet you're still gonna go for it? Huh. Anything I can do to change your mind? No? Well, OK then.

Or sometimes I'll enter the room and survey the scene while he watches my every move. When I notice the gate is down he'll calmly hit me with the ever popular "What did I tell you about touching the gate!"

Guess I say that a lot, and just look at what a difference its making! Not only does he know exactly what he's not supposed to do, but he can also recite the full sentence from memory! He's so advanced.

Is this type of toddler pathology treatable? With something other than time out, that is.

Today I tried the old make the punishment fit the crime routine. He threw a puzzle, and I made him pick it up. Which meant he had to do the puzzle. So I basically forced him to play with his toys as a way to deter behavior. So, yeah....

Clearly time out is making a big impression on him. What an effective discipline tool! Thank you, Supernanny!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How Did You Get Into That!

Two year olds get into everything.

In fact, the CIA should hire toddlers as professional safe crackers. It would probably be really good for the national budget if we could pay our operatives in animal crackers and apple juice.

And contrary to what the manufacturers would have you believe, baby proofing paraphernalia does not make things as "baby proof" as one might like.

The words "baby proof" are an oxymoron.  It's like Santa for new parents.  They should say...

"Ok, new moms and dads!  Here are your baby proofing items! If you're really good parents your kids will never figure these out!"

Eventually you grow up and realize you were sold a load of crap.

Carter has figured out the trick to just about every latch, chain, knob or gate that we have installed in an effort to keep him safe...

OK, lets be honest, I installed these things more in an effort to not have my house ransacked on a daily basis.

Either way, neither objective is currently being reached.

When your child is on the move you have to secure places that you never even considered would be appealing to anyone.

What so great about the toilet?


The whole bathroom is one giant nightmare. When they get their grubby little paws on the toilet paper and unroll it...I actually can't even talk about it because I'm getting upset imagining myself re-rolling miles of TP.

Some things I'm OK screwing latches into. My $500 wine rack/bar? Not one of them.

The result of this decision is that I'll find Carter wandering around the house holding a deck of cards and a nip of scotch. Like he's a sixty year old man looking for a snifter and a good game of canasta.

The good news is that Grant probably can't do too much to surprise when he gets to this stage. Although I'm sure he'll try.

I can just see it now, the two of them sharing war stories...

"God Grant! What do you mean you only unrolled the toilet paper? In my day I used to take the entire roll and drop it right in the toilet. You heard me...RIGHT IN! And big deal you got into the Cheerios and ate a bunch. Did you dump the rest of the bag on the floor then and walk through them, tracking the dust around the house?  Didn't think so.  Dude, you're an amature."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Losing the Crib =(

We recently went to Carter's two year Dr's. appointment and everything seemed to be going well. He's growing appropriately, eating well, sleeping great. Model toddler, I mean, on paper at least.

Then from out of nowhere the doctor drops the bomb. The triple "B" bomb..."You need to chang him over to a Big Boy Bed."  I immediately lunged across the table, put him in a choke hold and said "Take it back!"

Ok, no I didn't, but I really wanted to.

Instead I cried out "WHY"! Why would a parent willingly dispose of the one place where you can put your toddler, walk away, and be fairly certain they'll still be there when you come back. You don't see farmers just opening up the gates and saying "Go ahead, animals, roam as you will!"

I would keep him in there till his 18th birthday if I could figure out the logistics of that. I'm certain this is a bad idea.

I just reeeeeeallly like it when Carter is contained. In fact, I sometimes take walks with them in the stroller just because its a way I can restrain Carter without being arrested for it.

Every weekend my husband and I talk about making the switch. And every weekend we come up with a new excuse not to. We're going out and we don't want a babysitter to have to deal with it...he's not feeling well...its too hot...its too cold...Jupiter is in the seventh sun and Venus is on the rise, sooo, we better not do it this weekend.

The doctor told me that he would eventually climb out. No, nope, not my kid. My kid will not....BOOM! 
If you've never heard the sound of a 30 pound two-year-old hitting the floor, that was it.


We're changing him over tonight...stay tuned.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Carter's Songs

Carter has very specific...and very diverse...tastes in music.

First and foremost are the damn Wiggles. He LOVES them. I've actually considered just letting the Wiggles raise him. He may well turn out to be a flamboyant, singing and dancing Australian who wears tight, brightly colored shirts, but that's a chance I would be willing to take.

Second on the list is any country song that mentions a tractor. And, um, there are a lot of them. Doesn't just have to be in the song title either, someone in the studio could have whispered the word tractor during the taping of the song and Carter would know it.

Lastly, he has developed a taste for hip hop music.

His first real song obsession, with the song "Replay" by IYAZ, emerged at about 18 months. He heard it in the car one day and that was that. He would walk up to my ipod docking station, point to it and scream "Na, na, na everyday!" (For anyone who hasn't heard the song please look it up on YouTube or something so you can fully appreciate this next story).

So we're in music class...many of my stories seem to take place here...and the teacher has an ipod playing cute little kid songs. Carter walks up to it and points...and I know what is coming. Sure enough he starts the screaming.

The teacher asks me what song he wants to hear, ya know, cause maybe she has it. Doubt it. I should have lied and said he really liked the hokey poky or something. Instead I tell her the song...which she then asks me to sing for her.

"Ah...well...its like 'Shorty's like a melody in my head..." So there I am, in a class full of conservative, stay at home moms and I'm basically rapping for them. Thank you, Carter.

I need to get a Disney CD.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Watch Your Mouth

Is it wrong that I let my child say inappropriate things because it amuses me? Probably. Oh well, too late.

Carter was an early talker, and he's a very verbal child. He's also part parrot because he'll repeat anything and everything you say. This is very dangerous...but sometimes very funny. I've never been good at 'watching my mouth', but I'm gonna have to start making a serious effort. I don't want Carter going to preschool and telling the teacher "I can't friggin stand you."

The thing about it is, you never know just when your words are going to come back and bite you. Its not always right after you say it.

When Grant was a baby and would cry Carter would run up to him and say "Aw! COME ON!" Number one on my 'to do' list? Be more nurturing towards the baby. Number two? Try not to say "I"m going to kill you!" to the dogs...cause that's not super cute coming from a two year old either.

My husband is no better.

One morning when I was changing Carter's diaper he pointed down and kindly reminded me "Don't touch your balls." Wow. Thank you, that's really good life advice. I say a lot of things, but I'm pretty sure I've never said that. MICHAEL!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Second Child Syndrome

All parents say "I'm going to treat all my kids exactly the same, no matter what".

Well, I have to say, expirience has taught me that this statement is complete crap. Loving your children the same and treating them the same are two completely different ideas.

I don't love one child more than the other...although some days I certainly LIKE one child more that the other. But its a totally different world when you throw a second kid into the mix. You are more comfortable as a parents (lets hope!) and maybe a little more relaxed (although if you ask people who know me they will probably tell you that the word "relaxed" does not now, nor has it ever, described my personality).

When Carter was a baby I wrote down everything he ate, drank, read, listened to or watched. I measured his bottles and food with the precision of an award winning scientist (to the point where, at his two month appointment, the pediatrician held up my color coded list and said "See this?  Stop doing this!") Carter always had on the right outfit and most of the time I had just taken the tags off it. I also bathed him daily.

Grant is the classic second child. One day I looked down at him and saw that he had a bruise over his right eye. "Huh, that's weird," I thought, "I wonder where that came from."  I literally had no idea what had happened or even WHEN it had happened!

Then my mind flashed back to the first time that Carter ever fell. I remember exactly what happened, what time of day it was and even what he was wearing! He was holding onto the coffee table and fell sideways, kind of brushing his head against the lip of the table. I immediately called the doctor, certain that he was concussed. I called in sick to work because how could I ever leave my poor, hurt little boy in the care of a babysitter (which actually happened to be my mother that day, not, for instance, some kid off the street!)

Now there is my little Grant! His last bath was...what day is today? He just finished his cereal, I don't know how much cause I didn't measure it. Now he's sitting playing happily with that big bruise on his face wearing hand-me-down clothes and a hat that says "Carter". My how times have changed!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I'm a yeller!

Know those softspoken mothers who never scream and are able to discipline their their children in a rational and composed manner? They're cute, aren't they?

Unfortunately for my children they did not get that make and model of mother. I'm a yeller.  I come from a long line of yellers.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that until I went away to college I didn't realize that there were other ways to communicate.  I'm trying to break this habit so I can be a model mommy.  Its really not going well...I'm raising another generation of yellers.

Case in point, if you ask Carter what Daddy's name is he responds "MICHAEL!", screaming the name at the top of his lungs. Is that what I sound like? Yes, my husband assures me, that IS in fact what I sound like.  I yelled at him for saying that.

Now Carter yells pretty much whenever somthing doesn't go his way.  Recently I spent the morning torturing him...oh I'm sorry, I mean  having his hair cut.  But if you ask my neighbors they'll back up my torture story based on the blood curdling screams coming from my house.   Also, he screams at the dogs whenever they bark, which is basically all day long. I'm pretty sure Grant must think the dog's names are "NO!" and "STOP IT!"

And of course when he gets to this point I naturally take a deep breath and... yell over him!  Yellers, we're all yellers.

Monday, September 27, 2010

"I know how you feel"

Every mother has had one of those days!

When you can't seem to get your act together and your kids are being impossible. When you are the mother of Carter "those days" seem to group themselves into weeks and months...pretty soon I'll have to look at other mothers and say "Oh, we're just having one of those decades!"

When I get stressed I cry, doesn't matter where I am or what I'm doing. I'm not good at holding back the tears. One time in music class Carter was having a particularly nasty week and of course, the teacher picked that week to take a group photo.  He WOULD NOT sit with the other kids.  Naturally I started thinking there must be something seriously wrong with him...I broke down then and there!

It was at this depressing point in my day that another mother, who had twins a year older than Carter, took the opportunity to try and cheer me up...

First she said "I know how you feel."

This is normal motherhood speak for "Yeah, my kid kind of sucks sometimes too." Usually very appropriate comfort words for a fellow mom in distress.

As she was saying it, however, I happened to catch her son turning a musical instrument into a weapon and using it to beat his sister over the head.

Gee, thanks lady, but right now I really don't want to use your kid's behavior as the light at the end of my tunnel. See that little boy over there sitting quietly and listening to the teacher? Where the hell is HIS mom to tell me "been there, done that". Coming from her it might be encouraging.  Coming from you its...well, its not encouraging, let me tell ya.

The next part is my favorite.

She followed up her opening line with "...and it doesn't get any better as they get older."

Honest to God!

I felt like saying "Wow, are you some sort of therapist? If not you should be, cause, I mean, I suddenly feel SO MUCH BETTER!" Was I supposed to thank her for this little pep talk?

She should have just said "See my terrible children? Yours is gonna turn out just like that...and there's nothing you can do about it!"

I don't know if this motivational routine is something that she rehearsed, but I gotta say, it needs work.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Carter at Class

This time of year is very busy because classes all start up again. Its nice to have something to do, but usually I'll just sit there waiting for the inevitable moment when Carter will do something to embarrass me...

Usually its something fairly innocent, like he'll steal a toy away from another kid. But that kid will be devastated because he is now forced to play with the yellow hula hoop instead of the red one. Sometimes they cry and I'm thinking, "He took your hula hoop, he didn't punch you in the face!"

But by the time I realize what's going on, Carter is across the room and I'm stuck with the screaming kid, arms extended, longing for the days when he was in possession of the coveted red hoop. Hey kid, do you know there are entire villages out there full of children who've never even SEEN a red hula hoop? You'll play with the yellow one and you'll like it....

Then you get the mothers who speak to their child just loudly enough so that you are meant to hear it, but not meant to think its directed at you. "Its ok Johnny, Carter didn't mean to steal it..." (Yeah, no, I'm pretty sure that's EXACTLY what he meant to do) "I'm sure he'll give it back if you ask nicely..." (HA! Good luck with that, sister!) At this point I"m probably expected to run an intervention...

See how stressful this is?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Psychic Sue

Last night I went to a psychic reading party. I normally wouldn't. I'm a born skeptic and have to have everything proved to me five times before I'll buy it...which was the first thing she said to me.

When she started talking about my kids I was excited and wanted to hear something about the vacation house in Hawaii they were gonna buy me for being such a nurturing and selfless mother. This is what I got instead...

She told me my first born is stubborn. Check. That he's older than his years. Check. That he's going to be extremely hard to potty train. Yeah, tell me something I don't know! No really...tell me something I don't know cause that's what I'm freaking paying you for.

Then she tells me that "He likes to win." Now most mothers would probably nod and smile knowingly as they picture their little strong headed offspring. Not me. I'm concerned. Primarily because guess who else likes to win...ME! I'm foreseeing the battles that are to come and I'm thinking "Am I mentally prepared for this?" I mean, after all, I'm getting older and that little shit is a god damn sponge right now. I need to work on my mental prowess before he senses my weakness and formulates a plan of attack. Better start doing some Brain Age or something.

She ends the reading with "Good luck with him". Really? Good luck with him? That's your sage advice? Super.

Thus Far...

Ok, so tried the whole blogging thing and I've realized something.  Blogging is a lot like parenting...sometimes you aren't sure that your not just talking to yourself!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Time Out!

Ah! Time out!

The age old tradition...well, actually, its not really "age old" is it? Back in the old days kids got a wack and then they never did that again. Who the hell came up with this time out idea, again?


Time out for Carter is a joke, and I mean, who can blame him?

Yeah he has to sit on the step for (gasp!) TWO MINUTES! Its not like he's in isolation, there is still stuff going on around him. So he just sits there, watches what Grant and I are doing, and it's probably really peaceful for him.

I wish someone would walk up to me and say:

"Oh! Time out! Go sit somewhere and not have any contact with anyone for half an hour."


 I would probably ask what I did wrong so I could be sure to repeat the offense again sometime real soon.
I've tried to make it an actual punishment for him...there was the one day when, after I put him in time out, I took out all of his trucks and played with them in front of him. Saying things like "Wow! Trucks are so fun! I'm glad I'M not in time out!".

Or the day when he yelled from his step prison "I'm mad at you", and I turned around and yelled back "Oh yeah? Well I'm mad at you too, pal!" (Please note, this blog is not a 'how-to' on perfect parenting...clearly).

Well, until he learns to modify his behavior...or until I learn exactly what actions on my part will actually get under his skin...I guess time out is the best we got!

Having a selfish mom moment...

Know those mothers who bring their kids out to classes or playgroups when they are sick?  You kind of have to fight the urge to spit on them...or at least the urge to call them at 2am when your kids wakes up with a faucet nose.  I have many vivid scenarios where I tell these women off  "Um, can you please get slimer...oh I mean the playground before he infects the entire town!  Have a nice selfish, mean lady!" 

Well, Carter has gym class today and he's a stuffy mess!  But gym class usually results in a three hour nap which is a great time for me to clean the house, do the laundry...hahaha!  No, just kidding, but I do have a lot of DVRing to catch up on....

Alright, I won't bring him.  But you can't stop me from cursing all the other mothers with happy, healthy kids who are at that class.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Um, toddlers eat weird things...

Carter found an old (and by old I mean antique) bag of rice cakes in the cabinet.  Their historical status did not seem to keep him from eating half the bag before I stopped him.  Stale is just gross, right?  I mean, its not actually bad for you, is it?  Either way, after some impressive protest on his part...I let him finish the bag.