Friday, December 9, 2011

Silver and Gold Decorations

I love the holidays. 
Actually, let me clarify that.  I love the IDEA of the holidays.  I always picture a roaring fireplace making the house all cozy, my husband and I sipping eggnog while trimming the tree and the kids watching a classic Christmas movie in the background.
In reality we don’t even have a fireplace so I’m not sure how this blissful scene came to be stuck in my head.  Ok, well, take out the fireplace and it can still happen right?  Let me try…
We got our tree right after Thanksgiving and I was so excited to get it home and decorate it.  This is when the season truly starts, the beginning of all of our 2011 Christmas memory making! Mike set up the stand and I sat the kids down to watch a movie. 
“Do you want to watch Rudolph?  Or the Grinch? Or Frosty?”
“We want to watch Mickey.”
Oh, alright!  I have Mickey’s Christmas Carol!  Oh.  No?  You want the one where he goes fishing?  But that’s not a holiday classic. How ‘bout the Christmas one? 
At this point I have two kids throwing themselves on the ground, screaming and crying about that stupid mouse going fishing.  Well, this evening is not starting off very merry at all.  I should do something to appease the children so they can be happy during this process…so, I put in Mickey’s Christmas Carol.
Mike then started setting up the tree.  It didn’t fit in the base so he had to take it outside and trim down the stump…three times.  His feelings about that were “R” rated so I’m not going to share them. 
Crying children, swearing husband.  Excellent.  Well, let’s start the trimming and go from there. 
“That garland is uneven…you have to move the bottom strand up one.”
“It’s fine. You wanna do it yourself then?”
“No.  And it’s not fine.  Just friggin move it!”
“F you!”
“F you!”
This is a holly jolly experience for one and all!  At least I can still have that eggnog…with a little more rum that I had originally planned.
Cut to the next morning because we were all too tired and cranky to finish the decorating that night. 
It’s time to put on the ornaments.  This is my favorite part because you can relive all of your memories together as a family.  I just knew we were going to really enjoy this moment!  Off we went…
We had Carter, who put fifteen ornaments on one branch.  And then Grant, who just chucked his ornaments at the tree and then was pissed when they didn’t stay there.  And of course my darling husband, who purposely dug out and hung up all the ornaments he knows I don’t like. 
I eventually kicked everyone out and sat there drinking my coffee and decorating alone.  At least it was peaceful and I could throw in a Christmas movie to watch while I worked.  I put on Rudolph.
“NO!  We want Thomas!”
The house can decorate itself this, where did I put that bottle of rum...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

He Sees You When You're Sleeping...

Christmas time.  A time for love, laugher, family & friends.  A time to appreciate what you have.  But above all…a time when you can threaten the hell out of your children and get away with it.
Parents wait all year for the opportunity to tell their kids that Santa is watching.  Before I had children I thought this was an absurd idea.  Why can’t they just listen and do what they're told.  MY kids were NOT going to need to be threatened in order to behave.
I’ve since come to the realization that children, especially toddlers, are unwilling to cut the shit on their own and must be scared into submission on a regular basis. 
So I introduced the idea of Santa. Carter didn’t really buy it at first. 
We were standing in the kitchen at the time.  I told him to knock off whatever he was doing because Santa could see him.  He looked at me skeptically, walked into the living room and screamed: “CAN HE SEE ME NOW?”
No, hun, it’s just in the kitchen.  Do whatever you like in the rest of the house but watch your ass in the kitchen…cause he’ll getcha! Clearly I had some work to do on the Santa front.
I needed to call in reinforcements so we procured the newest weapon in the parent Christmas arsenal… “The Elf on the Shelf”. 
Basically you name the thing, you tell your kids he’s a spy for Santa and then you move him around your house every night so your kids think he comes to life when they’re not looking. 
Is this Christmas or Halloween?  Cause the idea of a doll that comes to life at night and rats you out while you sleep must be absolutely terrifying to children.  And…well…that’s why it works.
Here’s my problem:  What are all of us parents supposed to do on December 26th? 
Ok, kids, glad you’ve been decent for the past month and you got everything you wanted for Christmas.  But now I guess you guys can continue your reign of terror cause no one’s watching but us moms and dads.  And we all know how effective we are at getting you to act appropriately.  I just can’t wait until next December when you have another month of moderately acceptable behavior! Hooray!
Fellow parents, I say we don‘t just take it laying down this year.  This year we fight back!  Who says an elf is the only doll that can come to life and mess with our kids heads…
After Christmas I’m going to introduce my kids to the “New Year’s Nymph”.  Yeah, if you’re not good…he…um…he visits you on New Year’s Day and gives you THE WORST hangover you’ve ever had!  You want that?  Huh? Do you? Didn’t think so.  Now eat your God damn vegetables.
Next comes the “Leprechaun on the Landing”.  Now, there is one bad dude!  If you throw too many temper tantrums then you don’t get ANY beer on St. Patrick’s Day!  (Actually, I may use that one on my husband instead…)
This is going to take a lot of thought and creativity.  But I’m willing to put in the work.  Because, I’m gonna be honest, I don’t know how to parent without scare tactics. 
Watch your back, kids.  Mommy’s gunnin' for ya.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Santa vs. Jesus

This year I’ve decided to introduce the concept of Jesus to my kids. 
Yes, yes, I know.  All of you Christians out there are making that little noise with your tongue right now; the one you make when you’re disappointed (is there a name for that noise?).  Ok, it took me three years to talk to my kids about religion.  But the story of Jesus isn’t really bed time story material, now is it?
“Carter, Grant.  Mommy wants to tell you about Jesus.  He was born long ago…outside…in the cold…because people are mean.  Then he grew up and did great things for mankind…the same mankind that subsequently beat him, dug razor sharp thorns into his head and drove huge nails through his hands and feet.  He eventually bled out and died in the most excruciating way possible.  Sweet dreams kids!”
I haven’t quite figured out how to spin that yet.
On the other hand, the story of Santa is a wonderful holiday tradition. 
“Hey guys!  Wanna hear about Santa?  He’s a big happy, jolly man who makes toys for a living and then gives them out to children all over the world!  He also maintains a strict diet of cookies, milk and hot chocolate!  Merry Christmas!”
So maybe my kids have a better understanding of Santa than of Jesus at this point.  In fact, Grant’s first word maaaaaay have been Santa.  I’m not even joking, he’s a December baby…his first word was ACTUALLY Santa.
Well better late than never, right?  So I bought a book about the night Jesus was born.  It’s a nice little story about a mother’s love.  What could be a better way to broach this subject? 
Reason number 1,537 why I'm a bad Catholic:
While reading the book Carter kept asking if Santa was in it...
“No, he’s not”
“Is Jesus friends with Santa?”
“I don’t think so...can we just read the book?”
“Well, does he at least have reindeer?
Um…if I say yes is it gonna make you shut up and listen to the damn story? Cause then yeah, Jesus loooooved him some reindeer!
Not the way I pictured this going when I made that purchase.  I decided to try a different approach and tell him about all the great things Jesus did for people.  He seemed to at least absorb this information and didn’t mention Santa once during my speech about how Jesus loved and helped people.
A few minutes later Carter said “Mom, we’re playing hide and seek and I can’t find Grant.  Do you think Jesus will help me?”
I may want to wait another year on this whole Jesus thing…

Friday, October 21, 2011

Carter for President!

Even though he’s only three, I think that Carter has the makings of a fabulous politician. 
To be honest though, politician was my second thought.  At first I came to the conclusion that he’d make a really good con artist.  But I’ve since realized that his talents could be useful in the pursuit of a more respectable…and more legal…line of work
I think that he’s a natural born leader.  He’s not afraid to lay down the law.
For example, in the third week of preschool his teachers told me that he was very “hands on” in class that day.  First of all, what does that even mean?  Like, he used his hands to play a lot that day?  Oh no, come to find out they said he was “hands on” because he literally put his HANDS ON the other kids. (Carter!  Jesus, dude!  It’s the third damn week…couldn’t you at least wait a little longer before showing them your true colors…I wanted to keep them snowed till at least Christmas!  Your cover is blown, man.)
Well, we talked to him about it and told him to cut the crap!  Finally we asked him WHY he was pushing the other kids in class.  His answer?  “They weren’t standing in line, the teacher said to stand in line.”  Very matter of fact.  He apparently feels the need to put himself in charge of everyone’s behavior.  I don’t know WHERE he gets that from!  And if you step out of line...he'll just push you.  It would be great for crime prevention.  I, for one, know that I would walk the straight and narrow if I thought our national leader could pop up at any moment and shove me.
Another reason I want him to run for office is that he is a stellar negotiator.
We were getting ready for nap time so I told Carter we were done reading books.  This was an unpopular decision which led to him kicking over a basket of blocks. I very calmly said "I would like you to pick up those blocks." And he looked right at me and said "Yes...and I would like YOU to read a book to me!"
Oh ok, sooo…we both had scenarios that we’d like to see play out.  And he was really trying work out a deal with me. I like that he wanted to go the diplomatic route.  I also like that he’s three and I’m still bigger than him so I didn’t have to talk it out.  Pick up the damn blocks.
But these little interactions are very good practice for his future.
“President Jefferson, we would like you to get your troops out of our country.”
”Uh huh.  And WE would like YOU to stop bombing your neighbors….so do that and I won’t have to dump a pile of MegaBlocks  on your ass.  OK?”
In order to be successful in office you have to be able to represent you constituents.  Carter has some experience in this area.
Today he walked up to me while I was vacuuming and said:
"Excuse me, Mom. Me and my brother can't hear the TV when you're doing that."
What are you, the representative from the Children’s Union?  Did you get elected to come discuss your list of grievances with me?
Next I’ll be finding notes around the house that say “Dear Mom and Dad, Grant and I are sick of you guys buying the generic cereal.  What the hell are “Tastee O’s?  We want the real thing.  Please meet us in the playroom after dinner to discuss the situation or we’ll be going on a sleep strike effective at midnight tonight.”
I think I’m really onto something here.  He’d be a good candidate.  I mean, I wouldn’t vote for him cause I think he’s a little bastard…but everyone else is more than welcome to! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Things Mike Says

This week is me and my husband’s 5th anniversary.  So I found it fitting to write a blog paying tribute to the man who’s genes make of half of Carter’s DNA (I like to throw that fact around whenever I get a chance…makes me feel less responsible for how that kid is turning out.)
He has so many great qualities that it’s hard to name just a few.  But I'll try:
He’s really caring.  He’s always looking out for my well-being.  Like the time that I came home early from work because I was deathly ill and I just knew that when I walked in the door he would immediately take care of me, tuck me in and make me a cup of tea.  And naturally when he saw me he said “What the hell are you doing home?  I’m still watching my motorcycle show, ya know.”  Soooo…is that a no on the tea then?
He always puts me first.  My safety is his number one concern.  One day I fell while carrying our vacuum up the stairs.  Upon hearing the extremely loud bang my loving husband frantically ran over and yelled up “Is the vacuum ok?”  But I didn’t mind cause he explained “We have insurance for you…I don’t want to have to buy a new vacuum.” See?  What a Sweetheart!
Whenever I need an ego boost he’s there to tell me how beautiful I am.  I told him that on my walk with the boys one day I got beeped at by three different cars.  His response?  “Well I would stop walking in the middle of the street then.”  Hands off ladies, he’s all mine!
He really gets into the holidays, too! Last year he came home from Christmas shopping, ignored me and kids and walked straight to the liquor cabinet. After pouring himself a large scotch, he took a sip and said "I hate this fucking holiday!" I truly have the merriest husband in all the land!
He’s a great father, the kids learn so much from him. One morning while I was changing Carter’s diaper he suddenly pointed down and said, "Don't touch your balls!"  He looked very proud of himself, as if he had been saving up this pearl of wisdom for some time and was glad that he finally got to share it with me.  Dads teach the best life lessons, huh?
He also has a very unique fashion sense. The first time I left him alone with Carter I came home to find my precious baby boy wearing a red and brown striped shirt, baby blue sweatpants and green socks.  I wanted to fact I think I may have actually cried.  But Mike pointed out the fact that “Hey, at least he’s WEARING clothes!  Can’t we just celebrate the little victories?”
He’s super good at home improvement projects.  And he’s always patient while working on them.  Last year when we had all the rain and flooding I woke up one morning to my two beautiful children, a nice hot cup of coffee and the soothing sounds of my husband screaming “FUCK YOU RAIN!!!” at the top of lungs from the basement.  Ahhh…bliss!  
He’s a really hard worker.  One night I happened to comment that it was impossible to set up Carter’s new train tracks so that they looped around twice and met back together.  And wouldn’t you know it; Mike then spent the next THREE HOURS trying to prove me wrong.  Now that’s dedication.  I hope our children inherit his work ethic.
So there you have it, folks, just a short list of some of the reasons why life with Mike is so fun!  Happy Anniversary, honey! 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fun With Anxiety

We recently took Carter to the doctor because we noticed him having strange reactions to new or unknown things.  Our pediatrician said that he has anxiety.  He needs to feel safe and supported and we need to be patient and understanding with him.
Seriously?  Do you even know who you’re talking to?  My mind immediately starts flashing back to all the times I’ve used the fact that he’s afraid of something against him.  Um, yeah, I wrote a whole blog about it (see “Using Fear”). 

You mean all this time he’s really had something up with him and I’ve been exploiting it for my own gain?  The therapy bill just keeps getting bigger and bigger…
But, in my defense, I've only tried to scare him in an effort to keep him safe. 
Like, we may or may not have told him that tigers live in the basement.  It’s dangerous down there!  There are tools and crap lying around everywhere!  Do you expect me to tell him the truth?
“Oh, hey, buddy don’t go down in the basement.  All of Daddy’s tools are down there, power tools and saws and hammers and screwdrivers.  Also all of your outside toys are down there.  You know, the ones that you loooooove playing with that are away for the season.  Oh, and I think Daddy even has some old cool car parts lying around.  So, stay outta there, ok?”
 I’m sure that would work just as well.
Now, I think I need a little clarity on the rules here.  I’m not supposed to scare him into compliance anymore, but if he already has a mistaken belief about something am I obligated to correct it? 
I don’t like him reaching into the sink for obvious reasons so I told him so:
“Carter, don’t reach into the sink.  There are things in there that could hurt you.”                          
“Like whales?”
I mean, I was gonna say knives.  But if you thinking there are whales in there keeps you from playing in the sink then...yeah...whales.  He came up with that on his own so technically I can't be held responsible for that one.  Right?  Right?
I don’t only use outrageous threats to keep him from doing things.  I also use them to GET him to do things.
One time I told him that if he didn’t let me cut his nails he would turn into a werewolf.  I guess this whole anxiety thing is the reason why the next day he frantically told Grant, “You better let Mama cut your nails....I think you're in danger." 

I briefly wondered why he was trying to save his brother.  But then I figured Carter realized if Grant turned into a werewolf then Carter would be stuck living with him.  He probably figured having a warewolf as a brother would suck.  So they would both be screwed…hence the warning.
Sometimes, however, things I thought would scare him don’t really seem to bother him that much.
Once I told him that if he didn’t behave I would send him to live with the Wild Things.  This statement put him deep in thought, and then he looked at me and asked:  “What kind of Wild Things?  What color are they?  What kind of house to they live in?  Are there toys there?”
Wait.  I’m sorry, are you asking these questions because you are considering going and you need to collect more information so you can weigh your options?  Gotta get all the facts before you make a final decision?  Do you need to get back to me on this one?
This is going to take some getting used to.  My signature parenting tools are threats and bribery.  I don’t know how to function as a normal, caring, loving mother.  Stay tuned.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Potty Training: The Sequel

In order to potty train a child you have to be patient.
Now, unless I was sitting in a doctor’s office at the time, no one has ever used that word to describe me.  Ever.
Regardless, around 2 ½  I figured I would give it a go.  I started reading all the literature about this horrific process. The experts say you should wait “until he’s ready”.  He’s supposed to give me signs. 
Ok, is stripping down naked, peeing in the middle of the kitchen and then slipping and falling into the pee puddle a sign of potty training readiness?  No?  Well, guess we’ll wait a little longer then…
Cut to a few months later and I’m SO ANNOYED that he’s still not ready.  Especially since all of his friends seemed to be getting the hang of it.  What the hell!  Screw when HE’S ready, I’M frigging ready!  He’s getting his ass on that potty and he’s not getting off until he does something on it!  THAT’S IT!
Raise your hand if you can figure out how that scenario worked itself out?  After a few epic battles the only results were a lot of crying on my part and a lot of not peeing on his part.
 Then I reread my “how to” book of potty training.  The number one rule?  Don’t force them to sit there until they go.  At this point I’m just wondering if these people have cameras in my house.
So I resigned myself to waiting.  Who wants to clean up accidents anyway?  I’m over it.  I have myself all set to just wait it out; I’ve gone over every logical reason for why this is the best possible solution.  
Number one is that having a diaper on restricts his access to his boy parts.  Seriously, when he’s wearing underwear it’s like he’s afraid to let go of his “ween” (yeah that’s the lovely new word that Daddy taught him.) He has to guard it at all times.  Like someone might steal it or something. 
So yeah, we’re waiting.
Except for the next day at nap time Carter informed me:
“Mama, I don’t want to wear a diaper.”
“Well, you are.  Let’s put it on!”
“NO!  I don’t wanna wear one!  BIG BOY UNDERWEAR!”
As I’m sitting there fighting with him to put on a diaper I’m thinking: “Gee, could this be one of those signs the stupid books keep talking about?”  Probably.  But did I keep trying to sell him on wearing the diaper?  You know it! 
‘Cause, I mean, what if the sign comes at a really inconvenient time?  Nap time?  Come on, Carter!  You WOULD pick a time where if you have an accident it will lead to the most work on my part.   Way to stay true to your mission of making my life as difficult as possible. 
I relented, and, much to my surprise, he stayed dry!  And he did it again the next day…and the next…
OK…WOW!  Yippee!  He’s potty trained right?  I can check that off my list of things to do before he hits puberty? 
Yeah, no.  That’s apparently not how that works.  At least not in my life.  If things work that way in your life then I say, in the most loving way possible, screw you!
Pee we have down.  With the exception of the occasional accidents that happen in totally discreet places…like the middle of the library for example.  Now we just have the other thing to contend with.  For the past few months that has been the struggle of the century.  We’ve bribed him with every conceivable thing.  And a few inconceivable things as well. 
Recently, however, he’s been doing his business on the potty as long as he is alone in there.  His new favorite thing is to run out of the bathroom screaming “POOP SURPRISE!”  He gets so excited about it that he doesn’t even pull up his pants.
And then we all have to jump up and down and scream and shout cause there’s one lone little poop in the toilet.
It should be a fun day at preschool when he runs naked from the bathroom, holding his ween and yelling “POOP SURPRISE!”
And the next day will be just as fun when I open my front door to a few people holding a clip board and yelling “DSS HOME VISIT SURPRISE!”

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


When we bought the furnishings for our house I wish someone had said: “Oh hey, by the way?  Don’t buy nice stuff.  Your future kids will just break it all.”
When you’re newlyweds you don’t think about these things. 
So, you go ahead and register for the Tiffany’s picture frames and the Kate Spade vases.  Take it from me, those vases will get dusty waiting for the flowers that you never have the time or money to buy…but don’t fret…you’ll use the frames.  They can hold the pictures of what your house used to look like before your demon children came along and ruined everything they touched.
All kids break things.  Usually just out of curiosity though. 
I think it goes without saying, however, that breaking things in interesting ways is a specialty of Carter’s.  It’s just Murphy’s Law in action.  How does that go again?  Anything that can go wrong…will be because of Carter?  Something like that.
Did you know that a very inventive way to use egg beaters is to bang them against the woodwork in your parent’s house?  Not only does it make lovely music, but it also leaves THE BEST ding marks.  And YOU thought they were just for beating eggs and hitting your brother over the head with!  No, no, my friend.  You were mistaken!
Carter uses his toys as weapons of mass destruction as well. We were playing with his bowling set one day and he said "Auntie Jen got me this! It was a present and it's so cool!"
It was really cute....until he threw the bowling ball at a window and cracked it. Then it was less cute.
I really hated looking at that crack.  But don’t you worry; I really didn’t have to deal with it for long.  A couple months after the bowling ball incident he threw my video camera through that same window and just shattered it completely.  What a doll, huh? (Oh, and if anyone is looking for something to get me for my birthday…I need a new video camera, too.)
I would have to say by far the most expensive thing he’s broken is the dog.  Ok, all you animal lovers out there, no animals were injured during the making of this blog!  Well, I mean...actually, one was.  ‘Cause that’s the point of the story. 
This is what happened: Carter threw his sippy cup off his tray when he was done with it and it hit our dog smack in the eye.  After $900 worth of vet bills they told us…”Eh…he’ll be blind.  There’s nothing you can do about it.”  Oh, super!
Well, turns out they were wrong.  That dog is just fine, nothing is wrong with his sight.  So Carter didn’t blind his dog after all.  But we still had to pay the damn vet bill so I fully intend to use that story against him some time in the future. 
“Remember the time you blinded your dog because you were misbehaving?  Do you want that to happen again?  CLEAN YOUR ROOM OR THE DOG WILL GO BLIND AGAIN!”
I’ll have to work on how those two things are related, but I’m confident that I can come up with something that will scare him into compliance.
The one positive thing about having kids that break things is that if YOU break something you can blame it on them. 
“No honey, it was Carter who spilled scented oil air freshener all over the woodwork and left a huge stain…that you now have to fix.  Kids, right?”
I’m still trying to find a way to blame Carter for the time I sideswiped a huge truck while attempting to sneak by it and smashed in my side mirror.
Mike, you don’t read my blog right?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Smooth Talker

Know how toddlers say the funniest things because they have no filter yet?  Yeah, that’s only enjoyable up to a certain point. 
Carter needs some help learning how to flatter women.  He needs to know that girls like to be complimented, told they look beautiful, etc. etc.  Eventually someone should tell Carter that saying things like, “Oh Mama!  You’re a hot mess!”  is not gonna be socially acceptable for that much longer. 
Seriously, hanging around this kid is not all that good for my ego. 
One morning the boys and I were sitting around playing with cars.  Carter was handing them out to us, dictating which cars we were allowed to play with.  Clearly. 
First he said “Grant can be the Mini cause he’s little”.  Well that makes sense. 
Then he told me that he would be the Porsche.  He did not offer up an explanation, but based on his rationale for Grant I’m thinking he had a reason for this choice.  In which case, I’m also thinking that I’ll never have to worry about my child having a self-esteem problem.
So following along I said "Can I be the Hot Rod cause I'm hot?"
To which he replied: "No, Mama. You're the Dump Truck."
Wow.  Ok then.  The Dump Truck, huh? Diiiiiidn’t see that coming.  You sure know how to make a girl feel special, Cart. 
I guess that’s how he views me.  But hey, dump trucks are awesome in his world.  So maybe THAT’S why he picked it for me.  And that’s what I tell myself so I can sleep at night.
My new role as Dump Truck could be responsible for this next story. 
Grant hit the page button on the phone and it was going "Beep, beep, beep..".  So Carter looked at me and said "Mama, are you backing up?"
No, really, Carter.  Keep ‘em coming.  I so enjoy these interactions where you compare me to some type of heavy machinery. 
Just yesterday I was sitting on the floor, which apparently was not where Carter wanted me.  My bad.  He alerted me to the fact that I needed to move by saying:
“Mama, can you get up?  Here, I’ll help you”.  He grabbed onto my arm, yanked upwards and then said, “Uh Oh!  I can’t even pick you up at all!”
Did he honestly need to add “at all” to the end of that sentence?
I suppose I have to exercise more.  Carter must suppose this as well because we were sitting eating lunch and he came out with "Mama, you have to do booty exercises."
He then proceeded to get on the floor and demonstrate..."You have to do this, Mama. Like this..."
I hate him.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Step Aside Dr. Spock!

When people think of mothers they think of compassionate, caring women who bake cookies and make you feel all better when you’re sick.  But I didn’t have that mother…so I didn’t become that mother.
I had the mother whose idea of compassion was telling me: “Beauty is painful” as she burned my ears with hot rollers.  And whose idea of caring for our injuries was giving us ice and Advil.  No, seriously.  Your whole leg could have just fallen off your body and she’d try to fix it with ice and Advil.
So I guess I’ve inherited her unique parenting style. 
A large part of my parenting philosophy centers on the age old pearl of wisdom “I told you so”. 
You snuck in the cabinet and ate six cookies and now you don’t feel well?  I told you so.  You ran through that puddle and now you’re bitching cause your pants are all wet?  I told you so. 
It’s especially hard not to gloat when he falls after doing something that I’ve told him five times in a row to stop doing. 
Liiiiike…jumping on the couch for example. 
Jump…”Stop it”…jump…”Stop it”…jump…BANG!  In this particular scenario my first instinct was to yell out: “Good!  I hope it hurt!”  I don’t imagine this is a normal motherly reaction. 
The other thing I like to let Carter do is say inappropriate things because they’re funny. 
It was the week of the big Pats/Jets playoff game and when I came home from work one night my husband said "Um, so, your sister taught Carter how to say 'The Jets are poop' when she was babysitting today.  He’s been saying it on and off for the better part of an hour."
I looked at him in surprise and said "OH MY GOD....That's awesome!!"
My husband occasionally works from home.  One day he had called into a meeting.  He had his very serious business voice on and was using important industry terms and such. The whole time Carter was in the background chanting "Pooping on the potty...yeah, yeah ,yeah!" And I didn't stop him.  Cause it was funny.  I’m actually laughing about it right now…
He’ll say these things at preschool one day.  Then it will be significantly less funny.
I really, really hope he doesn’t ever repeat anything that I say to his friends, teachers, social workers…
I mean, we’ll probably be ok.  We all know how I always watch my mouth around my children, how I never yell and always treat others with respect and…No, really, I can’t even finish that sentence.  It’s too ridiculous.
I don’t know WHERE he picked up the phrase “Oh fuck!” but don’t be surprised if you drop something and he yells that out.  Cause, yeah, it’s happened.  Nice, Danielle.  Real nice. 
But sometimes the things he says that he’s gotten from me are funny in a sort of appropriate way (No, really!)
Whenever we see rude behavior I try to use it to teach him a lesson. “Now see Carter, that lady bumped right into us and didn’t even say excuse me!  Oh, what’s that, Mam?  You can hear me?  Weird.”
We were leaving the doctor’s office one day and the man in front of us didn’t hold open the door.  So Carter screamed right behind him “HEY!  He didn’t hold the door for us!  That was mean!” 
See, he speaks the truth!
But then there are always the other things he’s heard me say…like when he pointed to my margarita and said "Can I have that too?" And I told him, "Sorry hunny! This isn't for's because of you."
Unfortunately, I also speak the truth.

Friday, April 1, 2011

All By Myself!

Carter is officially in the I'm-a-big-boy-I-can-do-it-myself phase.

Now, I probably should be feeling proud because I'm raising a capable, independent child. Or at least nostalgic because my little boy is growing up. But mostly I'm just feeling extremely annoyed.

There really aren't enough hours in the day as it is. With this new development our chances of arriving anywhere on time have gone from slim to completely impossible.

Getting him dressed is the biggest pain in the ass. Well, I take that back, not every aspect is terrible. You want to put your own pants on? Fine. I'll ignore the fact that one butt cheek is hanging out and praise your efforts. You put your arm through the head hole of your shirt? Ok by me, easy fix. But sock? SOCKS?? I HATE SOCKS!

Watching him try to put on his own socks is excruciating. Watching anyone try to do something that you know you can do better is torture, pure and simple.

He can't grasp the concept that ALL of his toes must be in the sock before he tries to pull it up. And even if he could, he can't hold the sock open long enough for this to occur. Most times he'll get the big toe in and yank. Or he'll get all toes in, aaaaaalmost get it on and then lose it at the heel. It's like watching someone trying to build a house of cards.

"Nice and steady. Easy now. One last got it....AW MAN!"

And of course I have no patience for teaching him.

When I first got pregnant a good friend of mine said "Well, you know some day you'll have to teach him how to do things, like, tie his shoes." At the time I thought, geez, is that really a reason not to have kids? But now? I mean, I consider it a definite deterrent.

Velcro city until he's 21.

"Here, Carter. Here's some money....go buy a six pack and some lace up shoes. You've earned it, son. You're getting so grown up!"

Walking down any set of stairs is a real treat as well.

I'll try to get him down as many as I can without him noticing that I'm helping. But eventually he'll drop the "I want to do it all by MYSELF!" So off he'll go.

Hey, Carter? I hope you celebrated your birthday on the fourth or fifth step down cause I'm pretty sure it took you so long to descend the staircase that you're now three. I know I feel older.

Puzzles are also bad. "Can't you just turn that piece a quarter inch to the right? Stop trying to just jam things in where they don't fit! What are you, two???"

Good to know that you are capable of doing things by yourself. You proved that. Do you really have to prove it over and over?

I think teaching these skills is going to be a Daddy job.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


What's with Lent?

You're supposed to sacrifice because Jesus got tortured, nailed to a cross and suffered for days.

Yeah, that's equivalent to you giving up a cheeseburger once a week. Same thing.

And why do kids get to make out like bandits during this whole thing?

"Um, kids? In order to practice our religion and teach you the ways of the Lord, we have to FORCE you to eat pizza once a week for a month. Sorry 'bout that. Rules are rules!"

Don't get me wrong, I'm Catholic. But I belong to a special branch of the Catholic Church called "C&E Catholics"...which stands for Christmas and Easter...which are the times I go to mass. Basically I observe the holidays where you get something in return. No one has ever given me anything for All Saints Day.

Then there is the question of what to give up for Lent. I already go to the gym, I don't smoke, we don't go out to eat a lot....

I would give up coffee, chocolate or alcohol...but then I'd also have to give up all human contact cause I'd be f'ing miserable to be around.

I tried to give up Carter, but it's supposed to be something that would be a hardship to go without. So there goes that.

I'm going to hell. But we already knew that.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Food Fight

Wouldn't it be nice and tidy if you could just say to a baby "This is how we eat. With a utensil, not with our hands. You don't need to throw the food in order for it to be delicious. You don't really even need to rub it all over your cheeks before you get it in your mouth. You can just eat...oh...and then here's a wet nap. Clean yourself up."

And the kid would take it all in and then apply his new knowledge during meals. The world, and my kitchen especially, would be a better place to live!

I don't really do mess all that well, which is why I sometimes avoid feeding my kids certain foods. My fear of the unclean became a nightmare around the time the doctor insisted I start to let Carter feed himself.

Are you kidding me?

In his chunky little hand a spoon will become a weapon of mass destruction. He insited that if I didn't let him try then I would end up having to spoon feed my 18 year old some day. And did I want that?

Um, can I think I about it for a minute? I need to make a list of pros and cons...

The first time I let him self-feed I literally sat next to him with a roll of paper towels. I wiped his mouth, and then his hands when he stuck those in there, in between bites. It was awful and I hated it.

I eventually lightened up and he got better at I started giving him a spoon for each hand so he didn't have a spare hand to stick in the yogurt bowl. Pretty genius if you ask me.

Now my biggest food issue with him involves peanut butter. I hate it. He loves it. Naturally he would gravitate towards foods that annoy me, it is Carter after all.

The sandwich itself isn't the problem..its the fact that he MUST open up the bread and actually TOUCH the peanut butter inside. Guess how I feel about that?

He then leaves his gross little fingerprints everywhere. I found out early that the baby didn't have a nut allergy. I knew this because he had no reaction the day I found a peanut butter handprint across his face...

And then there's the hair. What is it about certain foods that makes kids want to rub it on their head? Does anyone else's kid do this? If not, don't tell me. Let me enjoy the illusion that my children are normal for a little while longer.

After going through the self-feeding stage with Carter, I had a few tricks up my sleeve for Grant.

The first time Grant had watermelon I stripped him down to his diaper, placed him in his Bumbo chair and put that chair right into the sink. He ate his gross, drippy fruit with the juice running everywhere and he loved it. Then when he was done, I simply took out the sprayer attached to the sink and hosed him down. It was like a mini car wash.

If Carter could still fit in the sink that would solve a lot of my problems.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Is it spring yet?

This winter has been unbearable.

It's unnatural to live without sunlight or warmth for this long. I would go indoor tanning but I don't want skin cancer. Well, actually, I supposed worrying about skin cancer might be better than worrying about being arrested because I attacked the cheerful cashier at Starbucks who told me to have a nice day. (Cause what the hell is she so chipper for anyway? She must be some sort of alien life form.)

I know that everyone feels this way. Everyone is miserable and has been stuck inside for too long. But just think, it could be worse. You could have been stuck inside with Carter. Consider yourselves lucky.

Every normal kid gets cabin fever if they are in one place for too long. They tend to go stir crazy. But Carter doesn't get stir crazy...he gets creative.

For example, one morning I noticed that the upstairs toilet wasn't flushing correctly. I mentioned this to my husband and watched his face grow concerned. Turns out Carter had just walked up to him and exclaimed "Daddy, we don't flush Eeyore down the potty."

We still haven't found Eeyore...

He has exhausted every normal use for his toys and is now forced to find unconventional ways play with them.  It's kind of resourceful actually.  He invented a game where he puts plastic food in his mouth and sees how far he can spit them across the room.  One day he set up a bucket for himself as a target.  I guess he needed more of a challenge. 

He's also become a climber.

He tears down the gate and climbs the stairs...where he immediately goes to work finding an activity that he thinks will annoy me. Some days he'll throw everything we own into his brother's crib. Toys, clothes, games, chairs (yes I said chairs)...really, whatever he can get his mitts on. Grant doesn't have to be in there in order to make this game fun, but if that's the case then it's an added bonus.

One day he climbed into the excersaucer and couldn't get out. He was crying, telling me that he was stuck and asking me to help him. So I did. Oh, but not before I left him in there for a few minutes as a lesson. And I videotaped it...and posted it on facebook...

Some day we'll all laugh about our therapist's office.

To pass the time, we've been reading a lot of books. We have one called "No David!" which is basically a story about all the fresh things this little boy does. Complete with pictures.  I absolutely hate this book.

It probably gives most kids a sense of what is considered bad behavior. But I think it just gives Carter ideas..."Rip off all my clothes and go running around outside? How could I have never thought of that before! Number one on my 'To Do' list...."

I'm going to sacrifice the first person I hear complain about the heat this summer.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


This past weekend we went skiing. We went with a few other families and between us we had seven kids, including three two year olds. I don't know what made us think this would be a good idea.

In preparation for the day, I tried to psych Carter up by telling him how much fun he was going to have!  He walked around that whole week telling everyone "We going skiing on Saturday!" It was so cute that a crucial fact totally escaped my had NO IDEA what skiing was.

So in an effort to educate him on what he would actually be doing, I looked up videos of people skiing. I just typed 'skiing' into YouTube and clicked on the first video that came up.

Carter and I watched as a man made his way down a mountain. He looked interested and I was thinking what a smart mom I was to have thought of this!

Then all of a sudden the man hits some sort of bump, goes flying up in the air, crashes to the ground and slides the rest of the way down on his ass surrounded by his equipment. He's screaming and cursing the entire time.

Carter turned around and said "Mama...I DON'T want to go skiing."

Oh nice, nice job Danielle.

This was kind of like the time when I saw flashing lights outside our house and took Carter out to see the police car...only to find out it was animal control picking up road kill. And I gave my son a front row seat. Now I had probably scarred him for life as far as skiing was concerned.

I eventually found a video of kids skiing and having fun and got him back on board.

On the day of the trip the back of our car looked like we were going away for twelve weeks...when in fact it was going to be more like 6 hours. The jackets alone took up half the room. Plus, I had to pack like five extra outfits because Carter has this thing about his clothes being wet. So yeah, skiing is probably the thing to do with a child like that, right?

Unloading at the mountain took four people three trips each. We had already killed like half an hour and Carter hadn't even SEEN a pair of skis yet.

Between figuring out what to do with Grant, putting the kid's clothes on, getting rentals, getting ourselves dressed and trying to walk with two year olds wearing ski boots...I'd say we were at the mountain for almost two hours before any actual skiing occurred.

After all that, the kids went down this little hill for about 20 minutes before they decided they had had enough. I was standing in line for the chair lift when I heard a familiar screech echoing across the slopes.

And sure enough, there was my son screaming and laying in a pile at the bottom of the hill. He had managed to kick off not only his skis, but also one of his boots. At which point he had a meltdown because his sock was wet. God help us.

Poor Mike was trying to control Carter while wearing his own skis. It looked pretty difficult.

The man behind us in line actually said "That poor kid! That's no way to teach a lesson." I really wanted to turn around and say "Hey! Then you go teach him if you can do it so much better!" But instead I just agreed with him and got on the chairlift...

Afterwards, I tried to explain to Mike how I would have gone to help him but I was stuck in line.

He said "Yeah, Danielle, that rope that was holding you in would have been pretty tough to break through..."

I'm so glad he sees things my way.

Monday, January 24, 2011

To Train or Not to Train

I don't want to.

I really, really don't want to potty train Carter. It's not that I mind him using the toilet...I'm not trying to keep him little or's that I don't want to have to be the one to go through the process with him.

I just can't figure out how to sell this idea.

So, imagine you're two and you're playing with some awesome, totally cool toy. And instead of doing your stuff right there and continuing on your merry way, you now have to put down the big shiny fire truck and go to the potty. In reality, I often hold it as long as I can because I'm in the middle of something and don't want to be bothered. It's such a hassle! So maybe I'm not the best role model in this situation.

The problem is that diapers are too absorbent. They spend all this time making new and improved diapers which leads to kids being able to comfortably sit in their own urine for much longer. What I really need is the least absorbent diaper ever. I want him to suffer as he sits there so he has some incentive to want to pee elsewhere.

This week we had to switch Carter over to size 6 diapers. He's a big kid for his age so it makes sense. My worry, however, is this: I've never seen a size 7 diaper.

That's apparently the deadline for potty training. The manufacturers have sent us a message..."If your child is still in diapers at 40 lbs then you have failed as a parent and we no longer want your business. Thank you."

So I guess I'll be changing Carter's adult diapers pretty soon.

I like it when I read expert quotes saying things like "Don't feel guilty bribing your children when it comes to potty training." HA! This is no comfort to me. I don't feel guilty bribing my children when it comes to pretty much anything.

We use M&M's as bait, but even those don't do the trick. One day he caught me sneaking a few...

"Mama, did you use the potty?" Yes, I replied, I had in fact used the potty. "Good job, Mama! You're a big girl!"

I asked him if he wanted to be a big boy and get M&M's too!

"No, I do not."

Well, that settles that.

The other method I've read about is the so-called "Cold Turkey" method. This is just what it sounds like. You take them away all together, accidents be damned.

Have you ever seen, say, a smoker kick the habit in this way? They aren't pleasant to be around. Carter is already not pleasant to be around a lot of the time...

Since I'm avoiding it at all costs I look for every excuse to delay the process. I recently read an article that said something about not starting until after 27 months because that's the optimal age, etc. etc. etc. I excitedly shared this news with my husband! We have more time!

Then Mike pointed out the fact that Carter is well past 27 months old.

Oh yeah.

So two things I learned:

1. I have less time than I thought and 2. I don't know how old my own kid is.

Bummer on both counts.

To be continued....

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth

When I hear Grant scream I usually assume it's because of something Carter did. I'm right 95% of the time. But there's always the other 5%.

Obviously I want to punish Carter when he does something to his brother. The problem, however, is that I don't always witness the incident. And occasionally Grant is just having a temper tantrum and screaming through no fault of Carter. So how can I tell the difference?

Easy. I just ask Carter.

"Carter, why is Grant crying?"

"Did I push him?"....and there we have it (sometimes he answers questions in the form of a question. I have to stop letting him watch Jeopardy.)

So, yeah, he totally confesses to whatever he did. All the time! I don't think it occurs to him to lie. Amazing, right? The doctor keeps telling me how smart he is, but this may prove him wrong.

As a mother, I really like this honest streak in him.

However, I have a little sister. And I want to tell him that he's giving all older siblings a bad name when he can't even cover up a little shove. Also, as an attorney, I feel obligated to point out the obvious. Hello! You're mother didn't SEE what happened. And your brother CAN'T TALK! She can't prove anything. Deny, deny, deny!

This little habit of his is useful in many ways. It lets me know when I should come running and when I can continue doing what I'm doing.

The other day I was in the shower and heard a loud bang. So I yelled to Carter and asked him what it was. "A firetruck, Mama", was the response. Nice. That can wait.

When he goes in time out he always knows just what he is in there for, and he'll tell you in detail.

"Why are you in time out?"

"Because I climbed the chair and threw a dump truck." Oh really? I missed the whole chair climbing thing, I just saw the dump truck go flying. OK then, good to know.

This morning he threw a fake hot dog across the room and it hit Grant. After his time out (which I still say does nothing, by the way) I asked him what he was in there for.

"Because I throw a hot dog at Mama."

"No. Who did you throw the hot dog at?"

"I throw a hot dog at Mama."

At this point I realize...OH MY GOD...he meant to hit ME! And he's TELLING me this! What a little shit! His real crime is just bad aim.

I hope he doesn't grow out of this soon, it's a very useful parenting tool.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Godfather

I'm fairly certain that Carter is the head of his own Stuffed Animal Mafia. He runs it out of his room, his bed is where he conducts his business. Don't cross him, cause when you're out, you're out.

He started his gang with just a few guys. He called them "The Boys". I'm not joking. At first there was Tigger, Wags, and a few other no name creatures that took up some space at the end of the bed.

When he was tired he'd tell me "Wanna go see The Boys". And when we got up there he'd crawl in and gather them all up saying "C'mere Boys". He wanted to keep them close...probably to keep an eye on them at all times. This kid does NOT mess around.

I would picture him up there going "Yo...yo Tigger. You my BOY Tigger! If Piglet or anyone starts messing wit you, I'll take care of it...I got yo back, man!"

But soon his bedroom crew turned more mobster than gang banger.

As he grew in power, he added more members to his "family". Tigger, Little Tigger, Big Wags, Little Wags, Blue Puppy, Frankie the Fish, Tommy the Thumb, Mickey Blue Eyes....OK, maybe not those last few, but seriously, if he starts naming his stuffed animals like that we got a problem...

Every once in a while someone will get kicked gotta keep everyone on their toes to keep them loyal, right?

This stuffed penguin from a trip to the Aquarium used to have a spot at the foot of the crib. One day I found that guy in the toy box downstairs. Not sure what he did, but it wasn't good.

It's crazy, but now I get sad when I see that one of the original members has gotten the boot.

"Big Wags" has been up there forever. But the other night when I went to put him in the bed Carter said "No, Mama. No Big Wags." So I had to put him on the floor...I almost cried.

Mike and I actually had a conversation about what "Big Wags" could possibly have done to deserve this treatment. Was he seen fraternizing with the downstairs toys? Did he mess up that hit on Grant's Brown Puppy? If Carter starts making them kiss his Bink before they can get into the bed then I'll be really concerned.

We still don't know what the criteria is for maintaining your place in the group. But I'll tell ya this, if you manage to piss off Don Carter'll be sleeping with the dust bunnies for sure!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Did you just hit me?

Carter just hit me for the first time.

Actually, let me clarify. Carter just hit me for the first time with malice aforethought (see mom, I just used my law degree!)

When he's hit me in the past it's always been in the "I'm two and I'm mad and I don't know how to express this" kind of way. The temper tantrum gone awry scenario.

This was different. This was intentional. This was the "I'm two and I'm mad and I know EXACTLY what I'm doing" kind of way. The deliberate action scenario.

This is what happened: Grant was playing with a balloon (his birthday balloon to be exact) and Carter decided that was actually something he should be playing with instead. He grabbed it away. I took it back and told him it was Grant's turn and Carter could have it in a minute (please remember this is Grant's balloon and now he has to stand in line to play with it...second child.)

I turned my back to Carter and gave Grant the balloon...that's when it hit. The slap heard round the kitchen.

The worst part about it was that it wasn't an immediate reaction. He paused, therefore he thought about it...premeditation. (God, I should be billing these hours huh?) First degree smack-a-cide. A crime punishable by a time out. But not just any time out...solitary. He got locked in his room.

Now, my first thought was "Great. He's gonna run around hitting people now. My kid's a psychopath." Probably a normal mother reaction. But my second though was "He waited until my back was turned. He sucker punched kid's a wuss!" That's a more me reaction.

I guess we'll have to wait and see which one he is. I'm relatively sure that he can't turn out to be both. I don't many wussy psychopaths.

Of course there is the third option of he's two and he's testing his limits...but that would be the rational way to think about the situation. And I don't think I've ever been accused of possessing that trait...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Playgroup vs. Singles Bar

The new session of classes is starting shorty, so naturally its time to write a blog entry about the ridiculous and complicated world of "Mommy Friendships".

See, you have to have different levels of friends.

You have your Friends - the ones who knew you before you had kids, the ones who know that you rock at drunk Pictionary and can't handle your Scorpion Bowls!

Then you have your Couple Friends - the ones you grab a quick bite to eat with every once in a while when you can get a sitter.

But then you have your Mommy Friends - these are the people you meet at playgroups, the ones who are also around on a Wednesday morning and know all the words to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song.

I am lucky enough to have had several friends who had kids at the same time as me, so I don't really need to put myself out there on the "Mommy Market" too much...thank God, cause its a really harsh place. You want people to like your kid, and often its the moms that have to make the first move...these two-year-olds aren't driving themselves to playdates, after all.

In fact, I find more and more that these classes are kind of like the singles bars of the parenthood world...

First of all you need to make sure you are dressed correctly. People judge you. (I know this because I am one of the most judgemental people that I know.) You don't want to be overdressed, cause then it will look like you are trying to hard...but you don't want to be under dressed cause then you aren't trying at all. You need to be just dressed enough so that you tried, but it doesn't look like you did.

Are you following me so far?

OK, once you've got the outfit down you have to come up a way to make a connection with the other parent:

She looked at me. Should I talk to her? Well I'll just give her a little smile first. Maybe she was looking at the mom behind me. No,'s me. I'm so nervous, do I make the first move here?

Usually you end up using the same old lame pick up line, but instead of "So...come here often?" its " old is your son?"

This is your opening line. Now you just have to wait and see what kind of response you get.

If you get a drink thrown in your face..well...then you're probably at the wrong type of playgroup.

If you get a short response with no follow up question about the age of your darling little one, then she probably was looking at the mom behind you after all. Cut your loses and move on...after all there's a cute stay at home Dad over by the baby slide who looks promising...

However, if you get a response, a follow up questions AND a continued dialogue..then YOU, my friend, have hit the jackpot! This may be your Mommy Soul Mate!

But don't get excited and move too fast! You can't invite them over for a play date that afternoon, for example. Then you'll just seem desperate. You need to leave them wanting more...

I know all of this because I am lucky enough to have found my Mommy Soul Mate this way...and I got her digits after only, like, three classes! Beat that!