Oh what a night

I thought the event of the evening was ramming my foot into the door frame, leaving me laying on the couch all night.

I was wrong.

Instead of going outside to play ball – which was why I was changing my pants, which lead to walking out of the bedroom door and into the door frame… we stayed on the couch and started a game of Scrabble. But then my 4-year-old wanted to play. Slight problem, considering he doesn’t know how to read. I explained that the game was arranging letters into words. He thought about it for a second, then said, “Oh – you mean like ‘kill’?” Okay, that’s disturbing when that’s the first word he comes up with!

Finally… after the kids were in bed for the night, my husband and I were watching a movie. A couple of hours go by and my 8-year-old stumbles out of his room and into the hallway bleary eyed, holding his crotch and walks into his sister’s room and shuts the door. Red flag. GIANT red flag. I hobble up – as quickly as I can on my lame foot – and rush into my daughter’s room. He is leaning against the wall – in front of a cabinet he has opened – and is peeing. EVERYWHERE. Totally sleep walking, he thinks he’s in the bathroom. Trying to get a sleep walking child to stop treating his sister’s art cabinet like a urinal is difficult, to say the least. Did I mention there was pee – EVERYWHERE?

We were able to get him into the bathroom for the last few drops. We changed him into new clothes and put him into bed. He doesn’t remember a thing. My 12-year-old daughter, on the other hand, remembers all of it: waking to the lights being turned on and the ushering of her brother to the bathroom, the sopping up of the floor with a towel and the throwing away of all her drenched-in-pee art supplies. She was less than thrilled, but surprising okay about it all.

So – how was your night?

Late for Work: Kids versus no Kids

Remember those days before you had kids, when you’d show up late for work? Some days, you’d stroll in, bloodshot eyes, hair smelling vaguely of cigarette smoke and dirty bar. The smell of coffee walked the line between the scent of salvation and the rank of what might lead you to expose last night’s menu in your cubicle trash can. Other days, you were late solely because you were changing outfits 40 times, or putting the final touch on your hair or makeup. Or, and most likely, because you hit the snooze button a few too many times.

Flash forward – you have kids now. Yes, you still have an inappropriate relationship with your alarm clock. And the smell of coffee remains – your only hope for the long day ahead. When you show up late for work, your eyes may still be bloodshot, but your hair likely smells like spit up, or the urine that splashed upon you as you attempted to change your preschooler’s wet sheets, while not waking his big brother in the top bunk.

Indeed, I was late for work this morning because my four-year old had peed his bed in the middle of the night and I was there, changing his sheets at 6am. If it was just this, I could have made it in time. But, no. Despite the fact that I did laundry ALL weekend and last night, this same child had NO underwear. I’m not kidding. I went through his entire underwear drawer. Nada. Where does the underwear go? My first grader just had the same issue with pants. We did laundry and yet – nothing. Are the children wearing multiple pairs of pants and underwear out of the house and depositing them across the city? Or, are there evil laundry trolls sneaking into my house in the middle of the night and stealing all the clean laundry? Again – another no-kids versus kids problem. When you don’t have kids, chances are you’re not searching for size 4 Batman underwear to save the day. But, I digress.

When you stroll in, late for work as a single person, you’re sometimes met with smirks and the, “mmm hmmm” kind of look. When you stroll in, late for work as a mom, those looks and comments change to, “Oh, I remember once when my son… (insert parenting horror story here.)” That is, if your coworkers are parents. If not, see the prior reaction for single people being late.

Either way, there’s grace in knowing that some day – years from now – my kids will be late to work, thanks to their kids. That is, after their years of outfit changes and alarm clock issues. (Okay, fine. The alarm clock issue never does go away.) Until then, there’s always coffee.

Another Visit to Vomit Town

As I write this, my poor little seven year old boy lies next to me on the couch. (Crap. Is it lays, lies, lay? Man, I know we went over this in high school English. Ugh.) He is moaning in his sleep, flush faced and trying desperately to sleep off a 102.6 fever. Poor thing. At least he finally ate something. And kept it down.

Last night, he refused to eat dinner. This morning, he refused breakfast. While the rest of us ate our bowls of oatmeal, he threw up in the kitchen trash can. I could hear my daughter dry heaving a room away. Nothing like that lovely sound. But, here’s the thing – I think I’ve lost my other-people-vomiting gag reflex. For two weeks straight now, I’ve cleaned up some sort of mess off the couch or out of the carpet. And yet, no gagging. Odd. I even watched the dog barf the other day. Nothing. (By the way – if you pour white vinegar over the stain, sprinkle it with baking soda and leave it a few days to dry, the stain will vacuum right up.)

This lack of other-people-vomiting gag reflex leads me to believe I am either one of two things: A really bizarre Superhero or a mother. Yep. Well, you caught me. I’m not wearing a cape. In fact, I’m wearing an oversized sweater that my son said looked like a weird dress. That must make me a mom. The cleaner upper, make-me-better, hold my hand, put a cool rag on my head, bring me water mom.

After two weeks in Vomit Town, I may be no super hero, but I’m pretty sure I might soon be named mayor.

Here’s hoping you steer clear of this stomach bug. Believe me, you don’t want to run against me for this job.

The Old Parent Teacher Conference

It’s that time of year again. It’s cold. Kids are getting out their snow pants (yes, if you live here in Alaska, you know they are) and deciding on their Halloween costumes. Parents are shuffling their schedules to attend parent teacher conferences.

We had both kids’ conferences yesterday. My ten-year-old daughter’s conference was first. She played outside with her brothers while we (her dad, step-dad and myself) heard from her teacher. Up until now, these conferences have always left us worried for our girl. She is eager to please, a delight in class, but struggles with reading. She’s had some extra help these last couple of years and the school she goes to is just awesome with doing everything they can to make sure she excels. All that hard work really paid off! Our fourth grader had her best ever report card this year! The teacher gave us samples of her work and it was just great to hear her teacher compliment her on her writing. They say fourth grade is a really crucial year for kids. I’m praying she’ll keep working as hard as she has this first quarter.

When we went to our first grade son’s classroom, he and his little brother followed us in. Our two-year old had rosy cheeks and a little Rudolph nose going. He was done playing outside, so we let him stay in the class, while we sent out seven-year old out to play. Our first grader also had a great report. His teacher had a rather interesting insight I had to share with you moms of boys. Apparently, when your precious sons are looking into your eyes when you’re talking to them – THEY ARE NOT LISTENING. She said she read a book about the differences between little boys and girls. When girls listen, they make eye contact. When boys are really listening, they are often busy doing something else – playing with something on their desks, etc. His teacher had sent a note home a while back asking if she could give our son gum in class. Odd, I thought, but I agreed – thinking it was for motivation. Turns out, having boys chew a piece of gum is often enough to distract them into truly listening and learning. Who knew?

While we were listening to our son’s teacher, I held my two-year old in my lap. He is very much into the not-listening, even if I gave him gum, phase. He was sitting there – trying to chat it up with me. I kept telling him he needed to be quiet and play with his tractor. He was quiet… for a minute. Then, out of the blue, while our older son’s first grade teacher was talking about what we could be doing at home with him, my toddler made a sound – a sound most parents would describe simply as, “A blow out.” Now – having heard, and felt, this occurring on my lap, I was concerned – mostly, because our two-year old is potty trained and no longer in diapers. Much like when encountering a bear in the woods, I chose the tactic of staying completely still. The sound continued. I, in embarrassment and fear, began to giggle. My husband, ex-husband and son’s teacher all looked at me. Apparently, they hadn’t heard the sound. I said, “he totally ripped one!” To which my toddler – in the way only a two-year old can – mimicked, “I ripped one!” I know you’re not supposed to draw attention to it… but I couldn’t stop myself if I tried. I laughed until I cried. The odd thing? His teacher looked completely unfazed. There must have been a chapter on that in her book.

How’d your conferences go?

My Spidey Sense is Tingling

On Sunday night my mother returned from a trip Outside to see my brother. She returned, as always, with gifts for my kids. They were very excited to see what kind of fun toy she was going to give them. She obliged with a magnifying glass, wind-up car and fake Rapunzel-like hair extensions. They loved it. She also brought back a practical item. One that’s much cheaper in the lower 48 – underwear.

My youngest was very excited about this. He’s two and a half and although he has some underwear already, he wasn’t that thrilled with the prospect of peeing on the potty. Until now. His previous outlook on potty training changed when my mother handed over a pack of spider man underwear. He clutched the package, admiring the designs. He was not letting go. I insisted we wash them first. (Call me crazy, but all the chemicals they put on new clothes just creeps me out.)

On Monday morning, I held up a freshly washed pair of spider man underwear and asked if he wanted to wear them. Of course, he said yes. But, aha, there was a catch. I told him he couldn’t wear them until he went pee on the potty first. He walked in, sat down and went. Now parents, we all know the excitement of the inaugural pee on the potty. There is dancing, clapping and much rejoicing. After telling him a million times how proud I was, we put on his new underwear. He pranced around in them, very excited to have accomplished such a feat. Not two minutes later, he walked up to me and said, “I peed.” Sure enough, spidey was all wet.

And now begins the days of constant (yes, even more constant than it already is) laundry. Still, very excited for my little man.

Any potty training tips? This is my third child I’ve potty trained, but you know how it is. They’re all very different!

 

Water Park Apologies

From the title of this post, I’m sure you’ve gathered that we recently visited the local water park. For those of you non-Alaskans, the water park is an indoor event here. And because there’s really only one, it’s rather busy.

My husband and I took the three kids to the water park late Saturday afternoon. As you can imagine, the kids were a bit excited over this. Their uncle sent them tickets for Christmas. I’d been holding off on using them since a friend of mine mentioned there had been a roach problem and I don’t dig roaches. At. All. (By the way, no roaches this time.)

My 10-year-old daughter went for the big slides, immediately. She’d overcome her fear of the slide the last time I took her and she was eager to do it again. My six-year-old son was not so convinced. He was insistent I tell him how fast the slides were. The conversation went something like this:

“How fast does the slide go?” he asked.

“I’m not sure, not that fast,” I answered.

“Oh, it goes really fast,” interjected my daughter in that sibling-rivalry way, only meant to induce terror.

How fast does it go?” he asked again, with a bit of annoyance in his tone.

“What do you mean? Like, miles per hour?” I asked in clarification.

“Yes,” he answered.

Since I had no accurate response to that question, he was not willing to give it a shot.

My two-year old, in the meantime, was fascinated and overjoyed to hang out on the toddler pirate ship. At first, he didn’t want to go up. He was content to play in the wading pool. But, my husband took him to the top of the slide and, after a bit of apprehension, he slid down. He’d probably still be sliding down today, if I let him. He stayed on the slides pretty much the whole time.

At one point, he climbed as far as he could get away from me, to the highest part of the pirate ship he could reach and turned his back, facing only the safety netting. Now, at this point moms and dads, you should recognize the warning signs: something was up. I said his name. No response. I said his name again. Nothing. I said his name a third time and asked what he was doing. He turned around. He was making “the face.” What face? Don’t be coy. You know what face. “The face.” The “I am currently in the process of making you a stinky gift in my diaper” face.

Now let me remind you of our current setting: water park. Pirate ship. Midday. He’s wearing a swimming diaper (thank you Lord!) and swimming trunks. I finally coax him out of the corner and off the pirate ship. We make it to the changing room. I pull down his swim trunks.

If you have a weak stomach… you might want to stop reading. I’ll tell you when it’s safe to read again.

 

Okay, you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

 

I pulled down his swim trunks and a gush of discolored water came pouring out onto the cement floor of the family bathroom. I knew this would be a problem. I had another swimming diaper, but the wipes were in the car. I wet some paper towels. I walked back over to him to analyze the situation. I walked back and wet more towels. Very carefully, I began to tear the swimming diaper off him. It was everywhere. Everywhere. And it was very, very wet. I’m a mother of three and I gagged. After much ado, (I’ll save you from the really nasty details) I had him changed, the floor wiped up and my hands washed. Repeatedly.

 

It is now safe to read again, weak-stomached people.

We walked back out and found my husband and the other two kids. By this time, my six-year-old had started asking a lot of questions about the slide. His sister had taken him up. He chickened out. His step-dad took him up. He chickened out. I asked if he wanted to try again. We went, clamoring up the flights of stairs, inter-tube in hand. We reached the top. We got in, ready to ride. We were off. Despite the fact I’d gone down the ride several times with my daughter, I still found myself screaming as we made the initial plunge. My son, however, was completely silent. We reached the bottom, I worried that he was scared. I was wrong. “THAT. WAS. AWESOME!” He screamed. “Let’s do it again!!!”

After several more slides – the big slide for the big kids and the pirate slide for the toddler – it was time to go. They were none-too-pleased. We convinced them we will take them again sometime soon, which my son interpreted as, “We will take you once a week for the rest of your life.”

Overall, it was an awesome trip. Tons of fun. My apologies to anyone who encountered the poo-pool. Though, it’s not the first time a child has let loose in the water, nor will it be the last.

Tell me your favorite stories of the water park!

Mommy Do It!

I read a quote once, “Never do for a child what he is capable of doing for himself.” It really struck a chord with me, and I’ve tried to help my children by making them help themselves. It’s hard sometimes, because often it’s so much easier to do it for them!

Who hasn’t heard the words, “I do it!” or “Me do it!” out of the mouths of a toddler? They get to that age where independence is what they strive for, whether it’s a simple task of shutting off the light or something that requires more dexterity, like cutting meat with a knife. It doesn’t really matter what it is, if you’re doing it, they want to do it instead.

Enter potty training. My youngest is very much in the “Me do it!” stage. He’s contemptuous when I attempt to do anything for him that he’d rather do himself. Notice that last little caveat I added? If it’s a task he’d rather not do, he’s more than happy to let me take the reins. Say, for instance, going potty in the toilet. Don’t get me wrong, he, like my other two children, would just love to see every toilet on the face of the planet. This does not mean, however, that he plans to use it. He knows just enough about potty training to act all excited when he sees/hears about/senses a potty might be in his presence. But, once we get there, get the pants pulled down, the diaper off and seated upon the throne, out come the inevitable words of, “All done!”” despite the fact that nothing actually transpired.

Since he’s not particularly willing to actually make the business on the toilet and since our pediatrician told us two children ago not to bother forcing them to do it, that they’d come to the concept all on their own, when they were darn well ready, I have not pressed the issue. But, this means, as you would imagine, I have changed a lot of diapers in my day. A LOT of diapers.

The other day, we started talking to him about this whole thing – the passive resistance to potty training. He said during a recent diaper change the words that pretty much sum it all up, as an explanation, if you will, as to why he had no interest in going on the potty, why he’d rather stay in diapers than take a seat and go for it: “Mommy do it!” As in, “I have this one lady who takes care of these things for me. Don’t you worry, she’ll have me changed and this poop off my butt in no time. ”

“Never do for your child what he is capable of doing for himself.” Hmm. They were really on to something…

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