Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Bean Months 9 & 10

Dear Millie,
I can't believe that you're 10 months old.  I can't believe I didn't write your 9 month update. I can't believe that you don't seem to care all that much that your mother is a complete and total slacker. Yet, anyway.  I'm sure the day will come.  I gotta get my act together, don't I?  Cuz today you're 10 months, tomorrow you're 19 and taking the world by storm.  Not that you're not already doing that but...  Yowza!  Time is flying by!

You have grown in leaps and bounds in the last two months.  So much so that I'm worried I won't be appropriately capture the enormity of the changes that have taken place with you lately with mere words.

First... let's have a round of applause to the Mommy who didn't document when her baby finally graduated from an army-man crawl to a full-fledged LOOKOUTHERESHECOMES! crawl.  That's right... you finally put 2 and 2 together and got a serious case of The Mobility on Thanksgiving.  You took your first legitimate crawl in front of all of your grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  It was so very cool! And when you did it, you got this twinkle in your eye as if to say: "Whoa.  That. Was. Awesome.  I'm gonna do that again." And you haven't slowed down one bit since then.  This gives us a great glimpse into your future.

You love to be in the middle of things with your newfound mobility.  And you like to tease your older sister to the point that brain matter drips out of her ears when you touch or look at her dolly or her blanket or her blocks... or her Daddy.  You find it very entertaining.  

You went through a weird little thing when your turned 9 months.  You were waking up in the night to eat.  Which was abnormal for you because you had been throwing down 12-14 hour sleeps for months prior.  We quickly did some research and made an educated guess that it was because you were refusing to eat your baby food in the evenings.  So, you'd wake up at 8, 12 or 3 and need to be fed again.  I never have gotten legitimately mad at you, Mills... but I was really frustrated and remember telling your Daddy that:  "This bleep needs to end. Now.  Of COURSE she's hungry.  SHE WON'T FREAKIN' EAT! BLEEEEEP!!!"

(*I actually did say bleep.  Because your older sister is a verbal sponge right now and I'm already THAT mom.)(And now, the horn on the bus goes bleep, bleep, bleep... rather than beep, beep, beep.)(Who knew?)

Anyway, after carefully rehashing all of the what if's that could be causing this weird behavior, we decided that maybe you just didn't like the baby food we were forcing down your gullet.  So we started to slowly let you have some real food.  And the verdict?  Holy cow... there are not enough hands in the world to shove all of the bananas, peas, spaghetti, pancakes and yes, pizza down your gullet to satisfy you!  It's as if you were starving yourself in a protest to have real food. 

The problem is that up until about a week ago, you still only had your two bottom teeth.  Last week, your two top teeth started to come in, but they're taking their own sweet time about it.  And while you can gum pretty much anything, I still hesitated to give you real food for the very real fear that you would choke.  And, yes... I'll admit that you've choked no less than three times since we started giving you food.  And one time it was serious enough that I had to pull you out of your seat and administer first aid by slapping you on the back until you threw up a little bit.  But you refuse to go back to the pureed foods. So, we've been feeding you a lot of soup, rice, eggs, toast, peas and yogurt.  Sometimes... at the same time.

And you couldn't be happier.

And in the last week, you've had two more teeth start to pop through... so you're in a little bit of pain, although the only way we know this is that you finally hit a 2 on the Fussiness Scale.  So we give you things to gnaw on.  Like a cracker.  Or my neck.  And then give you the Tylenol.  And that seems to work just fine.

You are loving tubby time with your sissy these days.  You absolutely love splashing with her and there's nothing in this world that melts my heart more than hearing and seeing the two of you playing together.  Even if it means we go through towels at twice the normal rate due to all the splashing.  TOTALLY WORTH IT.

You have become so interactive in the last two months.  You smile first thing in the morning, you smile all through the day... you just smile all the time.  You love to laugh... although you never really get those uncontrollable giggles that your sissy used to.  But you definitely laugh more overall. I theorize that these are just polite laughs so that Mommy doesn't feel like an idiot for making faces at you and getting no reaction, and that you have quite the discerning sense of humor.  But, when you really find something funny, you REALLY find it funny.

And either way, you always end up in hiccups.

And the thing that you find the most funny right now?  Your sissy.  Oh, my... you think she's the greatest thing since sliced bananas.  You especially find her funny during nekkid time right after tubby time.  Nekkid time is when we let the both of you run/crawl around nekkid and hijinks ensue.  And as long as those hijinks don't end up with Mommy cleaning up said "hijinks", I'm totally cool with it.  And a house full of laughter and love?  That's my overall goal in being a Mommy. 

You continue to be a great sleeper and only occasionally wake up and need a bottle.  Since you've been on real food, that happens fewer and farther between.  You continue to be a Mama's girl.  And I cannot tell you how endearing it is when you see me and your face lights up as if to say: "Yes!!!  There's my people! I'm gonna drool on you now to show you just how much I lurve you!"  

You recently moved into a transitional car seat.  Which, let's me honest... you're not a big fan of.  There's just something about it that upsets you.  But you were just too big for your carrier.  It was like trying to shove a pound of dough into an 8 oz cup.  It just didn't look good, and couldn't have been comfortable.  I just think that you're big on routine.  And the uncomfortable car seat was your routine.  And since we changed that, well... someone has definitely moved your cheese and every time we get into the car and you see that, yep, it's still there... OMG!!  NOT THE CHAIR!  ANYTHING BUT THE CHAIR!!!

Every morning for day care. 

Every evening after day care. 

For the last two months.

So... that's been fun.  The only redeeming quality is that you have a better view of your sissy and out the back of the car, so once we actually get you in the seat, you seem to be just fine.  As long as we're moving. And your sissy is paying attention to you.  You did NOT like the trip to Phoenix when we gave her a laptop to watch Lion King on and she ignored you.  That was so not cool with you.

You're still going to bed pretty early every evening.  Usually by 6:30.  You're starting to already transition out of two naps and just take the one during the day.  Which is nice because if we play our cards right and you cooperate by throwing down a decent nap on the weekends, Mommy and Daddy have some quiet time while both you and your sissy nap.  It's heavenly.  The drawback to the one nappy is that you're down by 6:30... and sometimes at day care, you've only had a 30 minute nap all day and then... yes, that means a short night with you.  But when you've had a good nappy, we'll keep you up until 7 or even 7:30, depending on how things are going.  You immediately know the drill when we go into your room and depending on how tired you are, you'll rest your head on our shoulder and we get to sway with you for approximately 5.4 seconds before you demand to be put in your crib.  Other nights, as soon as the lights go out, you push away and when we put you down and give you your blankie, you're  a goner.  

Oh, your blankie.  You loves you some blankie.  As long as you have your blankie, all is right in your world.  Apparently, if you see your blankie in your bed at day care, you crawl right over, hollering the whole way, and pull it out so you can snuggle with it.  So, when you've gotten a bit fussy at home, I'll grab your blankie and give it to you and... I'll be damned.  It works.  You loves you some blankie.  I gotta figure out when to wash that thing... it's getting pretty rank. 

You are such a joy in our lives, Millie.  We thank our stars every day for you and the joy you've brought to our family.  I cannot imagine my life without you.  I cannot imagine our family being complete without you.

We love you, Mills.


Hazel 25 & 26 Month Updates

Dear Hazel,
Well.... it's been a couple of months since I wrote to you last.  And honestly... it's good that I didn't write to you during that time.  Because things have been a little strained between the two of us since your birthday.

And it wouldn't have been a nice letter.

And you would have ended up in therapy. 

I'm a giver, that way.

I would like to say I don't know why things have been so rough.  But the truth is, I do know why.  It's because your mother is a bit of a head-strong idiot who apparently has a low threshold for 2-year-old behavior... and has had to learn some lessons in mothering the hard way.  

It's like that with everything I do, by the way. So.. we really shouldn't be surprised. 

The last two months of your life have left me feeling eerily similar to how I felt during the first two months of your life.  When I was absolutely convinced that I was unfit to be a mother and there were probably better people in this world that were capable of raising you. (Maybe a pack of wolves?) And that you would probably be more than happy to be with them, anyway.

But... Mommy did some quick growing up in the last couple of months... and also toughened up the callouses on her soul, so that she doesn't have a meltdown whenever YOU have a meltdown.  And things have been going much better since then.  

So, on to bigger and better things, right?  Let's start with how much you are talking these days.  Oh my God, baby girl... you are a chatter box.  And you're really into saying "K?" and "Huh?"  Both of these, by the way, usually follow some incoherent babble and we've taken to just nodding - as though we understand what you just asked us - and saying "Yea!"

The problem is, sometimes we've thought it was just nonsense talking with the "K?", but as soon as we say "Yea!", you get a twinkle in your eye and run off to the bathroom.  Presumably to drink the bleach or take a tubby in the toilet.  So, we've had to curb our immediate yea's for now.

You have been throwing more than your fair share of fits these days.  It's the easiest way to get what you want.


No... you throw a fit and then Mommy and Daddy decide to engage in this never ending power struggle with a 2-year-old.  And can I just say for a moment, that kinda makes me proud?  You get your stubborness from me.  But I'm blaming your temper on your Daddy.  So, while it's his DNA that has you blowing your top when your banana breaks, it's my DNA that won't let you let go of the fact that YOUR. BANANA. IS. BROKEN.  No matter how many other bananas you are offered.

Honestly, baby girl... if you make it out of the toddler years completely sane, it will be a freakin' miracle.

Anyhoo... we think we've got a handle on your tantrums now.  You are often sent to your room to freak out alone.  Mama just doesn't want to hear it anymore.  And you kinda, sorta LOVE being in your room by yourself.  Almost as much as you love freaking out.  Which... DON'T LIE... you really dig, don't you?  Oh, I know. 

You still love to color and paint and read.  And I've been surprised by how much more you're enjoying playing by yourself.  Especially with your babies.  And my baby (Millie). Oh, you loves you some Millie time.  Your favorite game right now is turning off your bedroom light and shutting your door with you and your sissy in the room.  It does my heart so good to hear little giggles from the two of you when you're playing together.  And for the most part, you're still very gentle with her.  And if you do hurt her (on purpose or accidentally) you are quick to say sorry and give her a hug... which is awesome.)

Your second favorite game right now is: Daddy, Lay Down.  This game is one that your father adores as well.  Because all it entails him doing is laying down on the floor in your room and letting you cover him with 5 blankets and then let you pat his back and kiss him on the cheek.  He especially loves this game after working out. 

You also love to play on the potty.  And to tell Mommy and Daddy that you have to potty, take all of your clothes off and go sit on the potty... and do NOTHING.  We've taken to just leaving you in there to do your thang cuz we can't spend the next 30 minutes watching you sit.  Luckily, you also love naked time so this is not a problem for you.  And as long as you don't pee or poop on the floor (again) we'll allow it to continue.  In my opinion... you can never have too much naked time as a kid.   You have your whole life to have to conform to societies standards of clothing.... use naked time as much as you can, kiddo.  Pretty soon, you'll be 34, have two kiddos and hate to see yourself naked. 

Speaking of naked time, the other day you took off your shirt and told your Daddy you wanted to go outside.  I should mention now that it was about 10 degrees outside when you decided this would be a reasonable request.  Daddy asked you to put on a jacket and you said:  "Wanna go outside with my body," while slapping your chest to emphasize the innocent skin that was about to be frostbitten.  Because your Daddy decided it wasn't a battle he was willing to fight.  And let you go outside.  Without a shirt.

About a minute into the Toddler Freeze Out of 2011, you asked for a coat.  And wore it the rest of the day.  Inside and out.  Cuz you're a quick learner, that way.  But... we've never had to fight you to put on a coat since then, so I guess Daddy's gamble paid off.

You love to help in the kitchen.  Whenever we're cooking or cleaning, you're right there.... breaking the eggs, and dropping them on the floor or standing on the door of the dishwasher as you try to reach for the sharpest knife to run around with put away.  Incredibly helpful.  You even got your own vacuum for Christmas and whenever we pull our vacuum out, you get yours out and follow us around with it... picking up anything we may have missed.

You loved helping decorate the tree for Christmas.  We purposely bought a Charlie Brown tree so that it would take me 30 seconds to decorate.  An hour later, I finally cried Uncle and let you do most of the work. 

It turned out okay, though.  You and your sissy did a good job.

Speaking of Christmas, you met Santa Claus for the first time this year.  I know, I know... it's terrible that you're two and this is the first time we've bothered introducing you to Santa.  But, see... the first year, you were only 3 months old.  And the second year, I was pregnant up to my eyeballs and just didn't have the energy or the patience to deal with finding a non-pervy Santa for you to visit with.  Turns out that the Christmas Village had one that intrigued you. 

Plus, you got to check out where his elves work!

When we drove to Arizona for Thanksgiving with Daddy's family, you watched The Lion King almost the entire way there and back.  You loved it.  You loved the sights, the sounds, the music.  But, apparently, you mostly like Pumba.  You know... the warthog who could clear the savannah after every meal?  He's a sensitive soul, though he seems thick-skinned.  And it hurt, that his friends never stood downwind... and OH THE SHAME!....

Ahem... yes, Mommy and Daddy now have that song memorized as well.  Anyway, out of nowhere a few days ago, you started saying poma?  poma? poma?  We had no idea what it was, so we just started repeating it back to you.... much to your delight.  Eventually, it morphed from poma, to puma, to pony, to bunny, to ping-ying, to Pumba.  And once we hit Pumba, you got really excited and YES!  THAT'S WHAT I'VE BEEN SAYING ALL ALONG! HAKUNA MATATA! It tickled you pink, sweetie.  And ever since that fateful day whenever you walk into the house after school, you go up to Daddy and say:  Pumba?  It never fails to crack us all up.  It. Is. Awesome.

You continue to be a Daddy's girl.  Who am I kidding?  You're giving a new definition to the term Daddy's Girl.  For the love... you CANNOT and WILL NOT share him with anyone.  Not Mommy.  Not Millie.  Not the kitchen.  Nothing.  It's getting pretty old, this "My Daddy" phase.  One that we're not sure you're ever going to grow out of. And it's terrifying.

You're going through a thing right now.  A thing where you wake up once or twice a night screaming for My Daddy... or occasionally My Mommy.  Or sometimes it's just screaming.  I think that you're having nightmares or something... so it doesn't seem right not to go to you and comfort you.  But man... Mama needs her sleep!!!  This phase needs to run it's course cuz I am kind of over it.

The last two months, Mommy and Daddy have been seriously considering buying a mini-van.  And for this, I blame you.  Mommy's only requirement of being a Mommy was that she never be reduced to driving a mini-van.  Because Mommy is shallow and judged other mommies in mini-vans.  And thought that she could still pull off "hip" Mommy if she continued to drive an SUV vs a minivan.  But "hip" Mommy in the SUV is quickly being reduced to "losing her mind" Mommy in the SUV because you are KILLING HER with your refusal to get into the car seat and your insistence on getting in on your own... and then freaking out when Mommy has had enough and forcibly puts you into the seat.  Because it's 7 degrees outside and IT'S TIME TO GO.

So... yes, if we ever get a mini-van, it's all your fault.  I'll be "mini-van" Mommy.  That and my shoes are a dead giveaway, according to my fellow Mommy-In-Arms, Erica.  And I will tell you this if you ever complain about how lame our car is:  "Well, we had a Pilot.  But you screwed that up so now we get this mini-van.  Make your peace with it, kid.  I did."

You still don't quite "get" Christmas.  Although, you do love you some Christmas Carols.  Like Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman.  You also know who Santa Claus is.  But I don't think you understand the magic that is Santa Claus.  I can't wait for you to get that.  My parents always made Christmastime really magical and special for us, and I hope to do the same for you.

You and I have been spending a lot of time doing crafts and making cookies and gingerbread houses for the holidays.  And if I can ever get you to stop eating the cookie dough or the candies for the houses, I wouldn't end up covered in flour and sugar while sweating profusely.  But you know what?  TOTALLY WORTH IT. 

It is so fun to watch you learn new things every day.  It seems like you learn a new word or a new action every day. You mimic everything we do, and I'm constantly blown away at the enormity that falls upon us as parents to children in today's world.  I'm telling you... you can easily blow it.  And I hope and pray every day that I don't.

You keep us on our toes, kid.  And we wouldn't have it any other way.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Well.  That was fun.

And cathartic.  Which is the whole reason for this blog, right?

Let's all take a deep breath in... and out.  And try to remember that it's Christmas, and we're supposed to be full of love, joy and egg nog.  (Side note:  How much do I loves me some egg nog?)

I guess I should probably write Millie and Hazel's 9 month and 25 month updates.  As their 10 month and 26 month updates are due in a couple of days.  But, I'm not.  I'm putting it off for just one more day.  Because I need to talk about something other than the kiddos.  Whom, I feel like I need to clarify, I love more than life itself.  I would do anything for those two.  Yes... even including The Toddler.  Because, let's face it... she's making me a better parent every day.  And sometimes when you work a muscle that has never been worked (like my parenting muscle, for example)(it actually sits low in my belly and makes me want to vomit from time-to-time) it hurts.  A lot.  But that hurt makes it stronger.  So, theoretically, by the time Millie hits the Terrible Two's, I'll be an amazing mother.  And she won't have nearly the damage that I've done to Hazel.

That's the theory anyway.

Could go out the window in a split second, though... considering she's the polar opposite of her big sis.

Anyhoo.... today, taking a page from my girl Momo, I'm writing a quick little post about things I'm grateful for.  In my defense, I will grant you that many of the things I am grateful for may end up being shallow.  That's how you know I wrote it and not someone pretending to be the strongest woman in the world... who accidentally taught her 2-year-old the F word.

1 - My husband.  When I said "I do" to Benny in 2003, I had no idea what an amazing life we would be able to build together.  He is, quite simply, amazing to me in every way.

2 - My girls.  I cannot imagine my life without the rugrats.  They are beautiful souls sent to this earth to cut me down to size, and to teach me humility and love.  I thought I knew love before I had them.  I HAD NO IDEA.

3 - Crossfit.  Specifically Crossfit Ogden.  How I heart thee.  If you weren't in my life, I would be a terrible mother, wife and employee.  With your help, I shoot right up to mediocre in all aspects... and that is HUGE.

4 - Amazon.com.  Is it just me, or does having to actually leave the house to shop seem like a ginormous waste of time?  Does finding a parking space seem a pain worthy of morphine?  This is why God invented Amazon.com.

5 - My mother for making sure that I never identified with Barbie and all of that other crap that is out there for girls to compare themselves to.  There are so many legitimate things in this world to worry about... looking like a model?  Not one of them.

6 - Tubby Time.  Oh my, do the girls love tubby time!  Even Millie, who was slow to adopt her love of baths (much like me with my love of beer) gets into it now.  Tubby time gives at least one of the parents a few minutes of solitude (which inevitably ends up being housework) while the other one sings songs while torturing The Toddler by washing her hair... and cajoles The Baby when The Toddler's screams freak her out.  But, besides the hair washing, both girls adore playing in the water.  Millie lets me know when she's had enough.  She pulls herself up to a standing position and looks at me as if to say:  We're done here.  I'll take her out, dry her off and the let her stand outside the tub and watch her sissy.  It's a great way to kill time AND get the stank out from behind the kiddos ears.  Twofer!  Some parents do arts and crafts.  I do tubby time.  It works.

7 - Kale salad.  Enough said.

8 - The Lord's Prayer.  WHAT?  Yea, yea... not what you think.  I'm grateful that all of the tv watching I've done for years prepared me properly for reciting the prayer during my god daughter's christening last week.  Look at that... not even sure if christening is spelled right.  Or if it should be capitalized.  Is god daughter one word or two? Not sure.  But you know what?  I KNOW THE LORD'S PRAYER. I may not be sure that the Lord only has the one prayer.  And I may not be convinced that His will is being done on earth as it is in heaven.  Matter of fact, I think he's got better things to do with his will than decide if the Denver Bronco's should win.  Hey, I'm not even sure there is a Lord.  But I do know that this little recovering Mormon out Lord's Prayered her recovering Catholic husband's arse on Saturday.

9 - Speaking of the Denver Broncos.... I am ridiculously grateful that the Patriot's put an end to the "miracle" that is Tim Tebow... and those other guys he plays with.  Look... it's not that I'm offended that he prays during games.  And it's not that I'm offended that people are talking about it and how God must surely be with him.  It's just that I think that God/Buddah/The Flying Spaghetti Monster has better things to do with his/her/its time than help some quarterback who couldn't throw a diaper to me if it was more than 8 yards, win a game. Simple as that.  And people who think differently may have to lick my armpit.

10 - Louis CK.  He has made my dismal days of parenting a little brighter.

11 - My Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.  Complete with gifts under the tree.  This is the first year we've ever bothered with gifts.  I can't wait to start a tradition with the girls like my parents did for me!

12 - Friends who think that when I put oats and cupcake sprinkles in a bag and attach it to a note claiming that it's reindeer food... that I have actually been crafty.  Little do they know that one time I bedazzled the hell out of Hazel's stocking.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Never Ending Story

Note:  I wrote this post Sunday night after a particularly rough weekend. week.  MONTH. I didn't post it because I wasn't sure I was in the right frame of mind to send this out into the webiverse.  After a couple of days reflection, I've decided that it is what it is.  Judge me if you must.  And if you do judge, I'll know for certain one thing about you.  You. Don't. Have. Kids.  So you don't get to experience the great misery that is the absolute joy of kids.  You miss out on the Empire State building highs, and the Swamp of Sadness lows.  And for that... I just feel sorry for you.

So, without further ado:

Benny made me leave the house tonight to get some "me" time.  Something about unresolved anger issues towards The Toddler.

And possibly motherhood in general.

I know that as of late, I've been posting some pretty negative/pathetic things about what life is like right now with a 2-year-old and a 10-month-old.  And, if I were being honest, I would clarify that most of what I finally manage to write down on the blog has been edited to within an inch of its life.  Because not only am I worried that you'll judge what I REALLY think about being a mom on some days, I'm also aware that the girls will one day read this blog.

And then end up in (more) therapy.

If I'm being honest, I'm positive that my 2-year-old hates me.  And these days?  I'm not so much a fan of her, either.  Thank God for Benny, as he is the only buffer. Hazel has a serious case of the "My Daddy's"... and she really could care less for me.  Which is fine with me because most days I want to tell her to go hell.  But I don't.  Because I'm the strongest woman in the world.  And because she's picking up words right and left these days.

If I'm being honest, if we had gone through this stage with Hazel before we got pregnant with Millie... well, I seriously doubt there would have ever been a Millie.

If I'm being honest, I thank God for Millie every day.  Because while Hazel can turn to Daddy when things get rough between the two of us (approximately every 2.5 seconds), I can turn to Millie and know that at least with this one, I haven't messed up too much.  Yet.

If I'm being honest, I'm pretty mucking fiserable these days.  I always thought of myself as a chill, relaxed parent.  One that, sure... has had my moments of blowing up at The Toddler.  But those were few and far between. (Approximately every 2.6 seconds). And one thing that I always told myself (pre-children) was that I wouldn't be a yeller when I had kids.  Not my style.  I'm better than that.  How could someone yell at a child???

If I'm being honest?  It's scary how easy it is to yell at a child.  It's amazing how hard it is to tamp down those emotions.  Especially when it's diaper changing time and someone keeps kicking me in an effort to actually maim and injure.

And it's SO. NOT. OKAY.

No child of mine is going to kick/punch/bite/hit me and get away with it.  She is not in charge around here and while I know that it's mostly our fault that she thinks she is... it's also a leetle bit of HER fault.  And she needs to get her schmidt together because these Terrible Two's?  Mommy is so OVER them.

And I'm doing all this work to fix myself so that I don't live the next few years of my life in hiding so as not to poke the bear that currently lives with us and tells us what to do.

And she's NOT.

She doesn't care.

And it's bullshit.

It is.

If I have to work on something, I think it's completely acceptable to ask The Toddler... who outfoxes me, her Daddy and her teacher on a daily basis, so we know she's not an idiot... to work on her schmidt, as well.

Fine.  She can't read Parenting with Love and Logic (courtesy of my good friend, Mr. Texas), cuz she can't read (supposedly).  But she can attempt to meet me halfway and not throw a fit when her banana breaks in half.  Or her dolly looked at her wrong.  Or when Mommy has the audacity to expect a little cooperation in some areas of life... or at the very least, not have every. single. situation. turn into a power struggle.

For example, sometimes when Mommy says:  Please don't shut the baby's head in the door... IT'S NOT A QUESTION. It is not a choice.  There is no yes or no answer.  There just is NOT SHUTTING THE BABY'S HEAD IN THE DOOR.

If I'm being honest, at times I feel like Artax from Never Ending Story... right before he dies in the Swamp of Sadness.  If Artax was a stubborn 34-year-old mule who just couldn't go on because her 2-year-old is driving her batshit crazy.  And if Artax thought she was the greatest parent in the world before she had kids.  And if Artax actually complained about this stuff even though she knows parents who have it WAY worse.

In short, if Artax was a self-absored ass.

Yep.  That'd be me.

And for all of you 30-somethings out there that now want to go ahead and rent NeverEnding Story (as it may be the greatest story every)(and as it will remind you of your youth and how amazing things were back then)(and make you realize that you haven't been using your imagination much lately)(which means that The Nothing has won), you are completely welcome.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Teaching Moment

The last few weeks with Hazel have been hard.  Really hard.  Hard enough that we've questioned our ability to right the ship that is Hazel In 2-Year-Old Mode.  Nothing... not Benny in Taper Mode, not Jaynee in Pregnancy Week 39 Mode, not Millie in Diaper Diva Mode can compare to the wrath and the extreme mood swings of Hazel in 2-Year-Old Mode.

So, there hasn't been a whole lot in our house to be jolly about so far this Christmas.  If Hazel's not crying about her sister playing with her favorite block (out of a possible 30 blocks to choose from, she chose the one that Hazel has a strong bond with), she's whining that she wants milk.  Or water.  Or sweat from a baby albino elephant.  And, as I may have alluded to before... it sorta, kinda BLOWS to live with The Terrorist Toddler these days.

But tonight... tonight was one of those nights where, okay... yea, not exactly what we thought about when we first started talking about having kids a few years ago.  But, by God... when you look past the poop on the ground right outside the bathroom, and come to grips with the fact that you actually saw the poop coming out of The Toddler's butt, but you were momentarily paralyzed and were only able to utter:  "Nnnnnnoooooooooo!" as you watched it fall on the wood floor with a soft "plop"... these are the moments (actually it's the moments following that exact moment) that bring us closer together and make us a family.  These are the moments that you tell your Mommy friends about the next day, if only to give them a heads up while subconsciously rubbing your hands together thinking:  "I can't WAIT for this to happen to you."

These are the types of things that you and your husband handle very efficiently at the time. Without even verbalizing it, you both go into survival mode.  "You get the poop and The Toddler, I'll get the baby."  The baby who was inches from making an already bad poopy situation EVEN WORSE. The baby who just wants to be in the middle of things.  Be it the kitchen while we cook breakfast... or the three little nuggets of poop that her sister just dropped off in the hallway.

Later, after the kids are in bed, the hallway has been sanitized and you've both had a glass of wine... THAT'S when you reflect on what happened that night.  And bring things up that the other thought you may not have noticed  in the haze that is Parenthood.

You bring up things like the fact that after the poop had been picked up off the floor and put in the toilet, Daddy spent an uncomfortable amount of time waving goodbye to the poopy as it swirled around the toilet.  While The Toddler quickly lost interest and found Daddy's toothbrush and commenced brushing her teeth.  While Daddy still stood there, waving - yes, WAVING - at what can only be described as Mr. Hanky, the Christmas Poo and his two little friends and saying "Bye-bye, poopie!  Bye-bye!!!"

At the time, when I asked him what he was doing, the man shushed me... actually shushed me... and said:  "It's a teaching moment."

The jury is out on who taught who what. 

But my money is on Hazel. 

Because she figured out how to get Daddy to talk to poop.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mama Don't Play That

We don't hit Mommy.  We don't hit Mommy.  WE. DON'T. HIT. MOMMY. 

How many times did I have to say that this morning?  How many meltdowns is is possible for a 2-year-old to have in the 90 minutes between waking up and leaving for school? 

So far?  Our personal record is 5.


Five timeouts.

Five times I had to remind myself that I chose to bring this demon into our lives.

Five times I had to remind myself that she's not actually a demon.  Just two-ish.  (A demonic two-ish.)

Five times I had to breathe in and out and tamp down the simmering volcano inside of me that wanted to shoot out of my ears, mouth and nose and show her what a REAL meltdown looked like... so don't even mess with Mommy right now, mkay? 

Five times I had to check myself before I wrecked myself.

Because this kid... she's on my last nerve.  I mean MY. LAST. MOTHA.EFFIN. NERVE.

It all started because... I dunno, the sky was too blue today.  So, Benny had to take The Bird to her room for a quick timeout.  Then, after he left for work... and she turned into a puddle of misery because: "My. Dadddddddyyyyyyy!".  Oh the pain!  The absolute misery of being a little girl who loves her Daddy sooooo much. 

But, but, BUT... I was able to distract her with a little Super Why.  And let me just say right now:  GOD BLESS SUPER WHY.  Because that damn cartoon gave me a whopping 3 minutes of non-whining/non-crying... relative peace.

That is until I did the unthinkable and attempted to dress The Bird.  OMG... the humanity!  That I, the mother... the rational thinking person in this relationship... would think that pants - PANTS! - were appropriate attire when clearly I should have known that she would rather wear saran wrap and set her hair on fire. 

Holy geez... that's timeout #2

Timeout #3 occurred a few moments after she said sorry and came out of her room... and continued to fight the idea of clothes.... and then hit me in the face.

So. Not. Down. With. That.

During this timeout, The Bird came out of her room (still crying) and when I asked her if she was ready to be nice and apologize, she said NO WAY! (shocking), and ran back to her room.  Where she slammed her pocket sliding door shut... right on her fingers.  I won't lie... there was a tiny moment of satisfaction that came because FINALLY!  SHE HAS SOMETHING TO REALLY CRY ABOUT... AND I DIDN'T GIVE HER SOMETHING TO CRY ABOUT LIKE I THINK TO MYSELF ALL THE TIME... LIKE MY DAD USED TO SAY TO ME!  I WIN!!! I AM THE STRONGEST WOMAN ON EARTH!!!!  HAHAHAHAHAHA! 

So, timeout #3 ended with hugs and kisses... but no apology. Because, hey, I like to play the world-weary, hardened, stone-cold mother on my blog but my baby gets legitimately hurt?  I will smother her with kisses to make it better.

So, let's see... we're at three timeouts already.  One for the sky being blue.  Two for freaking out over clothes.  Three for hitting Mommy in the face.  What could possibly be next?

Timeout #4... for PUNCHING Mommy in the face when I explained that we would not be having cake for second breakfast.  (Cake is only for first breakfast).  When she first took a swing at me, I was able to duck and think to myself:  "Did what I think just happened, just. happen?" 

I quickly determined that I had not imagined it and gave Hazel The Look

As in THEEEEE Look.  

As in... "*$&*#;%@.  Mama don't play that.  Don't EVEN go there."  

 And I sternly and calmly said:  "No.  Hitting.  DON'T. GO. THERE."

And guess who went there?

Holy mother of all that is holy.  This child is trying my patience like no other.  I understand she's going to make mistakes.  And I understand that she's trying to learn how to communicate.  I also freakin' understand that this kid can talk and use her words but she's just being a little snot. So... OMG... timeout #4 was a BIG ONE.  It's been a couple of hours now and I'm still so pissed off at the whole thing, I can barely think. 

Timeout #5 came right after she apologized for hitting me and asked for some water.  I filled up her sippy and she said:  "No wid."  Which is toddler for "No lid, please.  I'd like to make sure I spill all of this water down my shirt right before we leave for school.  Kthanxbai."

"Sorry, honey.  We have to have a lid, otherwise you spill it."

"No wid!  No wid!  NO WID!"

"Your choice.  You can have water with a lid, or no water at all."

At that point, I set the sippy on the table and went to the door to grab my coat because, after all, it's been 4 timeouts.  It's time to get out of the house.  I have to go to work... just so I can think straight.

That's when I heard what sounded suspiciously like a toddler picking up a sippy and then slamming it on the floor... which caused the lid to pop off and water to go everywhere.

Sonofa.... "Okay... you have to help clean up the mess you just made."


Which led to timeout #5 because the depths of despair include screaming and more screaming and MOMMY COULDN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE.

Poor Millie... this kid never gets any attention in the morning.  Hazel makes sure of that.

We have a problem.  A big, big problem.

That problem being a nasty case of the twos. 

And a nastier case of Mama's Over It. 

So nasty, in fact, that I'm debating picking up The Bird from daycare tonight.  Because it's been two straight weeks of hell with her and I just don't want to buckle in for another night of pure hell.  Because that's what two straight weeks have conditioned me for.  Pure, unadulterated AWFULNESS.  I deserve - WE ALL DESERVE - a night of peace.  A night of giggles and grins.  A night of no timeouts, no meltdowns, no hitting, kicking or screaming.

We have to have nights of joy to gird us up for the nights of misery.  My joy tank is almost on empty with The Bird.  While my misery tank RUNNETH OVAH.

And if we hit empty on the joy tank without a refill... there's not enough alcohol or Crossfit in the world to make it better.

And that's no way to live.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Case of the No Ways

Today was a "No way!" day.  As in... every. single. thing. I said to Hazel was met with a hearty "NO WAY!"

Not "No."

Not "No, thank you."

Not even a "Nope."

Just "No. Way!"

To everything.

Hazel, would you like yogurt for breakfast?  No way!
Hazel, would you like to cudder?  No way!
Do you want to go play with your friends?  No way!
Would you like ice cream for dinner? No way!
How about a puppy?  Do you want a puppy?  No way!
Would you like Mommy to stick this fork directly into her eye and swirl it?  *Silence*

It's just out of control... the no way's. And it's killing me.  Because I'm pretty sure that the "No" part of "No way" is the default setting for all 2-year-olds.  (At least that's what I'm telling myself.)(If you have different information, please keep it to yourself.) But the "Way" part of "No way"... apparently, that's all me.

When she first started saying "No way!" two weeks ago as we were driving to Prescott for Thanksgiving, Benny and I thought it was cute.  And we quickly determined that it must be something she'd picked up at day care.  Then, as we were looking for a city park to stop at for The Bird and The Bean to stretch their legs, I looked on the Boulder City website which said a particular park was the most popular playground in the city, with a nice view of Lake Mead in the background.  It further went on to claim that sometimes, big horned sheep would come down off the mountain and graze on the grass next to the playground.  And when I mentioned this little factoid to Benny, we both rolled our eyes and said,

"Yea.  Right.  There's big horned sheep on the playground.  Sure."

And then we pulled up to the playground and I'll be damned if there wasn't 10 of them right there.  Grazing.  As if they hadn't a care in the world.  As if they were unaware that I was about to unbuckle a toddler who was going to RUIN THEIR LUNCH. 

"No. Way!", I exclaimed as I looked through the window out to the playground.  "No way, no way, no way!!!"

Yep... she definitely must have picked it up at day care... and now I've picked it up.  A lot like a common cold.

But if you start to listen to how people talk these days - and with a 2-year-old mimic clutching my leg while screaming "No way!" and "SHUT THA DOH!", I pay close attention to what she's exposed to - a lot of people say "No way."  Obviously, no one says it with as much passion and mind-numbing repetition as The Bird, but holy geez!

So, naturally, to defend myself from being not only the one to teach The Bird her first naughty word, but also a phrase that has been permanently tattooed on my cerebrum, I started pointing out to family members whenever they said "No way!" during the Thanksgiving holiday.  (Or the Thanksgiving  Nowayiday.)

Which means that not only did we have turkey, potatoes and asparagus for Thanksgiving, we also had a little bit of jerkface.  That jerkface being the mother who was trying desperately to prove that she's not the (only) one who taught her daughter the most annoying catchphrase on earth.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Also... I Believe In Santa Claus

I'm not a particularly religious person.  But I do have a belief system. It's pretty simple. Pretty straight-forward.  Pretty ho-hum.  But, it's my belief system and if you don't like it, I've got a Toddler that's crying about her banana breaking in half, so that's really the least of my concerns.  

The list below is in no way exhaustive.  Trying to capture a belief system takes a little more than the 20 minutes I've allowed myself for "Me Time".  But, it's a good start.


I believe that you should treat others the way you would want to be treated (Golden Rule and all that crap).  I believe that video games are inherently evil and while I won't judge you (publicly)(anymore)(after this post) for playing them. (I'm just gonna leave the room... and judge you in private.)  I believe that flowers are nature's gift to us and we should always stop to smell them.  I believe that little boys AND little girls should play with bugs.  I believe that a spider is not a bug and should therefore be killed upon detection. I believe that a bouquet of dandy lions from my little girls are sweeter than any roses I'll ever receive.  I believe that chocolate is a major food group.  I believe that chocolate tastes better when you have to sneak it by  your husband and children.  I believe you should never be too far away from lip balm.  I believe that there is no need to justify wearing a ponytail. I believe that the price of kids shoes is a total scam.  I believe that one should never spend more than 20 minutes getting ready for work. I believe that the best way to read a magazine is back-to-front.  I believe that there is WAY too much reality on TV.  I believe that people should be out making their own reality.  I believe that my girls are gonna play in the mud and with frogs/fish/whathaveyou as much as they play in the kitchen and make cookies.  (If not more.)  I believe that you don't have to tear others down to feel good about yourself.  I believe that my dentist is out to get me.  I believe that I'm the strongest woman in the world.  (Unless heavy lifting is involved.)(And then it's 50-50.)   I believe that dreams can come true.  (I've had three of them come true in my life.)  I believe that if the easiest way to stop a toddler from losing her shit is to put on a Winnie the Pooh band-aid on an imaginary owie, YOU WASTE NO TIME AND GET THAT EFFER ON THE INVISIBLE SCRATCH.  I believe that my kissing an actual owie will automatically make it better... but the band-aid is still necessary.  I believe there is no greater sound on the planet than that of a child's laugh.  I believe that I probably wouldn't get as many sinus infections if I'd stop picking my nose and gnawing my nails.  (Not that I do them concurrently.) I believe that a good cry... the kind where you turn into a blubbering idiot with snot running out of your nose... the kind where you don't want any comfort because then you won't really let it out for fear of scaring whoever is doing the consoling... the kind where you have to do it in a car sitting in a store parking lot at 8 p.m. while you're waiting for a prescription because that's the only you time you're gonna get that day.... those kinds of cries are ESSENTIAL to motherhood. I believe you have to listen to your body and your soul to know what you really need.  I believe in moments of reflection.  I believe that if women were better to each other, our society would improve drastically.  I believe that children have a built-in radar that lets them know the exact moment you've stopped moving... and that's when they'll throw yogurt across the room.  I believe in the power of a good massage. (To be followed by a facial and an eyebrow wax.)(Perhaps a pedi.)  I believe that if you can't say something nice about someone's feet, you shouldn't say anything at all.  I believe that Benny needs to think about that.  I believe that one should not be judged by one's religion. One should be judged by one's blog.  (And maybe the Golden Rule.)  I believe that there is a magic fairy that will do the laundry for me.  I believe that Christmas lights are magical.  I believe that one day, I will actually be able to follow a recipe and not screw up whatever I'm cooking/baking that day.  I believe that Jon Stewart is a genius.  I believe that I can't grow roses.  (Because my mother couldn't.)(How's that for a self-fulfilling prophecy?)  I believe that we should take care of the most vulnerable and weakest among us.  I believe Fox News is not news. I believe that life without the internet is totally Third World. I believe that I could run another marathon, but have become too smart for that.  I believe that red wine is the nectar of life. I believe that smuggling such nectar in from out-of-state is appropriate.  (Not that I have done that.)(Today.) I believe that my kids are gonna love Christmas. I believe that there is nothing my children could do to make me love them less. I believe that crabgrass is demonic. I believe that the Bible is a nice story. (Some parts.) I believe that I don't need a book to tell me how to live.  I believe I certainly don't need a church to tell me how to live.  I believe that we will eventually have another dog.  I believe that dog will be very small.  (And possibly mute). I believe in surrounding yourself with good people and distancing yourself from those who are toxic. I believe everyone in your life is there for a reason. I believe that I'm too old to play basketball and that just makes me sad.  I believe that there will be snow angels and a snowman in our front yard this year... and for the next 18 or so. 

But most of all?  I believe that being a Mom is the hardest thing I will ever do.  I also believe it is the GREATEST thing I will ever do. I believe that my girls will be well-rounded and will be exposed to the arts, to travel and to sports.  I believe they will love to read books that can take them to a million different places without leaving their home.  I believe they will love each other.  I believe they will fight like cats and dogs.  I believe they will be best friends. I believe they will have great senses of humor.  I believe they will make mistakes.  I believe they will learn from those mistakes. I believe they will leave home before we know it and experience the wonder and beauty that is this world.  I believe they will do great things... they will build bridges... they will save lives... they will be leaders... they will change the world.  (They've already changed mine.)

I believe that they will be happy.  I believe that they will shine that happiness on whomever they meet.  I believe that no matter what happens in their lives, they will know that home is always a safe place.  I believe that they will never doubt how much we love them... because there's nothing that can stop that love.

Unless they end up on Fox News.  But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.