Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Talking To My Kids - 2012

Because I had kids and turned into a fuzzy-brained stereotype of a mom who can't remember what she ate for dinner the night before (but can somehow remember a well-child check made months in advance), I know that I'm not going to be able to remember little details like the conversations I have with the girls these days.  And let's be honest,with a not-quite-3-year-old and an 18-month old, yea.... I'm going to want to remember some of the funny times instead of looking back at it 10 years from now, cringing and thinking to myself:  "That was haaarrrddd.  WHAT WERE WE THINKING?"

Because honestly?  Even with all of the hard work involved in parenting these two at this age... the good always outweighs the bad.  But, it's human nature to remember the bad first.

And with that, I present to you:

Conversations with an "Awmost Free"-Year-Old:

"I know you did!  Good job!"
"Don't walk through it, okay?"


"We don't say that word."
"What word?"
"We don't say f**k."
Distracted as I'm wresting Millie into her diaper..."Hmm...what word don't we say?"
"F**K. We don't say f**k! That's big trouble bad word. So, we don't say

Stunned silence. And then:

"You're right sweetie. We don't say that word. Promise mommy you won't ever say that word ever again."

Benny looking at me with a smirk: "And we certainly won't ask you to repeat the word you're not supposed to say ever again."
"Mama... whassat?"
"What's what?"
"Dat!  On your neck!"
Driving the car so I cannot look, only feel:  "I don't know.... oh, I think it's a... it's a zit."
"A zit?"
"Yep.  A pimple on my neck."
"How in the world did you see that from the back seat?"
"Boogers, boogers, boogers, BOOGERS!!!"

"Honey, we don't say that word unless you have a booger on your finger and then we get a wipe... do you have a booger on your finger..... Hazel!! Uh-uh! We do not eat our boogers! Fingers out of your mouth!!! ICKY!!!"
"Mama!  There are dinosaurs in my woom!"
"There are?"
"Yea!!  Day need to go owside and pway"
"You're right."
"I need you to go tell dem dat, okay?"
"Do you promise to stay in bed tonight?"
"Yes.  Cuz if I don't, you gonna pop my pimple, huh?"
Keeping a straight face....
"Yes.  You don't want me to pop your pimple, right?"
"Nuh-uh.  So I gonna stay in bed."
"Okay.  I love you."
"I wuv you, toooooo...."
As I walk out of the room: "Don't pop my pimple, okay?"
Overheard in the backseat on the way home from a visit to the grandparents:
"Miwweee... don't do dat, okay?"
"Cuz if you do, I gonna pop your pimple."
"And you be in big, big twouble and have a talkin' to."
Conversations with an 18-Month-Old:

"Millie, are you done with dinner?"
"Are you sure?  Cuz you're standing up in your chair. And throwing grapes at your sister."
"Okay... well I think you're done.  Let me take your plate."
"Oh?  You want more food?"
"So you don't want more food?
"Millie, would you like cake for dessert?"
"Really?  Well... do you want it for breakfast?"
"Okay then.... just remember that I once made the offer and you turned it down."
"Bee-bee!  Bee-bee!  Bee-bee!"
"Let's go find your baby."
"Bee-bee!  Bee-bee!  Bee-bee!"
Baby located in the fridge. And promptly dismissed. 
"What is it??"
Distraught"Bee-bee!  Mommy!  Bee-bee!!"
"Blankie?  Do you want your blankie?"
"BEE-BEE!!!!  BEE-BEE!!"
"Where's your blankie?"
"BEE-BEE!!!!  BEE-BEE!!"
After searching the house, locate blankie. In the garbage can.  With the diapers and fruit flies.
"Here's your blankie."
*Giggle and Snuggle* 
On a sigh: "Beeeee-beeeee!"


Repeat until Mommy's mouth is too dry to continue speaking words. 


"No... that's not yours."
"Still not yours.  Please let go."
"No, sweetie.  That's not yours.  Please give Mommy back her lip balm."
Sobbing and tears:  "MINE!!"
"Fine.  Take it."

Monday, August 27, 2012

Training The Bird

Dear Hazel,
This letter is about six weeks late.  I started it a while ago, but then got distracted by... life.

This is the story of your first poopy on the potty... and how we got there.

We started attempting to potty train you months ago.  You were very interested in this thing called the potty and after a couple of months of prodding, managed to tinkle a little bit in it.  The celebration that took place in the aftermath was only missing a ticker-tape parade.  Luckily, we had toilet paper nearby and were able to make do.  In our minds we expected the volumes of positive energy and happiness to be enough incentive for you to keep doing it.

We. Were. So. Wrong.

So, being the tenacious, patient parents that we are, we pretty much turned over the whole thing to day care.  I've honestly got enough going on with working, popping my zits, changing diapers, cooking dinner, paying attention to the genius that is Jon Stewart and making sure that I remember to bathe you and your sissy  BEFORE you start to stink and end up with a strange rash, that I just couldn't fit it into my routine.

You actually did really well with the potty training during the week at day care.  For about two months, you stayed dry all day at school during the week.  Pooping... well, that was another animal. You, my dear, could not and would not poop in the potty.  I've heard that this is a common thing for kiddos, though.  So, I wasn't too worried.

What I did end up feeling bad about was the fact that your teacher spent all week training you and keeping you dry, and then on the weekends, we were so busy go-go-going (to the zoo, to the aquarium, to the play-date, to The Center of the Universe) that we didn't have time to mess with such things as taking you  to potty every hour.  So, long story short.  We broke you every weekend.   And every Monday, teacher had to start again.

And, then there was the issue of the poop.  Let's face facts: 
1 - You at two, are the size of a normal child at four.
2 - Size four poopies are adult-sized poopies.
3 - The teachers at day care made it a point to emphasize to me that you are pretty "regular".
4 - And since you're the size of a four year old, they also have to lift you up on the changing table that you no longer fit on to take care of... that.

But, most importantly, we were starting to react negatively to a poopy in your diaper.  Not that we belittled you or made you feel bad about it.  (Unless you count gagging and then weeping openly when we opened up the diaper).  And as we would change you, we were also fighting the good fight to keep your hands from finding the poop.... and keep the poop from falling onto the ground.  That, my sweet girl, is some no-joke mothering skillz.  That's right, with a Z.

Anyway, we just couldn't take it anymore.  It was time.  Everyone always wonders when they should start training their kids.  My best advice would be this:

The timing of when to train your child to poop in the potty, is much the same as falling in love with your spouse.  YOU JUST KNOW.

Helpful?  Anyway, we knew it was time.  We needed to make this happen.  So, I downloaded Potty Training in a Day onto my tablet and read it.  Well, most of it.  Because before I could finish it, I dropped my tablet on the ground and shattered it.

Regardless, I felt like I had the basics of the book down, and was ready to try it.  Based on our busy schedules and the fact that we didn't feel like potty training on vacation at the beach, I decided that Sunday, July 8 was to be the big day.  The plan was set for your Daddy to take sissy to the zoo and then you and I would spend the day drinking high sugar drinks and eating high salt snacks, while having you teach a dolly how to go potty and clean up any potty messes along the way. And when you emerged at the end of the day fully potty trained, we would have a big potty party and  would invite some friends and all go out for ice cream and I WOULD BE THE BEST MOMMY IN THE WORLD.

So, when you got home from school on July 3 and took off your pants and diaper - which you have decided is what one must do upon entering one's home after a long day of being 2 - I sighed and said something to the effect of:

"Hazel, put on your pull-up please."

But it was met with deaf ears... or ears that were no longer in the same room.  Because about a minute later we heard a refrain that we'd heard before but had learned not to get our hopes up over, because you had shown that you didn't know the difference between pooping and peeing....or pooping and just sitting on the potty talking about how you had pooped:


Your Daddy was busy cooking dinner, so I rolled my eyes at him, picked up your clothes and headed to the bathroom saying:  "No, sweetie.  You didn't poop.  Put on your clothes ple...."


Yes, love.  It was exactly like that.  I am prone to exaggeration from time to time.  But this?  It cannot be overstated the absolute party that was thrown in that tiny little bathroom.  You, me... then Daddy (with spatula still in hand), and Millie.  It was amazing.

Even more amazing?  It didn't take you long to figure out the rewards system.  Pee = 1 M&M; Poop = 2 M&M's; Staying dry overnight = 3 M&M's. 

The next day was the 4th of July.  We knew that it was pretty common for kids to regress and that pooping once in the potty meant exactly zero in the world of potty training a toddler.  So, it didn't really come as a surprise to us when during a BBQ with our friends, you came over to me and presented your little diaper full of poop for me to change.  The crazy thing about it was... you've never done that.  It was like you'd done it, and then realized that you REALLY didn't like that feeling.  Because that poop on the 4th of July?  The last poopy I've changed for you.  It was Independence Day for me and Daddy.

And you.  Because since that last poopy? You've changed.  You've gotten so... grown up.  You're learning new words every day.  You're a big girl who doesn't need anyone to do anything for her anymore.  (With the notable exception of taking care of the dinosaurs each night.)  And what it's done to your self-esteem is absolutely amazing.

You now have your own big girl underwear that you picked out with me on July 5th.  You were SO excited to put them on that you insisted on wearing them before we paid... (and definitely before we washed them at home).  I was able to hold you off until got to the car.  But then I had to be that mom and put them on as you stood in the parking lot of Target.  And oh, my... you were so happy and sooooo proud of yourself.  I wish I had captured that moment on film so that one day you could see what pure joy looks like.  I'll just have to replay the memory in my head for the rest of my life.  Because right there?  That moment?  Made all those sleepless nights with you screaming in my ear totally worth it. I could actually feel my heart swell Grinch-style.

To date, we have not had any accidents other than three times where you've woken up from wetting the bed.  This upsets you greatly even though I reassure you that it's no big deal.  At first I thought it was because you knew you weren't going to be able to get your morning sugar kick, but since we stopped rewarding expected behavior a few weeks ago (by, um, telling you that they don't make M&M's anymore and... I KNOW!! HOW DARE THEY???) I really believe it's because you genuinely feel bad about it.  Sweet girl.

Your sissy loves to watch you potty.  She's very interested and lets me know whenever she goes "pope".  So, new game plan to have both of you out of diapers and an extra $40 in my pocket each month:  They have started making M&M's again.  I'll pick some up for you if you can teach Millie how to use the potty. The reward system for a successful pee/poop/dry overnight will be the same for you as it is for her. 

Sound like a plan?


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I Do Believe I'm Raising A Paleontologist

Dear Hazel,
Last night was hot and muggy.  The kind of night where you wake up in a pool of sweat even though the fan is at its highest speed.  And, apparently, it was also the kind of night where Mommy takes off her nightgown in her sleep...  and sleeps nekkid. 

Yes, yes... I can imagine the horror on your face as you read these words.  I know, right?  Isn't there something in the Bible or the Constitution that forbids such nonsense?  For the love of Pete, isn't this, at it's core, a crime against humanity?  Isn't there a GOP Senator somewhere that has an opinion on this??? 


Got a little sidetracked there because of all the insanity that's been going on the last few days weeks months about women's rights in our country.  I write this down, naturally, because when you and your sister read this, I want you to realize that the rights of women in America were being debated IN YOUR LIFETIME.  Debated. As if there was anything to debate.  As if there are actually two sides to the matter. Oh, and in your lifetime?  Science was scoffed at.  And often made up.  BY ELECTED OFFICIALS.  In your lifetime.  And I can only hope and pray that when you're my age, the nonsense will have been long gone. 

Sadly, I don't believe it will be.

But, instead of talking about that nonsense, I want to talk to you about the current nonsense you're throwing at me daily.  Hourly.  Minutely.

Where were we?  Oh yes... Mommy slept nekkid last night.  And when it was time "for waking up and eating brakfess" as you so eagerly remind me first thing in the morning, I was confused to find that not only was I nekkid, but my nightgown?  Nowhere to be found.  And I do mean, NOWHERE.  I looked in the dresser, in the closet, in the sheets, under the bed, in the laundry, in the bathroom, in the backyard (in case I had done a little sleepwalking last night. again.).  But nothing.  That nightgown is gone.

And as I was throwing on a t-shirt and shorts so I could fix you breakfast, while grumbling about not being able to find my nightgown we had the following conversation:

"I know where your punjamas are, Mama." (Yes... punjamas.  Because the pun?  Always intended.)

"You do?  Where are they?"

"The dinosaurs came and took them."

And... there it is.  My life in a nutshell with you these days.  You and your dinosaurs and your monsters.   You know what?  You know a lot of words these days.  Some may call it a plethora.  You can tell me about all the animals at the zoo.  You know the name of every kid in day care.  You even have the entire book of nursery rhymes memorized.  So, you know... there are other things to talk about in your world. 

But the only thing you ever, ever, EVER talk about?  Dinosaurs.

At first, I thought that you must be learning about dinosaurs in school.  But if you are, it's not from your teacher. I have my suspicions about who you're picking it up from, though.  I don't mind.  Honestly, it's preferrable to talking about princesses all the time.  I'm down with princess talk now and then.  But if it was princess talk to the extent that I hear about dinosaurs?  We'd be having a Come To Feminism talk.

Anyway, the dinosaurs are EVERYWHERE. But mostly in your room.  Because I've told them they can't come in my kitchen. 

A few weeks ago, when it first started, we had a conversation that went a little like this:

"Mama... the dinosaurs are going to where my punjamas while I'm at school."

"What?  They're not allowed to do that.  I'll tell them that they can't wear them, okay?"


Two days later?

"Mama... the dinosaurs are going to wear my undies!!!"

"Well that's just against the rules.  I will tell them they can't wear your undies while you're at school."

"But da dinosaurs like my undies!  They want to wear them!"

"I know!  But they're your undies, so I'm going to tell them and then  I'm going to make them go outside to play, okay?"


When you woke up from sleep walking into the closet at 4 a.m.?

"Why are you crying, sweetie?"

"Da (sob) dinosaurs (sob) live in (sob) da closet (sob)(sob)(sob)!"

"Oh, I'm so sorry!! I bet that was scary!  But you're okay now.  Mama will protect you."

"Don't weave me, okay?"

"I will tell the dinosaurs they can't live in your closet anymore and they will listen to me because I'm the strongest Mommy in the world and will beat them up, okay?


Whenever you hear a strange noise?

"What's zat?"

"That's the sound of the dishwasher/lawn mower/motorcycle/grass growing."

"Nuh-uh!  It's a dinosaur!"

"It is?"


"Are they playing up here again?"


"Silly dinosaurs!"

And every night for the last two weeks?

"Mama... I can't go to bed?"

"Why not?"

"Cuz of da dinosaurs and da monsters.  Der in my room and jumpin' on da bed."

"Oh really?  Do you want me to go tell the dinosaurs and monsters that they have to go outside with their Mommy's now so that you can go to sleep?"


"Okay.  (Clears throat)  Alright dinosaurs!  It's time to go to bed.  We are done playing in Hazel's room and it's time to say night-night. Swoosh!!  Did you see that, Hazel!  They are so fast!  They went outside to play with their Mommy's so we can go to bed."


"Okay.  Time to go to bed."

Whispers: "Der's anudder one over der."


"In da closet."

"What?  I thought I told you to go outside, dinosaur!  Swoosh!  See?  There he goes!! Goodnight dinosaur."

"G'night, dino. (yawn) saur."

And now in the mornings:

"Where are all da dinosaurs, Mama?"

"I think they're all downstairs sleeping with their Mommy's."


"Yep... they played all night and now they're sleeping in."

"Oh.  We should wet dhem come upstairs and pway with us!"

"You have to eat your breakfast first.  You don't want the dinosaurs to eat your breakfast, do you?"

"Nooooo.  I eat my brefist so the dinosaurs can come pway."

"You like dinosaurs, huh?"

"Yea.  I wike da pink one, and da gween one and da PURPLE one!"

"Our dinosaurs are nice, huh?  They like to play tag and tickle and lick you on your face.  They're not mean, are they."

"No!!  Day are my fwiends!"

God bless those dinosaurs.  And God bless your imagination.  I love it.  It keeps me on my toes... and takes me back to a time when my imagination ran wild, too.  I have a sense of nostalgia watching you in your little world of magical pink and purple dinosaurs because I remember when EVERYTHING was magical.  There were no limits... only endless possibilities. There were no walls or ceilings that I couldn't walk through or fly through.  I believed in Rainbow Bright and her magical unicorn.  I knew that there was a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow and if I ran fast enough, I could find both it AND the leprachan.  I believed in talking ponies.  I believed that I could fly and attempted to do so daily.   I was powerful.  And it was marvelous.

All these years later... it's simply amazing to see my little girl with that imagination well in hand.  And the beauty that your mind can, will and does see every day?  Blows me away. The fantastic adventures that you've been on... and the ones you'll be on as soon as you can imagine it... is a sunbeam shining directly on my soul. 

I hope you can hold on to the power of your imagination for a long, long time.  Because all too soon, the real world will butt in and try to tell you certain things about life... things about yourself.  It will tell you that you can't do things that you believe you can do.  You know what?  Who is the world to tell you to believe something about yourself that you disagree with?  Screw 'em.  Do it anyway.  And do it well.  The best way you know how.

That's the only way to live.  With a big imagination... and an attitude.

And also... I'm actually not sold on there not being punjama-stealing-undie-wearing dinosaurs living in our house.  Because I still can't find those pj's.  And it's becoming the only logical explanation to me.  As a matter of fact, I believe that those dinosaurs have taken all of our tupperware, half of my workout socks and my black skirt that's been missing for three weeks.

Damn dinosaurs.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

I Won't Give Up

Dear Girls -
It's been a while since I've written.  And yes, the last post saw me at my wits end trying to figure out how to do this thing called being a Mommy that everyone else in the free world does so easily.  I want you to know that since July... since that last post... things have been great.  And sure... I may have thrown a large package of wipes against the wall... repeatedly... but sometimes when Mommy can't make it to Crossfit, something's gotta give.  And I'm currently working on about 5 different letters to you... I just can't keep up with everything.

In the last few weeks, there's been a song that's been gaining in popularity around here.  Chances are if you're in the car for more than 5 minutes, you'll hear it on one of the radio stations.  I think that it's a beautiful song with a beautiful message... sung, beautifully, I might add.  And I've been butchering singing parts of it to you both in the morning as we have breakfast and get ready for school.  And I'll be the first to admit that it's not pretty.  Oh, the song IS.  Mommy's voice?  Not. So. Much.  But, by now, you understand and even rejoice in how tone-deaf I am.  If you're anything like I was to my mom growing up, you've politely asked me to stop singing in the car.  Or while Christmas caroling.  Or really.... singing in any location that is populated by people. 

With ears. 

Who can hear.

And, maybe that's why you stop your non-stop chatter/screaming/laughing/crying when I sing this song to you in the mornings. The sound of a badger being run through a wood-chipper is curious to you.  I get it.  You just sit there and stare at me... and sometimes try to mumble the words with me.  And in those moments, I feel so much....peace.  This song... it speaks to me on so many levels that I'm not even sure I realize or can verbalize. 

Bottom line:  Right now, where I am at this moment in life... where WE are at this moment in our lives as a family?  It's the soundtrack to our lives.  It gives me hope.  It gives me confidence.  It gives me something that I need.  At the time I need it. 

I always want you to remember this song.  This... poem.  This story of hope. It's beautiful. 

Just like our lives. 

Please always remember that.

I Won't Give Up
When I look into your eyes
It's like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
Well, there's so much they hold
And just like them old stars
I see that you've come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?

Well, I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up

And when you're needing your space
To do some navigating
I'll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find

'Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We've got a lot to learn
God knows we're worth it
No, I won't give up

I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I'm here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got yeah, we got a lot at stake
And in the end, you're still my friend at least we did intend
For us to work we didn't break, we didn't burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not
And who I am

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up
Still looking up.

I won't give up on us (no I'm not giving up)
God knows I'm tough enough (I am tough, I am loved)
We've got a lot to learn (we're alive, we are loved)
God knows we're worth it (and we're worth it)

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up

You're worth it.  We're worth it. 

And I'm still looking up.