Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mom Tip #29

It’s okay. We all have days when we hate the sound of our own name.

I mean, makes your skin crawl, want to stab yourself in the ears HATE the sound of your own name. And not just your name but all the other names you go by. Here’s the list of names that I am not a fan of today.


Hubby’s phone rang bright and early today to let him know that he was needed at the office asap. From there it went something like this. “Honey! Where’s my hairbrush?”
“Honey! Can you pack me a lunch?”
“Honey! The baby’s awake!”
“Honey! Can you get me some clothes for Tuck?”
“Honey! Can you find me a travel mug?”
“Honey! I forgot to tell you something; can you come back here?”
“Honey! Can you pass me the creamer?”
“Honey! Can you put the creamer away?”
“Honey! You have one big mess over here in the high chair.”
“Honey! Have you seen my wallet?”
“Bye Honey! Have a good day!”

I’m changing my name to Elvis.

“Mom, Mommy, and every whiney version of Mom!”

“Mom, can you check my butt?”
“Momma, Meghan stinks!”
“Mooooom! Tucker snatched from me!”
“Mamaaaaaaaah! Mo smacked me on the head!”
“No! No! Nooooo! Mooom! I don’t want to go potty!”
“Ma, I need another snack.”
“Look Mom! We just destroyed your bed again!”
“mum mum mum mum mum mum mum (you see where this is going right?) mum mum mum (Can I help you Meghan?) mum mum mum mum.”

I’m changing my name to Elvis.

I don’t think I would even want to hear my own mother say my name right now. If the lottery people called I’m sure they’d use “Mrs. C” and I haven’t heard that one yet today so maybe I could handle that. Otherwise you may call me Elvis.

And Elvis has left the building.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mom Tip #26

Potty training a boy equals war. Call up the reserves.

Everyone told me that “training a boy was much more difficult than training a girl.” They didn’t tell me I would need seven battalions and the strength of Patton! Mo? Potty trained at 2 ½ in three days with some help from Grammy. Tuck? He is 3 ½ now and the war rages on. Now like every good war it is fought in battles.

Battle of the Stairs - Getting Tuck to go into the bathroom.
We live in a raised ranch so the basement is actually ground level with a bonus room off the garage that we use as a playroom/office. When I first started training The Boy it was a battle to even get him to go up the stairs to the main part of the house and the bathroom. He would flail, kick, scream, go limp, go board stiff, (and did I mention the screaming?) all the way to the top of the stairs. Then he would dissolve into the carpet like he didn’t have a bone in his body. By the time we got to the bathroom I would be a sweaty harried disaster and more than likely his pull up would already be wet.

Battle of the Seat – Getting his behind to make contact!
In the event that we DID actually get to the potty before he used the pull up we were now up against the sitting part. We tried the small seat that went on the big potty. Nope. We tried just the big potty. Not happening. We invested twenty bucks in a floor training potty. But if you’re sitting on it you can’t push the button to make it sing. Never mind that the potty will sing if you just pee in it! And by now we have used the pull up instead.

Battle of the Poo – Well, that’s self explanatory.
Boys stink. They start stinking with that first poo in the hospital and they don’t ever stop. Now imagine walking into a room and being knocked down by that smell? And nine times out of ten, he’s just sitting there like it’s the norm. Why?! Can someone please explain to me why?! And how?! How can he stand that smell?! We’ve tried treats, stickers, punishments, stopping our attempts only to try later. I even let the boy drop his drawers where ever he wanted while we were on vacation out in the country. Nothin’ doin’. The Boy will not go in the potty.

It is my husband’s idea that you don’t run into grown adults who aren’t potty trained out there in the day to day world so he’ll get over this. Just this once (and don’t you dare tell him!) I hope he’s right. Just this evening I was summoned to the front lines to deal with the enemy. He shows no signs of surrender.

I, however, have started to embroider pretty gold stitching around the hem of my white flag. At least I’ll go down with a flourish.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Zookeeper's Response

Dear S.M. Rhino,

I understand your frustration with the seemingly useless behavior of Orangutan and Marmoset. Unfortunately Orangutan is correct; they will never leave the zoo. While they may leave the confines of the front gate, their hearts will always be a part of the zoo. And regardless of hunt status and food procurement skills the lion and zookeeper will always be present as well.

I would advise you to make the most of your current living arrangements by learning climbing skills from Orangutan and teaching your dirt construction skills to Marmoset. In moments of extreme frustration may I suggest that you abstain from your headbutting as your horn and very sound skull can inflict pain to others.

Thank you for understanding that the current exhibits are permanent and new or replacement exhibits are not planned.

The Zookeeper

A Note from the Zoo

{The small male rhino actually.}

Dear Zookeeper,

I would like to express my dissatisfaction with my personal living arrangements. I no longer wish to have the female orangutan or the pygmy marmoset as part of the zoo. I would like them to be removed immediately.

I will keep you in the zoo for food procurement purposes and the male lion may stay as long as he is going on the hunt daily. However since I have no use for Orangutan and Marmoset, they may leave immediately.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


S.M. Rhino

{Zoo keeper's Note: I received this correspondence on the way home from the grocery store. The Orangutan's response: "Too bad Charlie! You're stuck with me!" The Marmoset's response: "Bub Bub Tuck!"}

Mom Tip #2

Your intelligence has just entered a state of constant flux.

It has only been four short years since Molly joined our family and I have already learned that I can be an unbelievable genius or a complete idiot.

Let’s start with idiot. “Why are your shoes on the wrong feet?” “Because I like them like that!”
“Why did you snatch that from your brother?” “Because I wanted it!”
These are matter of fact answers that are delivered in such a way that I can’t help but feel stupid for asking the question in the first place.

In my own defense, I am also a genius. I know the answers to every “Why” and “How” and I can prove it. Ask me anything. I am the smartest woman in the world.

“Why is that man running, Mom?”
Because he wants to exercise.
“Why does he want to exercise?”
So he can be healthy.
“What does healthy mean?”
You feel good; you don’t get sick and your body works right.
“Do I need to exercise?”
Yes, so why don’t you go outside and ride bike?

See! I am a genius! But it won’t last long. I predict that when she turns twelve my IQ will begin to drop and I eventually won’t have any of the answers any more. I predict that by 2021 (She will be 18.) I will be a complete moron.

I will remain a moron until approximately 2028 (give or take a year or two). At this time she will be right around twenty-five and may be starting a family of her own. She will call me and ask why the baby won’t stop crying. She will ask me for dinner ideas and the recipes to make them. She will call me crying because Price Charming just turned back into the ugly old toad. I will begin to regain IQ points at this point and we will come to a mutual respect of one another’s intelligence and ideas.

This too may not last long. Soon I will begin to lose my way and I will look to my daughter to guide me. She will have the answers for the doctors and the list of medications for the pharmacy. She will become the teacher.

And I will think she is the smartest woman in the world.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mom Tip #28

You don’t really want to know “how?” or “why?”

How did the fully clothed baby end up back in the bathtub?

Why is the dog wearing my bra?

How did you get the monkey wrench and why are you trying to tighten your brother’s head?

I have learned that there are absolutely no circumstances under which you should ask any questions in the bathroom. “How did THAT get THERE?” is one that I avoid at all cost.

Why is the garden shovel in the middle of the living room?

How did the dog dish end up in my bed? And why is it upside down?

How did the baby get on top of the washing machine?

Why are there cornflakes all over the playroom? And how did you get them off the top of the refrigerator?

I stopped asking who did it a long time ago. The only culprits in this house are Mr. Nobody and Ms. Shrug. “What happened?” is entirely too vague and any answer that starts with “Well, see Mom…” can’t go anywhere good.

“What is that smell?” is one that never gets a good answer or one that I want to know anyway.

I know you’ve heard it before but it rings particularly true for mothers. Ignorance is bliss!

Mom Tip #12

If you take a horse to the grocery store, make sure you take plenty of rope.

“Okay,” you are saying to yourself. “You have officially gone off your rocker!” Loosely translated this means, your children will choose the most inopportune and embarrassing moment to play pretend. Please allow me to illustrate from my own life.

Since becoming a stay at home mom, I have altered our schedule to avoid going to the grocery store when it is terribly crowded. Tuesday is “G” day and is approached much like a reenactment of D-Day. Grocery list – check. Children fed before going to the store – check. Comfortable shoes on everyone – check. Last minute potty break – check. Then we set out. You would think that I would be prepared for anything. You haven’t met my son.

One happy Tuesday we were almost done. Produce and the deli counter and it’s game over. Tucker had a spring in his behind and had a hard time sitting in the car cart but was holding on for me. Then he decided that he wanted to walk alongside the cart. “I promise me, Ma. I tay wif yoo.” This had a 50-50 chance of coming back to bite me but I was in a good mood so I gave in. Then it happened. He let out the loudest “whinny” you have ever heard and started to “gallop” in circles around me, the cart and the sweet little old lady who was in the aisle with me. My head dropped on to the baby’s car seat and I heaved a sigh that they had to hear at the checkout. Thankfully this angel in the aisle was a mother of boys and just smiled at me and burst into hysterical laughter.

You will hear – more than once, I promise – “It’s okay, hon. They’ll outgrow this and then you’ll wish they were babies again.” I’m sure this is probably true. I’ll let you know in 20 years.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mom Tip #27 - Cheap Entertainment

Believe it or not, good entertainment now comes pretty cheap.

Take this scene from last fall.

1 72 gallon blue Rubbermaid tub
1 6 foot neon orange jump rope with wooden monkeys for handles
1 Red Radio Flyer tricycle
1 3 year old boy
1 4 year old girl; and just for good measure
1 very hyper Jack Russell Terrier.

Take all of the above and put them at the top of a hill. Insert boy in tub holding one end of the rope. Allow girl to tie the other end of the rope to the back of the tricycle. Place girl on tricycle which is backed up against the front of the tub. Pose dog in attack pose in front of tricycle. Let go and allow gravity to do its thing.

End result. Tricycle holding girl starts down the hill at a rapidly increasing pace. Dog attempts to bite front tire and gets head run over by not one but 2 wheels. Tricycle comes to the end of the jump rope and jerks boy out of the tub which was apparently lodged against a rock during loading to prevent premature motion. Said rock was not moved before launch. As boy slams into the pile of leaves in front of the tub (safety first you know!), jump rope is torn from his hands. Bright orange wooden monkey is now carving a glorious arc through the crisp fall sky toward the bullseye on the back of girl’s head. As monkey makes contact girl remembers that tricycle does not have brakes and slams into deck railing.

You may ask yourself “Where’s the entertainment in that?”

They all jumped up and said “Let’s do THAT again!!”

Mom Tip #25 - Language Skills

You now speak a second language.

I’m not referencing Spanish or French or any of those. Yes you may have studied those in high school or college but unbeknownst to you, you learned “Child” the minute you became a mom.

Initially you only understand Child when you hear it. When your baby says “aahh-boo” you know that means “apple.” And “lub-oo” makes your heart melt. Slowly your vocabulary grows and you begin to speak Child.

“No. No.” This is usually said with a smile on your face and is pretty direct.

But then it mutates into “NooooOOOO. No. No. Nonononono!” This is for those moments when you try to redirect with your voice and end up a rapid fire “no” machine gun as you sprint across the room to pry your toddler’s mouth open and extract 7 pieces of dog food.

Machine gun No is usually accompanied by “Aaah.” This is the Child word for “open your mouth.” However it has been known to mutate into “AaaaaaaAAAAHH! Open!” This is for those moments when the toddler has decided that watching Mom make a fool of herself is so much more fun that just spitting the dog food out and has locked down the jaws of death.

Another pair that is often seen is “Get! Get. Get. OFF!” and “Come. Coooome. Come. Come. Come (reinstall machine gun for this).” Why these two come together is still the biggest oxymoron of motherhood.

There are days when speaking Child sounds more like the sound effects track of an action movie. “Nonono’s” and “comecomecome’s” all run together and get mixed up with “ttthhhbbbttt” and “blech!”

And don’t even get me started on “Mum mum. Ah tink tink!” The only response for that one is an emphatic “eeeeeeeewwwwwwwww!”

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Zookeeper's response

Dear Zoo,

I sincerely appreciate the time and effort put into your recent correspondence.

Please take under advisement that the emergency hunger alert system may actually be detrimental to your cause. If you choose to activate the aforementioned "improvement's" to the system, please consider my resignation from my position as Zookeeper to be immediate and permanent. At that point feedings will become the sole responsibility of the large male lion.

As for your concerns about cookie rations, should my resignation be tendered they will no longer exist. Nor will the cookies.

The Zookeeper

A Note from the Zoo - The EHAS

Dear Zookeeper,

First, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the delightful gift of the chocolate chip cookies this week. We would, however, like to address your rationing practices before the next gift is delivered. But that is for another day.

We would like to express our concern about your failing hunger anticipation skills. It has come to our attention that we have been forced to implement our emergency hunger alert system with entirely too much regularity as of late. It is not our wish to intensify the alert system but if necessary, we will.

The large male lion will still continue to demand in his loudest roar but is capable of activating his grumpy refrigerator pawing. As we know from previous experiences, that only leads to higher food costs and very loud rants about the cleanliness of the refrigerator in question.

The female orangutan has informed us that she is capable of boosting her already very high level of wild insanity during periods of low blood sugar. She will also be forced to reactivate the loud, whiny, repetitive, "Is dinner ready yet?" if conditions do not improve.

The small male rhino has been content up to this point with the effectiveness of his fit throwing but feels that he may have a decibel or two that he can add to his demands for immediate gratification. He is also prepared to step up his sister aggravation skills if you need some added incentive to hone your anticipation levels.

At this point we would like to warn you that the pygmy marmoset has been working out. Her ankle cling move is showing great improvement and it now takes a full five minutes for complete extraction. We have found that extraction time can be greatly reduced by the presentation of fruit if it is in a prepared state. She too has been disappointed in your reaction time as of late and has told us that she is willing to add a high pitched scream to her repertoire if it should come to that.

Please know that we don't implement these techniques for our own pleasure. We only want to make you the best Zookeeper in Suburbia. It's for your own good and someday you will thank us for this.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. We have every confidence that conditions will greatly improve.

The Zoo

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mom Tip #20 - A Mother's Revenge.

Revenge is sweet (so keep a journal)!

Imagine if you will that we are fast forwarding 14 years to Tuck’s first date. Imagine that I take that opportunity to recount the following story.

While Tuck was potty training I made it a point to make sure that no matter where we were or what we were doing, if he said he had to go potty I would take him. It seems that his favorite time to tell me this was when we were in the middle of the grocery store. This meant parking the cart, unloading Meghan, grabbing the diaper bag and herding the three children into the handicap stall of the ladies’ restroom where there was room for all four of us.

On one particular trip, the handicapped stall was already occupied by someone else. Tuck made a beeline for the stall only to pull on the handle and find the door locked. So being a boy of two, he decided to check this situation out a little further. He was not content to just look under the door and see feet – no, the Boy had to stick his entire head under the door and yell, “Hey Mom! Dere’s a yady in dere!”

By this point I had him by the waistband of his shorts and was hauling him backward and into the stall next to the handicapped stall. Four people don’t fit in a standard one person stall so I was standing with the door open, Tuck on the potty (still lecturing me about the “yady” who was using “our” potty), Mo standing behind me emptying the diaper bag, and Munch on my hip trying to get down so she could personally study the cleanliness of the restroom.

Then the long suffering female next door coughed.

“Mom!! Mom!! Dat yady BARFED!!!”

Do you know how badly public restrooms echo? We finished our business and started to leave. This time – and only this time! – he decided it was imperative that he wash his hands. I’m sure the “yady” was done with whatever she was doing but took mercy on me and stayed in the stall until we were well clear. I couldn’t help but wonder though every time we passed someone in the aisles from that point on if she was the one.

Back to present now. Can you imagine how satisfying this moment is going to be?! Oh yes, son! Go ahead and embarrass me now but know that I will have my day!

Mom Tip #18 - Just Laugh.

Sometimes the only answer is to laugh.

When the wheels start to come off, and they will more often than you would like, sometimes the only thing to do is stop and laugh. There will be other options but they just won’t be as effective as laughing. Allow me to illustrate.

Since becoming an at home mom, my time has settled into a nice routine of rescue the kitchen, set the leprechauns up with breakfast, pour a cup of coffee and zip to the computer for some morning e-mail and social networking.

I was in the middle of an e-mail to a friend when Mo walked up beside the desk and started the following conversation.

“Uh, Mom? Tucker just made a big mess but it’s okay; Max (our Jack Russell Terrier) cleaned it up.”

Uh huh. What kind of mess? Please note that not only have I not taken my eyes from the screen but my fingers are still flying furiously at this point.

“Well it wasn’t pee and it wasn’t poop. But don’t worry! Max already cleaned it up.”

Wait! What?!?!

She indulged me and repeated the above and finished with, “I know it came from his butt and let me tell you Mom. It sure did STINK! And it was ah-sckusting!”

I wasn’t 3 steps up the stairs when I discovered (with my nose unfortunately) what the “mess” was but since the dog had already “cleaned” it up the where was still questionable. First things first, get to the boy. So we were off to the bathroom where I removed the offending (and were they ever offensive!) clothing and swished them in the potty. As if my gag reflex wasn’t already in overdrive my delightful son decided to provide the following commentary.

“See, Mom! There’s my carrots and my grapes and …Hey! Why did you slam the potty? I was yooking at dat!” Take a moment and picture a Peter Pan pose naked from the waist down – it really adds something!

Now there were several options I could have taken with my reaction. #1 I could have vomited on the spot! #2 I could have lost my temper and yelled and hollered about getting to the potty in time and ended up cleaning the whole mess up anyway. And #3 I could have laughed, cleaned and called it a day.

Just so you know I went with #3. So laugh. And invest in a good dog

Mom Tip #7 - Get dressed Last!

Yes my friends, you heard me correctly – last.

Inevitably if you get up and get beautiful before your children are beautiful and handsome, you will end up in a completely different outfit that you don’t really like smelling like something you shouldn’t smell like. Now this is not to say that you shouldn’t be the cliché mom who scurries about the house in your bathrobe, nylons, slip and slippers with curlers in your hair. By all means! Get as far as you can in your preparation routine without achieving final effect.

Why? Remember that jelly toast that the two year old wouldn’t eat in his pajamas when it was time to eat breakfast? Remember that off hand remark you made to your four year old to “go color until we’re ready to go?” Remember those bananas that the baby had for breakfast this morning?

The jelly is now on your two year old’s hands waiting to be transferred to your skirt. The washable markers are all over your 4 year old’s face ready for the attack of the washcloth. Oh and don’t get me started on the bananas! They will either go across your shoulder or down the front of your v-neck shirt as you try to load her into the car seat.

So against the recommendation of every dry cleaner in the world I say, “Get dressed last!”

Mom Tip #14 - Super Mom!

There is a Super Mom and you are her!

I know you think that this is a lie but I promise it is true. You are Super Mom so go ahead and make your cape.

Who else but a mom can be fueled by pure caffeine and sugar and the occasional bite of leftovers from a toddler’s plate? We are the definition of fuel efficient.

And who else but a mom can operate on 3 hours of barely asleep sleep? You know the sleep – just asleep enough to call it sleep but awake enough to hear every noise and missed breath. And don’t get me started on where we sleep. Who knew that over sized paisley stuffed elephant your sister in law bought would make such a great pillow? By the way, just how much of your body can you cover with a crib size blanket?

Who else but a mom can prep a bottle while balancing a 20 pound baby on one hip, packing a lunch, making breakfast and pouring juice? Multi tasking in an office (you know, talking on the phone while e-mailing and printing) is child’s play after becoming a mom.

You can do more with 15 minutes than Superman, Spiderman and the Green Lantern can combined. You can sort and start laundry, make beds, wipe noses, put on shoes, empty and reload the dishwasher and read a board book in less time than it takes your hubby to take a shower.

You, Super Mom, have learned how to shower in under 5 minutes and can probably pack a diaper bag in your sleep.

Your friends are right. You don’t HAVE to be Super Mom. But when you’re this good at something, why give it up?