Saturday, June 25, 2016

An Almost 5 Year Old

Tomorrow my big kid wakes up even bigger. He'll be 5. Five! That's like official big kid status. I know it's cliche, but it doesn't feel like it's been a year since his last birthday.

This year he started being able to pronounce his Ls. He says "LLLLLLeigh Ellllllen" and "LilyAnna" and "little" and "Legos" with intention and emphasis, and while he was quite proud of himself at first, now it's a natural part of his language.

He loves knock knock jokes, and he thinks they're all funny, even when no one else does. Examples include "knock knock" "Who's there?" "Chair" "Chair who?" "Chair bear wear". Rousing. He sometimes talks about himself in the third person.

He still loves BeYoYo more than anyone. He's protective of him and lets me know when there might be danger. One day the boys were playing together in a store and he started screaming "Mom! Mom! Beyoyo is OUTSIDE!" and sure enough BeYoYo had walked right out on the sidewalk. When I thanked him for letting me know, he puffed up with pride and walked a little taller. He also occasionally hits him for no reason.

He wants to know everything about everything. He asks questions about dinosaurs and human bodies and animals and bugs and nature and machines. He's curious and likes to explore, and he's happiest when he's outside. This summer he got his first bee sting and spider bite.

He knows how to write his letters, and he can sound out a few simple words. He likes school, and he doesn't want to leave his current school to go to pre-k in August. He likes art and centers best, and he seems to be naturally good at math. He's into super heroes and Ninja Turtles, and this year he sold a lot of his toys and worked to earn money to buy a $100 Ninja Turtle lair. It sucks, but I was proud of him anyway.

This year he played soccer and swam on the swim team. He was the smallest on both. For the end of the year circus program at school, he was a strong man and a lion. He rode his first real coaster this year, and he loved it.

When we see someone standing by the road with a sign saying they need money, he wants to stop and give them money or food. But he does not want to give them his toys.

When we're at a store he wants to know what "island" a particular item is on. When he brushes his teeth he calls his gums "gutters". He sometimes talks about the superhero "Iron Peetriot" and he calls naval oranges Mabel oranges.

A special treat for him is getting to stay up late, riding in a parking lot without buckling up, sleeping in our bed, playing with cousins, sweet tea, watching He-man, or eating Fruit Loops. He asks for a "snack lunch" and he loves it when I make his food into art. He talks and talks and talks and talks, and he has some great expressions. This morning he woke up before 6am to tell us that tomorrow is his birthday. Like we could forget.

This week I continued our annual tradition of asking him these questions. Here's what he says now.

 How old are you? 
"Four and a half and three quarters"
What’s your favorite thing to do? 
"Eat cheez-its"
What do you want to be when you grow up? 
"Nobody, cause I don't want to grow up."
What’s your favorite food? 
"Cheez-its and pepperoni and goldfish"
What’s something you’re good at? 
"Playing games"
What makes you laugh? 
What’s something scary?
Who’s your best friend? 
"Hudson T."
What do you like to do with your family? 
"Go to Maher's house"
Where do you like to go? 
"Toys R Us. Or Goodwill, or the frift store"
What do you like to learn about? 

Happy 5th Birthday, Boy. Here's to this year being great. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Birth Control, part II

Our neighbor's house is for sale. They've been renting it and the owners have put it on the market. All the neighborhood kids play together, so we've joked about intentionally sabotaging viewings by misbehaving in the cul-de-sac to scare potential buyers away. We haven't actually done it, of course.

BeYoYo is cutting four teeth, so he's been having some diarrhea. (See last week's post on birth control.) The diarrhea is causing some gnarly diaper rash, and his poor bum has been blistered. We're using plenty of butt paste and it's clearing up, but I've also let him be pantless outside to air the whole thing out.

On Saturday he and I were playing outside on the front porch, painting a Mother's Day stepping stone for my mom and letting his butt air out. A potential buyer was at our neighbor's house standing on their front porch. I was pretending not to listen to them, but they were on the phone to someone saying they couldn't get in to see the house. Just then, I heard a pttttthhhhh. Out of nowhere there was a shitsplosion on the front porch. BeYoYo was just as surprised as I was.

Crouching Tiger Hidden Disentary

There was no warning. No stomach grumbling, not the smallest whine. Just a noise and it was everywhere. And he was in the perfect position so that very little got on him, although a little did splatter on the stepping stone. Happy Mother's Day!

I was paralyzed. Did this really just happen? Of course The Husband was not home. The first thing I could think to do was to take a picture to prove to him that these are the things his angel children do when he's not around. I knew no one would believe just a description of this yearbook-worthy event. Then I got it together enough to pick BeYoYo up and take him in to the bath (again). When we came back out the defecation station remained on the porch, but the perspective buyers were gone. Was it something we said?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Why I'm A Good Mom (And Why You Probably Are Too)

Dare I say it? I don't mean to brag but I'm kind of a good mom. I know culturally we're not supposed to say that out loud. We're all supposed to have mom guilt and professional/personal guilt and wife guilt and pinterest guilt all the time, but I also think it's okay every now and then to say we're doing okay. Now, do not for one minute confuse this for a post of me claiming to be a perfect parent. Somewhere I think we got tripped up in the land of facebook and instagram and pinterest and photoshop that there are perfect parents out there, when we know that's just not the case. No one gets it all right all the time. I fail at something every day. But dang it, mamas, we're getting A LOT of it right. And if your kid comes home with a test that they worked hard on and they got A LOT of it right we'd be proud of them. So let's be proud of us.

When I was pregnant with BeYoYo I was wanting some white cheese dip something fierce. So I asked my midwife if I got some white cheese dip that I knew was pasteurized and I heated it really hot to kill all manner of bacteria if I could have some. She said, and I quote: "There's probably still a higher chance of food born illness, but some pregnant women do cocaine." Suddenly a few bites of melty cheesy goodness didn't seem so bad.

This has become my parenting mantra. It's all about perspective. If there are no perfect parents, then the good enough parents are good parents. Being a good parent is all about changing our perspective and lowering our expectations. In real life no one would like Mary Poppins because she'd always be showing all the other nannies up all the time. People who are imperfect are relatable, and according to that rule I must be VERY relatable. Plus if I was a perfect parent I'd never get a chance to show my kids about grace and forgiveness and apologizing and all that other BS I hate having to show them. So, let's change the expectation about what it takes to be a good mom. Trust me, there will still be plenty of room for mom guilt, even when we lower the standards a bit. We will probably still fall short, even once we've changed the rules. Here are some of the things I sometimes get caught up in thinking it takes to be a good mom, minus the things I know are good enough to meet my kids' needs:

I'm a good mom because I feed my children exclusively organic, locally sourced, sustainable food. 
I'm a good mom because I breast fed my kids when they were babies.
I'm a good mom because I listen to every word my children utter.
I'm a good mom because I never leave my kids with other caretakers.
I'm a good mom because my kids have the trendiest, itch-free name brand clothes.
I'm a good mom because I show up to every school function.
I'm a good mom because I am continually playful and never cross. 
I'm a good mom because I put oxybenzone-free, organic, vegan sunscreen on my kids.
I'm a good mom because I change diapers as soon as they are wet. 
I'm a good mom because I never yell (until I've asked nicely 15 times first).
I'm a good mom because I have the coolest and safest, state of the art transportation.
I'm a good mom because I make elaborate craft projects to appreciate my kids' teachers.
I'm a good mom because I talk to my kids about politics and the environment and green house gasses.
I'm a good mom because my kids have a clean, organized, stress-free house.
I'm a good mom because I wash dishes as soon as they're dirty. 
I'm a good mom because my kids witness a really perfect marriage.
I'm a good mom because I fold and put the clothes away right after I do laundry.
I'm a good mom because I remember to send a healthy, allergen-free snack on snack day.
I'm a good mom because I greet my kids every morning with a smile and a song.
I'm a good mom because I sing love songs to my kids.
I'm a good mom because we make it magical through adventures each day.

So tomorrow, pour those Lucky Charms a little higher, and pass your kid some Deet while you're looking under the bed for the missing shoe that might be a little too small but we're going to make it work for one more week. Hold your head high and remember your kids are lucky to have you. We're good enough moms!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Birth Control

Yesterday BeYoYo took a longer than usual nap after The Boy's soccer game. At one point I heard him talking on the monitor but then it was quiet again, so I figured he'd fallen back asleep. When he woke up for real, I went up to go get him. I was on the stairs on my way up when I could smell what happened. It was stanky.

I opened the door of his room and was assaulted with the smell of poop. It was like a thick cloud pushing me back out of the room, and BeYoYo laughed at my physical reaction. I asked him if he poopooed, and he smiled. I pulled up the back of his shirt to look (why?) and saw poop not only in his diaper, but also up his back and on his shirt. Gag.

We don't really use his changing table anymore because he's Frank the Tank, but I needed something that could be washed easily, so I carried him at arm's distance to it. When I laid him down on the too-little changing table I noticed there was also poop on his hand. A lot of poop. On his hand. Dried. I think he'd done the ole poop scoop during nap. GAG. He laughed at my gag. And then I saw poop on his chin. GAAAAG. He looked like some Lifetime story of a feral child raised by wolves and never socialized with humans. In the movie he'd walk on all fours and forage with the pack for meat and shelter, and the pack would love him like their own. I think they'd call it Beyoyo's Journey.

I called The Husband on speakerphone. It was a code brown situation.

Where are you??
-On my way home.
But where?
-About to turn on our road. Why?
BeYoYo played in his poop at nap and I need reinforcement.

I wiped the poop butt and tossed the diaper. I pulled off the shirt and shorts and tossed them in the laundry. I wiped off his back, and carried him at a distance to the tub. He cried that he wanted his brother in the bath with him, but I didn't dare add anyone to this bath.

The Husband came in to help. He asked what I needed.
"Well, someone needs to empty the trash in his room. And open a window! And pull the cover off the changing pad and put it in the wash. Do you want to do that or bathe him?"
"What about the sheet?" he asked.
"I haven't had a chance to check it yet." I told him.
-"I'll bathe him" he said, clearly weighing his options.
"Okay.... And there's poop on his hand and his chin" I added as I walked out of the bathroom.

I went in his room and took the trash out first. I turned on the fan and opened a window. I tossed the changing pad in the hamper with his clothes, and went to the bed. There was poop on the quilt. There was poop on the sheet. There was poop on the pillowcase. I stripped it all off and tossed it in the hamper, and took the hamper down to put in the washer. The Husband finished washing him and put some fresh clothes on him. Then The Husband sprayed Lysol everywhere he could think of and lit every candle in our house. So then it smelled like Lysol and fresh meadows and vanilla and autumn breeze all at once. And also poop.

Several hours later our neighbors came over to grill out with us. I was taking my neighbor upstairs to show her something and The Husband yelled "don't let her go up there! It smells like poop!"

Here is my lesson for the day: if you think you might be ready to have children, light a bunch of candles with competing scents until you've got a migraine, and don't let your neighbors into parts of your house. Once you've got that sensory scenario playing out, imagine what it would be like to clean up someone else's poop from multiple surfaces in your home (it's not true when people say it's not as bad when it's your kids). Then invite two small monkeys in to run around while all of this is happening. If you don't feel like you're ready for this scenario, please practice safe sex. It could happen to you.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Yesterday was our anniversary. Eight years of marriagedom in the books. It was a lovely day.

The day before, I'd given The Husband his anniversary gift. I told him "it has a theme: favorites for my favorite." It was his favorite snacks, candle, t-shirt, socks, BBQ spices and running accessories. Later he and The Boy went to the store and came back with a gift for me. He said "It has a name. It's called....uh...things you love.....for I love." He's very creative in that way.

Yesterday he also gave me 12 coupons he'd created that read " this certificate entitles the holder to one session of talking about feelings". The fine print includes "not redeemable for cash. Redemption value not to exceed one hour." He knows the way to my heart.

I guess when they went to the store they picked out some Reese's Pieces for me (my favorite), and decided they were a surprise. So at 6:15 I was asleep but in the distance heard The Boy's feet running down the steps. He then slung open the door to our room, ran to my side of the bed, and flung the Reese's Pieces bag on my back in excitement, saying "happy anniversary!" You can't say that guy isn't full of surprises. We got up and fixed everyone breakfast.

The Husband worked. I played with the boys and cleaned the house. (That's not actually true, because it was no cleaner in the afternoon than it had been in the morning. I just cleaned up after them and kept the status quo and made no actual progress on anything looking cleaner. I just mostly maintained. Which, by the way, takes a lot of effort.)

In the afternoon our neighbors came over to see if The Boy wanted to go down to the creek with them. He did. So off he went with them, happy as a clam. And a bit later I got this text:

That's exactly why he loves to go to the creek. And that's a t-rex I facepainted on him earlier, at his request. And also some of it is mud and some is nutella.

When he came back I hosed him off and he put his jeans back on. His shirt was soaked, so he decided not to wear a shirt. The neighbors cleaned up and came back to see if he could jump on their trampoline. He told everyone "I'm not wearing a shirt. Know why? Cause I don't have to, because boys' breasts aren't their privacies!" No one responded to this. I sat chatting with our neighbor, who Beyoyo calls Gretchy, on her porch while the kids played and their dinner burned inside. Oops, sorry about that.

The Boy came up to me and asked if he could eat dinner at their house. I told him no, because their dinner was burnt anyway. Prissy came over and got their dogs all riled up and she wouldn't go home, so the boys and I said our goodbyes and headed home. The Husband and I had a date night planned, and a sitter would be coming soon anyway.

The Boy was disgusting, so we put him right in the bath. The Husband started vacuuming. Beyoyo walked around the house holding my phone and saying "cheese!" even though the camera wasn't on. I was getting the boys' dinner of fish sticks and cheez its ready (because nutrition) when The Boy started yelling from the bathtub "mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy!" Now he does this about 100 times a day, so I knew it could be anything from a small kitchen fire to a lego head that wouldn't fit on just right. I made my way quickly into the bathroom to see what the emergency was, and saw Beyoyo trying to get in the tub fully dressed. I asked him not to do that, just as one shoe and a pant leg were completely submerged. The Boy said "mom, Beyoyo is putting your phone in the bath." PANIC at the disco. I grabbed the phone and grabbed Beyoyo and thanked The Boy for telling me.

I yelled to The Husband to come for backup, and handed one very wet and mad toddler to him. "Bath! Bath! BATH!" he wailed. I dried off the phone, which was still working, if you don't mind big colorful streaks across your screen. I scanned the pantry for rice and found none, and ran out the door back to our neighbor's house. She came to the door and I asked "do you have any rice? Beyoyo put my phone in the tub and I couldn't text you." She scanned her pantry and found none. "Hmmm." she said "Would quinoa do?" as she handed me a bag of ancient grains. I told her it was better than nothing and called out "thanks Gretchy!" over my shoulder as I headed home.

A few minutes later the sitter arrived. The Boy was naked on the bathroom floor, covered in a towel and pretending to be a turtle. Beyoyo was in his high chair eating fish sticks and rolling his eyes at anyone who would look at him. I gave the sitter instructions and told her to text The Husband if she needed anything, since my phone was in quinoa on the counter.

And then we left. We had a most delicious dinner where we didn't even talk about our kids, we went to a bar where a friend was working to enjoy a drink, and we walked around hand in hand downtown the way we did 10 years ago. We didn't know any of the bands that were playing and we sounded like old people when we noted that a college girl's shorts were too short. Then we came home to relieve the sitter. She said the boys were good, and that The Boy didn't eat any dinner but wanted crackers before bed. She asked him if he was allowed to have crackers and he said "you're in charge."

My phone wouldn't turn on. I'd been up since 6:15 and was tired. My kid had crackers for dinner, with a side of wisecrack for a sitter. They are exhausting, they are filthy, they are loud and they are nonstop, but I sure do appreciate them. Especially when there's a sitter involved. When I told The Husband what my most meaningful moments over the last 8 years had been and asked him what his were, he said I'd need to submit one of my coupons if I wanted to talk about feelings.