When you have young kids, you tend to do things that would make the casual observer raise their eyebrows. Things like having toddler potties in non-bathroom areas, making transportation noises for a spoonful of food, and singing songs to encourage picking up toys, brushing teeth, or using the toilet.
And then there is the clapping. Good lord, the clapping.
There are many times when you genuinely want to clap for the stuff your kid does. Crawling for the first time; those first steps; not spitting out spinach baby food; catching a ball — those are all very deserving of clapping.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Eventually some children — cough, mine — expect you to clap for everything. It’s hard not to share in their enthusiasm, but after they’ve done a certain mundane thing X number of times, you’re not feeling it quite as much.
And other times, they don’t want you to clap for milestone type things so much as they want you to clap for things that were never goals in the first place.
Sorry, Baby Girl — you were the gassiest baby I’ve ever met. You did “drunk frat boy after eating a greasy pizza” type farts when you were less than a month old. They horrified everyone, and I’m pretty sure there were a few times people thought we were letting one rip and blaming it on the baby. I’m used to your “fahts” by now, so you’re not getting any claps on this one.
Sometimes kids want claps just for literally nothing — not for making a hoop for the umpteenth time or for flatulence. They just want claps and they want them now, dammit.
Before I develop carpal tunnel syndrome from all the clapping, maybe I should just download an Instant Audience app for my iPhone. Not only would there be lots of claps at the press of a button, but there could also be cheers and maybe even rebel yells. Or, if I’m lucky, maybe there would be boos and jeers that would come in handy for other situations — like being a sassypants or smudging my freshly cleaned glass door. Lazy parenting for the win!
Instead of asking what silly thing your kid likes to be clapped for, what do you do that deserves being clapped for once in a while?
A few weeks ago, I had fun with graphs. I showed that children are clingy as hell when you need them not to be. That was probably already a universal parenting truth, but the graph made it official. Today you get a few more graphs on parenting lessons I’ve learned. (And I had an idea for a cute pie chart, so there will probably be even more graphs in this blog’s future. Yay — I think?)
The first lesson I’ve learned has to do with puking in the car.
Back when Little Man was a baby, we bought a used car that was a few years old. It wasn’t overly nice, but the price was right, it was safe, and it got us where we needed to go. If something got spilled in it, it wasn’t a big deal — that kind of car. Care to guess how many times LM puked in that car? Once.
We now have a pretty new (we bought it brand new a year ago) and expensive (for us) car. It has all the bells and whistles, leather seats, and is just gorgeous. Now would you like to guess how many times that car has been puked in over the past year? Well over a dozen. The last time was yesterday, which just happened to be a few days after I cleaned it good and conditioned the leather. Little Man got car sick. He was able to get some of it in a paper bag, but as luck would have it, the bottom of the bag collapsed.
The next lesson has to do with diapers being soiled. This particular lesson is what made me take Baby Girl’s diapers a little earlier than planned, because I was annoyed with 30 cents worth of diaper being ruined in five minutes.
Baby Girl was one of those kids who often wouldn’t poop unless she had on a clean diaper. As soon as you’d take the diaper full of pee off, she’d work her magic and ruin a brand new diaper by crapping in it. This was true as a baby and true as a toddler. After we got to the point where I knew that she could tell me and use the toilet, that whole “get changed and squat” act started wearing thin. Diapers aren’t that expensive, but still.
The last one is something I’m sure all parents — heck, anyone who has ever given a child a gift — are familiar with.
That’s right — spend a buck on something and you’re guaranteed hours of play. Spend $50 on something and it might get played with a grand total of five minutes. Such was the case with Baby Girl’s birthday party over the weekend. We were supposed to have a pool party, but decided to move it indoors the morning of the party because of rain. We went to Walmart and bought some stuff to have indoors to make sure the kids would be entertained. We had a little bounce house that the toddlers spent a few minutes on, a bowling set that I don’t think anyone touched, a bean bag toss that wasn’t touched by anyone other than adults, and then we had some balloons and pool noodles that cost a grand total of $4. I don’t even have to say which items the kids gravitated to.
Any lessons or other universal parenting truths you’ve picked up on that you’d like to see in graph form in a future post?
Potty training is officially underway in the Dorky household. We stuck Baby Girl in underwear early last week. She’ll wear a pull-up when we leave the house and a diaper at night, but that’s it. Amazingly enough, so far, so good. She has one or two accidents most days, but has taken to it quite well. I rarely have to remind her to go on her own, either, and she was even dry one night this week. I think she’ll be there by the time preschool starts back up.
Like with anything else Baby Girl does, the potty training adventure has been quite amusing so far. She regularly gets cheered on for peeing or pooping in the potty, so she has been returning the favor.
Sometimes Baby Girl will walk around naked from the waist down. Since it’s warm, I’m not making her wear shorts inside, as there’s a good chance they’ll get soiled at some point during the day. She has taken this a step further, though. Occasionally she’ll ditch her Wonder Woman or Batman underwear and walk around with not a care in the world. My husband and I think it’s pretty funny, but Little Man? Not so much.
For the record, Little Man still doesn’t think much of streaking through the house after a shower if he forgets his pajamas. He’ll occasionally get modest and cover his chest, but that’s it. Pot meet kettle, Little Man.
My favorite part of potty training so far was when she attempted to use her potty in…the wrong way. I walked in to see this:
Little Man and my husband were in hysterics. I didn’t immediately get why and told her to get down, thinking that they shouldn’t be laughing at a toddler — whose sense of balance isn’t that great — standing on a flimsy plastic potty next to the fireplace. (I decided to stick her potty in the living room for the first few days so that it’d be more easily accessible to her. Kinda gross, but I think it helps having it closer for now.)
“She thinks she can pee standing up!” Little Man said, still cackling. Oh! She was trying to pee like a boy. I guess she’s walked in on her dad or brother and took notice. Sorry, Baby Girl — we can do almost anything they can do, except for that. Not without buying something like the GoGirl Female Urination Device, anyway.
Do you have any potty training adventures (or woes) you’d like to share?
In my post Rocking Motherhood, I briefly mentioned flaming doughnuts. Details were requested, so today you get the story. It’s less thrilling than it sounds, but I’ll happily give you the details. Those of you who follow my other blog are familiar with this story, so aside from the doodles, this will be a repeat for you.
Several months ago I decided to make my family a sweet treat. After looking around online, I found what was supposed to be a super easy doughnut recipe — no need for yeast or waiting for the dough to rise. I told the family over supper than I planned to make them. There was much excitement.
After we finished eating, I pulled out the ingredients, put a pot full of oil on the stove, set the burner to high, and started mixing everything (very carefully, I’ll add, so that I wouldn’t accidentally get my finger caught in the beater and beat it again). The consistency of the dough was off and was more like a thick pancake batter than something I could roll out, cut, etc., so I changed the game plan.
“Y’all, we’re having doughnut balls instead!” I called out. I figured I could just drop spoonfuls of the dough, shake some powdered sugar over them and no one would care too much that they weren’t O-shaped.
As I was finishing getting my dough ready, my husband came back into the kitchen and asked if the oil was supposed to be smoking.
“I think it’s just steaming. That means it’s ready for the dough,” I informed him.
After I finished mixing the dough, I dropped a spoonful in the oil, and it instantly turned dark and started smoking. This is where the thing certain people have said that annoys the hell out of me came into play — “you might be smart, but you don’t have much common sense.” Instead of taking the doughnut out of the oil and taking the pot off the burner, I started fumbling around with the window to open it to get the smoke out. Baby Girl started coughing in her high chair and yelled “Mommy!” at me, giving me a nasty look. I got her out and handed her off to my husband who had just come back in, and I told him to take the kids to another room. The fire alarm had also started going off by this point.
Finally it dawned on me to turn off the stove and remove the pot, so I did and headed to the backdoor to take it outside. Just as I made it to the door, I thought I saw the doughnut light up out the corner of my eye, but the flame went out quickly.
After mulling over what to do with my pot of ridiculous hot oil and charred doughnut hole, I decided to dump the contents over the back porch onto the ground. Fortunately, the ground was wet from the rain, so no more flames happened.
When I went back inside, it was pretty smoky. Little Man came running in with a bag over his head, calling it his breathing mask.
My husband took the kids down to his mom’s house for a couple of hours to give the house time to air out. When they came back, they made a big deal about being able to breathe again and gave me a lot of shit over the whole thing.
It was hard to be too annoyed with them since they were making a reference to The Office.
So, now you know the story of the time I almost burnt the house down trying to make doughnuts. You also know why I rarely fry foods and why I will always avoid jobs where I need to make split-second decisions.
On Friday I listed some of the ways that I’m rocking motherhood. Today — Father’s Day in the U.S. — it’s my husband’s turn to be in the spotlight. I’m going to share a few (of the many) ways that he rocks, plus include a couple of examples from the kids.
He is the king of impromptu dance parties. My husband will break into song and dance at a moment’s notice. Location does not matter — home, a friend’s house, the checkout line at Walmart…all have served as temporary dance clubs for him hundreds of times. I’m not gonna lie — sometimes I find this embarrassing depending on where we are and what’s going on. But you know what? He teaches our kids to be spontaneous, to live in the moment, and do what makes them happy. The kids love it and join in while their curmudgeon mom watches.
His mama bear mode is downright scary. Of the two of us, he’s definitely the one who’ll go mama bear on someone if he thinks they have wronged his kids, no matter how minor the transgression is. My husband is the shoot first (by “shoot” I mean ready to rip into someone) and ask questions later sort. Do. Not. Mess. With. His. Kids. Sometimes this is comical — especially when one of the injustices the kids claim to have suffered is total bullshit — but I know they’ll always take comfort in knowing they’ve got someone who will be in their corner no matter what.
He never scorches the grits. Certain individuals in this household — cough, myself — have a tendency to burn things. Not my husband. When you have a child who is the queen of picky eaters, it’s pretty important that the foods she will eat actually be edible (and not turn her off from eating them in the future). So it sounds silly, but he never scorches my daughter’s favorite food in the world — grits. He always makes them perfect, and he even discovered that he can scramble an egg and mash it up just so to add it in to sneak extra protein to Baby Girl.
He’s a big kid at heart. No one rocks play time better than my husband. I enjoy playing with my kids, but I’ll admit that there are some things that I just barely tolerate. That’s not the case with him, though. Whether they’re playing with the Peppa Pig figures, cars, or something mind-numbing like Candyland, he always gets into it. He’s a master of voices and sound effects, and the joy he takes in playing with his children is simply beautiful.
And now for some input from the kids:
“He holdsme.” I fully expected Baby Girl to say something about popsicles or ice cream when I asked her what her favorite thing about her daddy is, but this is what she chose. As safe as I find his arms, I can only imagine the comfort her tiny little self must find in them.
“He’s the best at cuddles.” This one is from Little Man — apparently my husband reigns supreme at the holding people game!
Happy Father’s Day to my husband and to all of the other loving, involved fathers and father figures out there!
Right now you’re probably thinking, “What kind of awful person writes a post about how she’s rocking the mom thing two days before Father’s Day? Thunder thief!” Well, no, you probably aren’t thinking that at all (unless your name is Monica Geller), but I needed to start this post off with something, and that works well enough.
So, now that the awkward opening paragraph is out of the way, I’d like to say thanks to Crystal who blogs at The Messy Truth of Mommyhood for including me in the #RockingMotherhood Challenge! Her blog is nothing short of awesome, and I encourage you to check it out.
The goal of this challenge is to list ten ways that you rock at motherhood, which is easier said than done, so you’ll get a mix of seriousness and silliness. Here goes…
I’ve got mad monster detecting skills. When Little Man was younger, he went through that phase of being scared of monsters being in his closet. We’re Lord of the Rings fans, so to allay his concerns, I got out my Sting replica sword. If you’re not a LOTR person, know that Sting was the sword (well, dagger, technically) that Frodo carried. Whenever orcs (big baddies) were nearby, the sword glowed blue to warn Frodo. I walked around Little Man’s bedroom and showed him that since my sword wasn’t glowing, there weren’t any monsters. It worked.
The kids are fed every day. Do I make cutesy foods? No — I’m pretty sure that I’d fail so badly that it’d make them less likely to eat their food. Do I burn the shit out of food? Sometimes — there was the flaming donuts incident. My food might not be artistic or non-scorched or exceptionally nutritious, but they do have full bellies — despite their claims of starvation directly before bedtime.
My kisses have healing powers. It doesn’t matter how bad the fall is, a kiss from their mommy makes everything better. Little Man might be getting older, but even he still finds comfort in a little peck on a banged up arm.
I can withstand certain methods of torture. Sleep deprivation. Eating at McDonald’s. Being forced to listen to the same song thousands of time. This is not an exaggeration — Baby Girl had had two “nighttime songs” for the past almost three years that help her go to sleep. One of those songs has been on repeat for most of the past two years for at least 20 minutes per night.
I teach them. I worked as an English teacher for one year before having Little Man. I used to say that I wouldn’t go back to teaching, but the joke’s on me — I never truly left. I teach kids every single day. Sure, that’s my job as a parent, but it’s one that I definitely rock. There are some things I wish I wouldn’t have taught them (like how to burp the alphabet), but as long as I can teach them self-love, it’ll more than even out.
My ninja skills are off the charts. So, I might not have the best sense of balance or be able to use nunchucks without hitting myself in the face (FYI — toy nunchucks hurt worse than toy swords), but I can totally dodge some puke. And even if I do catch some spatter, I’m usually quick enough to grab a towel or bucket or shift the kid away from me so that they aren’t going total Exorcist girl on me.
We laugh a lot in our household. Little Man once told me that while I’m not as funny as Dory in Finding Nemo, that I’m hilarious. Thanks, I guess? (No really, thanks — Almost Dory Funny is pretty damn good.) Laughing and cutting up is the norm for us, but let me tell you, being able to make your kids laugh is a great weapon to have in your parenting arsenal. Many meltdowns have happened in our home, but many meltdowns have always been avoided thanks to my goofy faces.
I encourage them to be creative. Sometimes that backfires a bit when Little Man comes home talking about using stuff on the playground to try to make weapons, but creativity is definitely valued in our home.
I have two little stalkers. This one is my husband’s. I asked him for some input, and after saying a few sweet things, he mentioned this one. “Surely that has to count for rocking motherhood,” he told me. Despite all the things I feel that I do wrong every day, I still have two little shadows who want to hang out with me in the bathroom after Taco Bell wreaks havoc on my intestines. That tells me I’m doing something right.
My kids are very compassionate. There’s no joke tied to this one. Teaching our kids to be compassionate to others is one of the most important things we can do as parents, and my kids regularly show compassion to others. This one isn’t so much #RockingMotherhood as it is #RockingParenthood.
The kids have great taste in music. My children have each had a Hanson song that had to be on repeat in the car this week. As a Hanson fan who won’t call herself a Fanson, but does have a Hanson Fan Club membership card in her desk drawer, this makes me happy. I’m pretty sure their dad wouldn’t say I’m rocking motherhood for this one. (For the record, they also like The Beatles, Radiohead, Weezer, and much more.)
Again, thanks to Crystal for including me on this challenge. I hope some of you other mom will participate and that some of you dads who are clearly rocking fatherhood will write the ways you’re #RockingFatherhood, especially with Father’s Day around the corner.
A few days ago, Little Man and I went out for dinner after his Parkour class. We got to talking to someone at the restaurant when he sort of bragged that his mom is a blogger. We were talking about Star Wars stuff, and after bragging that his whole family is a bunch of nerds, he backed that up by mentioning my blog.
The girl didn’t look terribly impressed. “Mommy blogger?” she asked with a hint of derision. (Okay, maybe that derision was imagined, but she definitely wasn’t impressed.)
“Eh. Something like that.” I’m not much of a mom blogger since you won’t get advice or read anything introspective here.
Little Man wasn’t feeling the eh, though. “She draws these AMAZING doodles! And they’re so funny!” he bragged.
I felt a surge of pride — here is my almost tween bragging about his mom to a complete stranger. It might not be anything bragworthy to other adults, and is light years away from being amazing, but I’ll sure as hell take it.
And then he added a warning:
No, he didn’t read the post where I mentioned a certain word being my favorite, but I have shared a few posts with him. (I usually just show him the doodles, though.) My use of “damn” or “hell” or whatever it was certainly didn’t get past him. Then again, this is the child who commented, “They said two cuss words” after watching The Force Awakens, so I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that he’s keeping a running tally for my blog.
(Is this what he talks about on the playground? Other kids talk about their moms doing crafts and stuff and Little Man talks about his cussing not-quite-a-mommy-blogger mom.)
I’ll take my Mom of the Year Award now.
Thanks for the promotion, Little Man. I think.
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