Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap Your Hands

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?

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Lessons I’ve Learned

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? 

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Family Vacation

The family and I are headed to Myrtle Beach tomorrow morning. Well, the plan is to head out tomorrow morning, but if I know my slow, disorganized family well at all, then we probably won’t make it out the door until after lunchtime. Drama over how many toys a child is allowed to bring will almost surely happen. If we’re lucky, though, maybe we’ll remember to bring our underwear, bras, and swimsuits. Somehow those things always get left behind and a trip to Target is necessary. Sometimes I think my husband believes I intentionally forget things just so we can stop at Target, but that isn’t the case.

Those of you who read my post about my and my husband’s anniversary trip know that we had a relaxing time at Myrtle Beach a week and a half ago. It was amazing. No “I hate the water!” or “I hate the sand!” or “Hey, I’ve got poops!” to get in the way of relaxation. (Well, no poops that I had to manage, anyway.)

This coming week will be different. Very different. I have no doubt that we’ll have an amazing time and make some wonderful memories, but y’all know how it is with little kids. They’ll try their damnedest to make sure relaxing doesn’t happen and make sure the bags under your eyes pre-vacation are twice as big post-vacation. Mama’s got an umbrella drink? Let’s get sand in it. Daddy’s trying to listen to music for a few minutes? Let’s get sand on him. We’re all nice and clean and ready to go out for a good meal? Let’s get sand coordinate meltdowns of epic proportions so Mom and Dad get to do the walk of shame and haul us out.

Remember this?

Things are definitely gonna change.

Bye bye, relaxation.

Bye bye, voodoo juice bucket (most likely).

Okay, maybe the shade and the beach bag won’t really disappear, but only crossing out one or two things wasn’t as dramatic.

Hello, family vacation.

And hello, judgmental strangers.

Not pictured is the fishing rod and net that Little Man wants to bring. I imagine that he’ll inspire a doodle with those.

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The Science Of Clinginess

We all know that there is a direct correlation between phone calls and the loudness level of kids. The more important the phone call — such as test results from the doctor — the louder the squeals and demands for snacks or drinks right now become. Unfortunately, such correlations exist in other areas as well.

You can also see this post for proof of this.

See, it’s all their fault that Clothes Mountain exists.

The only way I can get any business done — whether it’s business or bathing — in private is for the house to be empty.

There are many other examples. Maybe one day I’ll doodle them when I’m trying to take the lazy way out with doodles. (And if you have any good ones, write them below and I’ll doodle those, too, which means double doodling laziness.)

Oh, and since the first one applies right now (hello, sinus crud and chest cold crud), getting this post completed was difficult. Plus I was trying to do something, which means double trouble. At the time this post was being written, Baby Girl was having a fit for me to talk to Siri. The more I tried to concentrate on writing/doodling, the more important it became for me to talk to Siri like Darth Vader.

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#AtoZChallenge: Whew, It’s Over!

April was a fun, albeit challenging, month. Who’d have thunk it, a challenge being challenging? Gasp!

Even though I started out with a topic for every post planned, that changed 20 times out of 26, and I ended up writing something on the fly. I suck at planning blogs; something that seems funny or interesting at the moment might not seem so funny or interesting in a week or two. As such, a handful (or two) of my posts were published shortly before midnight. One post was finished after midnight, but I cheated and changed the publish time to earlier. For shame! (I’ll also cheat at Monopoly, so don’t let me be the banker.)

I’ve done A to Z Challenges in the past on my old blog, and I enjoyed this one just as much as those. My only regret was not being able to keep up with as many other A to Z blogs as I would have liked. I started strong, but life happened. Maybe next year April will be less hectic on my end, or maybe I’ll find a couple of extra hours in my day. Or — more unlikely — I’ll plan and keep up with things better.

In case you’re new here and don’t feel like going back through all the posts, here is a summary of which posts were the most well-received through the month. I’ll include one of the doodles from each post, and you can click the link to read more if you want.

The post with the most likes was A is for Alphabet Store. This was on the first day of the challenge, so I don’t know if that’s why it performed so well or if some of y’all were just, ah, thirsty.

The most commented upon post was B is for Bulba. Kids learning about their anatomy is always good for a laugh.

And the post with the most views was A is for Alphabet Store, with D is for Dark Knight on its heels.

The post that I enjoyed creating the most was J is for Joker, mostly because the creepy Joker-Wonder Woman mashup cracks me up every time I see it.

Thanks for sticking with me through the month!

What was your favorite post that you created for the A to Z Challenge? Share below, if you’d like!

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#AtoZChallenge: W is for Wonder Woman

For Baby Girl’s first Halloween, I wanted all of us to dress up like characters from the Justice League or Star Wars. The family that nerds together — whether the youngest can comprehend what we’re dressing up as or not — stays together, right? (That didn’t happen then, since some individuals were non-compliant, but we did do a superhero theme for this past Halloween.)

When I was discussing Halloween costumes with the six-year-old Little Man back in 2014, I mentioned that I might dress up as Wonder Woman — and by dressing up, I meant wearing a Wonder Woman t-shirt and maybe a tiara. No bikinis or skirts or anything else form-fitting for this fluff mana.

Like many young kids, Little Man didn’t have much of a filter and would sometimes say anything that popped in his head. He also tended to take things very literally at times. (Both are still true to a degree, but he does try to be more careful about blurting things out.) As such, my Wonder Woman costume was shot down.

Well damn. No Lasso of Truth for me and my non-gravity defying derriere.

He did offer an alternative solution though:

This pleased me, since my son thought I was badass enough to go as the Dark Knight. I’m not the biggest Batman fan, but I will admit that his coolness factor is up there. That moment didn’t last long, though, as he followed that up with:

Thanks, kid! I guess a grappling hook would have been out of the question, too.

(For the record, when I did dress up as Wonder Woman this past Halloween, there were no objections.)

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#AtoZChallenge: U is for Uh…

Yesterday I mentioned how both of my kids have mad skills where talking is concerned. It’s like their mouths are driven by motors, and there is no off switch. That gets a little overwhelming at times for this introvert, but generally I’m pretty enthralled with their chatter (which you can probably tell given that my A to Z Challenge theme is Things Kids Say), since much of what comes out of their mouth is either interesting or funny or so smart.

For example, a couple days ago, Little Man was telling his sister how amazing she was for building something with Legos. That boy has become a Jedi master at making my heart melt. And then the kids were chatting away over what they wanted to be when they grow up when Baby Girl told Little Man not to be a scientist, but to be a doctor like her because he’s a big boy, which made me giggle.

Other times, though, they leave me speechless or monosyllabic, at least. “Huh?” “You what?” or “Uh…” while my brain scrambles to process what I just heard. I feel like my brain has been in the “Uh…” mode for most of the past two years with all the political craziness, so you’d think that I’d be a pro and react a little faster by now, but not really.

The first “Uh…” doodle for today was a couple years ago, when I was planning Little Man’s birthday party…

That’s me, your friendly neighborhood hacker mom.

And then there was this one, when Little Man was five.

Well played, kid.

The last one falls under the “Uh…” and “Gross” umbrella as quite a few posts Baby Girl related have.

This wasn’t as bad as the poop tasting, but is still pretty damn gross. In case you were wondering, after recovering from the initial shock, I got her foot out of her mouth and grabbed the clippers to trim the dead skin away.

What have your kids said that leaves you speechless (or close to it)?

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