May 2009

Hey Florida! Are you ready for The Roberts?

We’re leaving this Thursday for 8 days of fun in the sun! It will be Max’s second or third trip to the beach and Kate’s first. Seeing as how she doesn’t like to be hot, cold, wet, dirty or generally inconvenienced in any way…this should be interesting. It’s a birthday celebration for my FIL…I won’t go into his age(you’re welcome Pop Pop), but I’ll just say it’s a “milestone birthday.” Needless to say, those “milestones” usually go down with a bang!

My only reservation is the plane ride. Max has always been good on planes, you just give him a few movies, snacks, and books and he’s ready to roll. Miss Thang, on the other hand, has proved a bit more challenging. Lately she has been absolutely un-entertainable. Is that a word? Well it should be because that’s EXACTLY what she is, un-entertainable. I can’t keep her attention longer than 10 minutes with any one thing, so I’ve been collecting an entire bag of new toys to hopefully make it through the hour and a half flight. I don’t know if you all read the previous post about our disaster plane ride to and from California…but I’m not looking forward to reliving it!

I am so determined to not have a repeat of the last disaster that I am procuring not one, but TWO portable DVD players. I don’t care what Ryan says, I need to do everything I can to entertain them as much as possible to maintain the peace..if not for myself then for the other passengers! I know, I know, your next question is, “But why can’t they just watch the same movie?” That WOULD be nice wouldn’t it? Too bad my kids didn’t get the memo entitled, “Let’s just give mom a break and be reasonable about the whole thing.” Nope. My kids like completely different shows. Max is a Caillou, Wow Wow Wubzy man, and Kate is a Yo Gabba Gabba and Dora enthusiast…and so it begins.

We were suppose to go to Hawaii, but the thought of 10 hours on a plane with my children disturbed me so deeply, that I ended up in the fetal position sucking my thumb and singing “Hush Little Baby.” I think everyone took pity on me and humored me with a much shorter trip to Florida. I am grateful, cause just the thought of a 10 hour plane ride…just…Uh-oh, I’m feeling a strong urge to find a cool, dark corner.

I’m no expert

Shocking, I know. However, the reality is that whether you have one child or ten children, we never really become the expert parents that we so desire to be. As a matter of fact, as soon as you start to actually say to yourself, “Oh, I know JUST what to do here. No problem, seen it a hundred times,” life throws another curve ball and your stuck chanting the mantra of newbie parents everywhere, “WhatdoIdowhatdoIdoCrapCrapWhatdoIdo?!?!!”

I was chanting just that mantra this morning when I went into Kate’s room to discover the most rancid, aweful smell emanating from her pants. She’s been really picky about eating for the past few days…so much so, that she’s only wanted green beans and strawberries. She’s also had a very, very mild off-and-on fever, but I thought it was just a teething thing because, you know, I AM the expert…right?

Wrong! As soon as I picked her up and took her to the changing table, I knew I was in over my head. Imagine the nastiest diaper possible…now multiply by 100 and THAT’S what was waiting for me at 8:00 AM from the sweetest, cherubic face imaginable. I’ve never seen anything like it and that includes having had a boy first. I was shocked, appalled and completely freaked out.

WhatdoIdowhatdoIdoCrapCrapWhatdoIdo?!?!

Needless to say I pulled myself together and managed to clean it up, but the whole thing got me thinking that maybe, just maybe I’m not the totally-awesome-has-it-together expert mother that I had tricked myself into believing. As a matter of fact, what do I ACTUALLY know about parenting? So I had to wrack my brain and think of a few things that I know, without a doubt, about parenting. Otherwise, I might as well hand in my Mother Card and call it a day. Please do enjoy:

1)Getting peed on is WAY preferrable to the alternative.
3)It is acceptable to allow another kid shove or yell at your child, but kicking and punching is when you intervene.
4)Sometimes ear infections present as crankiness and low grade fevers instead of the traditional symptoms.
5)Television is not a bad way to distract for 30 minutes…or so.
6)Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle
7)Every fall, bump, scrape and booboo can magically be fixed with a kiss.
8)Never feel stupid for taking your kid to see the doctor and don’t let anyone else make you feel stupid or hysterical…listen to your instincts.
9)Tell your kid about the playdate ON THE DAY OF, not before…just in case you can’t deliver.
10)No two kids are alike, even if they are siblings.
11)Discipline is just another arm of love.
12)Cleaning up poop in the bathtub is not as hard, or disgusting, as you would think.
13)No matter how much you clean your child, he/she will ALWAYS manage to find the dirt and sit and/or roll in it.
14)Infants can’t focus on more than two things at a time, so bouncing, swaying and singing all at the same time will quiet ANY colicky baby.
15)Sometimes you just gotta go with your gut instead of what the books, mom’s and friends are telling you.

I take it back…

I’m going to do something on this blog that I rarely ever do(mostly because I never really have to). I’m going to take it back and say I was….wait for it….wrong. Yes, I’m taking back every praise I ever uttered about that damn Wii. In a previous post, I suggested that it was a good thing for our family. I even went so far as to claim that it was fun. Well folks, we are four months into having that demonic device and I can safely say the only things that have come out of the Wii are 1)shouting, 2)temper tantrums 3)crying and 4)power struggles.

It’s gotten so bad I had to develop a “Behavior Chart” to reward my 4 year old for things he should ALREADY be doing! Pre-Wii, things were actually going pretty smooth. He was listening to me; we were agreeing on most things; the temper tantrums had waned…it was like a freakin 80s sitcom around here! Post-Wii has been a completely different story as he has reverted back to the tantrums and screaming about playing Mario Kart all day. If I tell him to turn it of, it’s a knock down, drag out battle of the vocal cords.

So, what is a behavior chart? It is much like a potty chart that rewards stickers for good behavior. We call ours the “No Fits” chart. At the top I drew pictures of everything we fight about and down the side I listed the days of the week. Once he fills his chart with stickers, he can go pick out a toy. As I was drawing the pictures for the top I realized that, “Damn. We fight about everything. It’s an all day event!” I’ve got pictures of: eating breakfast, getting dressed, going to school, sitting on the potty, playing the Wii, getting in the bath, going to bed, running errands and listening to me. Yup, that basically sums up our entire day.

No Fits!!
No Fits!!

However, I am happy to report that the chart has been very helpful this week. I noticed that Max and I are a little nicer to each other, a little slower to snap, and all around pleasant again. Of course, he has off days and so do I, but I think it’s been a HUGE benefit in the long run. If he starts to throw a fit about something, I just threaten to take away a sticker or, worse yet, not even GIVE him a sticker and he straightens up….usually. So we’ll see how this plays out. Could be the best thing we’ve done or it could turn into yet ANOTHER chapter in our book called, “Max and Mommy: Living with laughter, intensity and power struggles.”