Being a Mom

Oh NO She Didn’t!

I think I was harder on Max than I am on Kate. He was so obviously strong-willed and defiant, that I had to be on my game. We had a clear set of rules and a warning system in place by the time he was 22 months. First I would give him a warning and if he didn’t stop the behavior, then I counted to three. If I got to three, then he went to timeout. Kate’s discipline strategy has been somewhat different in that there hasn’t really been any strategy involved at all.

Miss Thang is currently terrible two-ing all over the place. In Target, Walgreens, Starbucks parking lots, home, other people’s homes etc….she is an equal opportunity terrorist. She’s screaming, throwing things, kicking, well, you get the general idea. The bizarre thing about it is that I am just kinda taking it. I have started to feel like I have PTSD with my toddler. Every time I hear that scream, I instinctively duck because I know she’s about to launch a foreign object in my general direction. Sheesh!

I would never have let Max act the way Kate’s been acting. Case in point, I tried to go to the gym this morning and she threw a whopper of a tantrum on the way in. I mean that diva plopped her size 24 month butt down in the parking lot, took off her shoe and threw it at an innocent passer by! Since that didn’t make as drastic of a statement as she desired(I believe she mistook my stunned immobility as a sign of apathy), she then sprawled out and smacked her head on the sidewalk to emphasize her point.

Well, after today’s incident I’ve decided enough is enough. Neither my time nor my workout schedule will be hijacked by a demanding diva toddler. I’m taking a stand and going back to the system that worked with Max. I’ll fill you in on the progress, but my mommy instinct tells me that Miss Thang is not going to take too kindly to imposing rules and regulations. I will either swim or sink…maybe she’ll be so kind as to throw a floatation device at my head if it’s the latter.

I Confess…

1) Sometimes I like to pinch my kids because they’re so freakin’ cute.

2) Sometimes I turn on Yo Gabba Gabbe two, maybe three times in a row if they’re both feelin it.

3) I think all babies should be fat…like REALLY fat.

4 ) A naked baby booty must be squeezed immediately, even if it’s not one of my kids’.

5) Sometimes my kids have chicken nuggets for dinner five nights in a row.

6) Sometimes I feel like hiding from them.

7) I love to watch them when they don’t know I’m watching…it’s usually a highlight of the day.

8) I thought I was a patient person until I had kids.

9) I sometimes tell other mothers I don’t let them watch Spongebob, but I do.

10) It’s crazy how two little beings can be so completely adorable yet outrageously frustrating at the same time.

Max’s Top 10 Hits

So, I’ve stated in previous posts that I don’t listen to children’s music…I just can’t do it. Lord knows I’ve tried, but I love music too much to listen to a chorus of not-my-children singing “Old MacDonald” over and over and over and over and over again. Instead, I’ve made it a point to crank the radio during a particularly awesome song, while I point out why said song is so awesome. After making a mixed CD of some of Max’s favorites, I am beginning to rethink my strategy. Here is a list of his top 10 Favorites:

1)Boom Boom Pow by the Black Eyed Peas. A fun dance song that he refers to as ‘his’ song.

2)Right Round by Flo Rida. Another fun song, but I have a sinking suspicion it’s not about dancing at all…

3)I Know You Want Me(Calle Ocho) by Pitbull. At least that’s mostly in Spanish, so neither me nor Max know the vulgar, Spanish things coming out of his mouth.

4)Dead and Gone by T.I. featuring JT. At least Max doesn’t understand what T.I. is talking about when he raps about driveby shooting retaliation, but neither do the millions of other white dudes who’ve propelled this song to the top of the charts, yet THEY still love it too.

5)Poker Face by Lady GaGa. Ummm, I think he might be gay…

6)My Life Would Suck Without You by Kelly Clarkson. It’s probably not a good idea to condone a four year old shouting “SUCK” at the top of his lungs.

7)Don’t Trust Me by 3OH!3. The only part he likes is, “Shush girl, shut yo lips. DOOO the Helen Keller, and talk with your hips.” Oh come on, that doesn’t even make sense!

8)Halo by Beyonce. Oh thank God something normal. Except he loves the high-noted runs the best…again, back to the gay question mark(Not that there’s anything WRONG with that).

9)Clumsy by Fergie. There is entirely too much Fergie on this list. Unacceptable Max…un-ac-ceptable.

10)Blame It by Jamie Foxx. Oh crap, I’m a terrible mother.

The Walgreens Lady

We were in Walgreens yesterday to pick up a few things. Max loves Walgreens. Everytime we go, he loves wandering the isles and directing me as to which isle we should head down next. Yesterday, he was particularly “excited” to be there-demonstrated by the bouncing, chattering skipping and fondling of various items. You know, typical boy stuff. We proceeded to the check-out where an older, pink haired lady awaited with a look of pure dread…almost like I was rolling a dead, mangled body in my shopping cart. The following conversation ensued:

Max-LookMommy!MOOMMMEEEYYYlookatthecandycanIhavesomecandy? OooohhhhhlookMommywhat’sthatcanIhaveoneofthosetooMOOMMMEEEYYY!(Notice these should probably be sentences, but they come out as one, long word when Max gets in the zone).

Me-No Max, you don’t need any candy. No you can’t have that. Please come over here, I can’t see you.

Kate-EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKK!

Me-Good grief Katie, I…

Max-MOOMMMEEEYYYlookatmeI’mcrawlinglikeasnakeooohhhI’mafrognow…

Lady-My. Um. He sure is busy isn’t he?

Me-Yes, they’re BOTH busy. Heh, heh.

Lady-You’ve certainly got your hands full.

Me-(Courteous laugh) I sure do.

Katie-EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK

Lady-(Pausing for the ringing in her ears to stop) I don’t think I could do it.

Me-(Courteous, strained laugh)

Lady-I mean, they would drive me crazy.

Me-(Waiting for the “But they sure are cute” qualifier)

Lady-They’re just SO loud….Ya know?

Me-Not as loud as your 57 cats you old spinster windbag….

Well, that last bit was only in my head, but it’s what I ALMOST said had Max not run out the front doors pushing a shopping cart and screaming, “Lookit’sarollercoster!” Oy.

When Babies Attack…

I thought this was an interesting story on www.msnbc.com. It’s a story regarding how many injuries mothers sustain from their children. All accidental, of course, but it made me think about my own children. In particular the ER visit I endured during the first day of our Florida vacation.

There we were in the KFC in Navarre, Florida, and Max insisted that he had to go to the potty. After less than two seconds of peeing(he’s REALLY into inspecting each establishment’s bathroom ambiance everywhere we go), he walked out of the stall and proceeded to slam the door shut on my index and middle finger. There may not be anything more disconcerting than having to open a two inch steel door to retrieve your fingers…well, unless you’re THIS chick. Anyway, we rushed off to the Urgent Care-which we had earlier joked about in the car, “Oh, there’s the Urgent Care in case one of our KIDS gets hurt. Har-dee-har-har.” Ugh.

Three stitches, countless tears and a little Tylenol Codeine later, mommy was right with the world. My index finger will always bare the scar of my time in Florida, but at least Max got to see what the sh@%%er looked like.

Accessories!

Kate is a little girl after my own heart…not even 2 years old and she’s already accessorizing.

What you can’t see in the picture is her matching bracelet, Uggs and wide belt…Hee,hee! I can’t get over how different boys and girls are. Max makes sound effects as he runs his cars and Batmobile around. Katie wakes up and goes straight to her necklace, sunglasses and kitchen.

Now that I know she’s an accessorizing kinda girl, I just have to instill the infamous and oh-so-true words by Coco Chanel, “When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on.” Words to live by my friends.

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.”

Here’s what I know for sure….

So, last weekend I went on a much needed, MUCH deserved girls weekend in Austin, Texas. Most of us were mothers, so you can imagine the craziness and chaos that ensued when we arrived in A-Town for a little R&R. You guessed it, window shopping by day and Jazz Clubs by night….CRAZY! Anyway, I left my two precious children in the care of their dad, AKA “Mr Fun.” Now, I understand that dads usually don’t parent like mothers. When I mean “parent,” I’m more referring to the sort of non-essentials of parenthood: bathing, clean clothes, regulating TV time, etc. I returned on Sunday and here’s what I know for sure, it all looked seemingly fine…at first glance.

The house was actually not that messy, the kids were happy, dad was happy, dog was happy. However, I noticed that the kids were both in the PJs from the night I left. Okay…not such a big deal, it WAS the weekend after all! Then I noticed the half eaten dinners on the table were mac and cheese and cheese quesadillas. Oooohhhh-kay, I would not necessarily have chosen processed cheese and carbloading our children before bedtime…but hey, they were all happy and content so who am I to judge.

But something was off and I couldn’t put my finger on it…then it hit me. When I left, Max needed help playing Mario Kart. It’s a pretty tough game for a 3 year old because you have to have good spacial and motor skills to actually maneuver the game AND drive the courses. When I returned from my weekend away, I noticed Max was sitting on the couch playing Mario Kart all by himself. There he was….sitting there in his PJs, socks pulled up to his shins, and staring intensely at the television with the focus of Mario Andretti. He kinda looked like that brother or husband’s friend who stays with you while he “looks for a job,” but decides that free rent at Chez Roberts is way better than actually looking for employment. So I asked Ryan, “Umm…exactly how much Mario Kart did he play?” Ryan proceeded to inform me that Max pretty much hasn’t left the couch in two days.

Well, I thought this was funny. I mean, what’s the harm right? Wrong. It has been four, long(oh so long) days that I’ve been weening Max off of Mario Kart. I liken it to that scene in Trainspotting where he’s detoxing from herion…and it ain’t pretty. To make matters worse, today I allowed a bit of Mario Kart(just to take the edge off), and I walked away to put Katie down for her nap. I returned to the family room and noticed the screen…Max was embattled with another player halfway around the world! Some person named “Dash” was playing MY 3 year old in a Mario Kart race to the finish! I immediately pulled the plug mid-race and a fleeting, yet amusing thought, ran through my brain, “I wonder if Dash knew he was playing a 3 year old….” I sternly looked at Max(who was innocently staring back) and said to him, “Now, I DO NOT want you to play with the other players….I ONLY want you to play with yourself.” Yeah.

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