Catching up


Ive been the worst blogger lately. Okay, so not quite the very worst, but the fact that there hasn’t been a post since April and they were pretty sporadic for a few months before that speaks volumes. But! I was still maintaining some level of internet presence, by sharing funny situations that came up or things my kids said. I hope for this to one day become a sort of way for my little beasties to know how life was before they hit the big “record” button in their brains, so I’m just going to take this space up with a bit of an update. If this is the absolute least fun and it’s too long, skim it or skip it! We’ll be back to normal length blogs in no time! :)

January-

“Mom, I don’t think you can fit through there.”
“Through where?”
“The door.”
(Ok, I know I could stand to skip a meal or two, but geez!)
“What?”
“You can’t fit so you don’t have to leave anywhere for a while.”

The hubby walked in and caught our oldest (3.5) having, ahem, *relations* with a cup in the bathtub last night. I suppose we need to teach him to hang a sock on the door?

I handed a glass of juice to Bear, and Dash exclaimed, “Hey, that’s MY douche!”
Bear and I exchanged a look, suppressing a laugh.
“Oh, I mean juice! It’s not douche, it’s juice.”
Whew. That’d be one helluva mix-up.

I had a friend in town to visit, and although they’ve only even met a couple of times, Dash demanded that he wanted to go home to L.A. with his “Uncle.” Isn’t preschool a little young to be trying to move out?

February-

We were all sitting around the kitchen table and I was trying to explain that there was a point before Ozzie was a part of our family. I finished with, “that’s why he wasn’t here.”
Without missing a beat, Dash said, “Yeah, he was in Mexico!”

Dash calls our pantry “the bakery.” It makes it sound like we have a much less processed diet. Yes, even our crackers are fresh from the bakery.

Ozzie keeps telling me my coffee is “hottie.” I know they say, ‘You are what you eat.’ Can we also be what we drink?

March-

Remember before kids, when it was easy to marathon right through a season of [insert favorite show]? Now I am hoping to get one episode in before the kids wake up, because there’s no way I can actually watch anything that isn’t animated once they’re around.

I forgot about the time springing forward and got really excited for a minute when I thought the boys let me sleep in until 7. I looked at my husband and said “Yay! Maybe this is the beginning of them sleeping a little later. Maybe they won’t be up at 6 for the rest of my life!” He just gave me a flat look and said, “Time changed.” Le sigh.

“We found a really fun game! We fall down!”
“Then what?”
“Then we laugh!”

“Want some milk?”
“Yes! I want milk every hecking day!”
Oh, kids. Coming up with their newfangled phrases and being all jiggy and rad.

April-

“I want to stay home, you and my brother can go out by yourself. I’m a man now. Mans can stay home.”
My 3yo is feeling pretty independent. That or he thinks I’m crazy enough to unleash him on the house unchecked!

I’m sick, the boys are wild animals, and I turned to a halls cough drop for a little relief. The wrappers have inspiring quotes, and mine said, “Buckle down and go forth!” Well to that I say STOP JUDGING ME, HALLS! I’M HAVING A ROUGH DAY!

We’re watching Dennis the Menace, and out of the blue Dash asks, “Can I have my bow and arrows today?” I’m a little afraid considering source of his idea!

Dash told me his kids will be robots. So I guess he’s *really* into computers.

May-

“Mom, why was Daddy driving in his car with no pants?”
“Come again?”
“He was in his car.”
“And…”
“He was driving!”
“Uh huh.”
“And he wasn’t wearing pants so he had room to dance around!”
“Was this in a dream?”
“No, that’s silly. “
“But it’s not silly to drive around without any pants on?”
“Yes! Because there’s not a lot of room for dancing if you have pants all over your legs!”

Every night, Dash gets out of bed a few times to play in the bathroom and put off sleep. He invokes this ritual by asking to “go potty” because he knows we won’t deny him that. Tonight was the first time Ozzie tried to get in on this. Nice try kid, but you don’t get to try that oh-so-clever trick until you’re out of diapers!

Yesterday we were at the grocery store and they had an area for kids to decorate cupcakes for Mother’s Day. Ozzie mostly just ate sprinkles while Dash decorated. This led to greenish teal poop today. For Mother’s Day, he made me something *extra* special!

I walked into the kitchen and saw little feet poking out from behind the island, and ravenous “mmmm, yummy! Om, mmmm, nom nom!” sounds were coming from the same area. I assumed the boys were tearing into some chips or chocolate. I peeked around to see Ozzie going to town on some leeks from the garden. Parenting win!

Dash: When you give a girl some of your drink, she will be nice to you.
Me: It’s always nice to share.
Dash: When you give her the drink, you have to tell her not to hog it though.
me: well, you probably don’t need to say anything unless there’s a problem.
Dash: yeah, if there’s a problem. Like if she was trying to kiss me, that’s a problem. I just want to share and be nice, I don’t want her kissing me. She’s a girl!

The boys were fighting and I was in the process of brokering a peace agreement:
“Will you accept your brother’s apology?”
“No. I don’t like de’cepting his ‘pologies.”
“Why?”
“Because… I don’t remember why I’m mad!”

June-

The worst part about my kids asking for water 500x per day is that even though I know they will a) take a sip and then leave it somewhere to be knocked over; b) not even take a sip before leaving it somewhere; c) pour it on themselves and freak out, and also need new clothes; or d) pour it out somewhere and likely destroy something….. even knowing this, I can’t deny them a drink of water because even *prisoners* get as much water as they want.

To give them renewed interest in some of their old toys, I made the boys a little track to drive on. And it’s just masking tape, so it took 5 minutes to make, and will be just as easy to clean up!

Dash showed me that my artistic skills need honing. When he saw me making the parking lot spaces he said, “It’s a piano! How do cars play a piano?”

Ozzie isn’t usually the destructive one, but this AM he decided to step up his game. he dumped an entire container of mineral makeup all over the bed, window sill, and curtains. For those of you who have mineral makeup, you know that it is somehow magically clingy in a way that normal powders aren’t. This is the ONE time I wish my makeup would just come off with no effort.

July-

An overnight beach trip with the boys means eating out. There are only so many ways to nicely say, “Please don’t lick the ketchup cup.” I’m pretty sure they’re doing it on purpose.

“Mom, everyone knows you’re a girl. “
“Yes, they probably do.”
“That means they know you have a vagina!”
“… uh, yes. Just like all girls.”
“That’s so funny. And you have a butt!”

Dash and Ozzie are using pipe cleaners and pasta strainers to do a little exercise in fine motor coordination. They had a blast!

Today Dash made me the proudest Mom on the planet. Out of the blue he asked for a “stesto-scope” and proceeded to explain that he needs to be able to look through the scope and see tiny germs because he can’t see them without it. I pointed out that what he wants is a microscope, and he said, “I KNOW, mom. And we need one, so we better go to a office because offices have them.” Not even 4yrs old, already a scientist.

The boys enjoy tomato soup, but I should’ve known the second helping Ozzie begged for wasn’t going to be eaten.

Dash and Ozzie had a blast splashing around in the wading pool at Pioneer park! I’m still waiting for Ozzie to grasp that water filled with dozens of grubby children is not the best for drinking.

While enjoying some cottage cheese, Dash asked what it was made of. I told him it’s made of cow’s milk. He said, “Aaaaand leaves! They use them to tickle the cow until he laughs and laughs and his milk turns into lumps.” His way sounds way more fun than reality so I just said, “Only girl cows make milk, but I suppose they might use leaves.”
“Oh, they do. I know it.”

August-

“If you want to stomp, get off of the deck. You can stomp on the lawn.”
“But that doesn’t even make too much noise!”

Ozzie wouldn’t sleep in his bed, or sleep in Dash’s bed, or even sleep in my bed. The only place he wanted to nap? Curled up next to the dirty laundry basket. Go figure!

Me:”Please don’t put your butt on the pillow.”
Dash, very offended: “My butt is not a butt! It’s a bottom!”
Ozzie, in a tone of recrimination: “Butt, butt, Mama!”
…At least they have each other’s backs.

When I told Dash he was officially 4 now, he said, “Wait, is four big? I think four is really big.” I told him four is as big as he’s ever been and he said, “I knew it! I thought I was really big, and I was!”

September-

Children have a sixth sense that tells them when their parents want them up early, because those are the ONLY days they sleep in.

“Mom?”
“Yeah buddy?”
“I just wanted to give you a hug. I don’t want to pinch you on your boobie or anything.”
“Um… okaaaaaay.”
I can’t help but feel like I’ve missed something here.

Iggy Azalea was on the radio and Dash called out over the music, “Why is she saying ‘I wear panties?’ This is a weird song!”

Ozzie (2) has heard Dash telling people he’s four now and so insists he’s also four. He can’t stand to be younger. If only they understood there’s a point where older is no longer better, it’d blow their little minds.

Dash came downstairs wearing angry bird boxer briefs and asked, “Can I just wear this today? I’m really comfortable.”

Ozzie snuck a green bell pepper and was eating it like an apple. Best part? He was just so excited that I let him keep it (since cookies are always confiscated), he actually finished it rather than taking a few mouse nibbles before abandoning it.

Dash learned an unpleasant lesson about how a wasp will react when you attempt to “clap” it. Hint: it isn’t with a polite request to leave it be.

“Dad, I took off my sweatshirt because my pants were getting too hot in there.”

October-

Dash-“I know why you got this string cheese, Mom. Because you love me!”
Me-“I do love you. I also got it for Daddy because he likes it. And I love him.”
Ozzie-“No! Don’t talk my Daddy like that!”
Me-“Don’t talk about Daddy like that? Hey, Bear, at least he has your back.”
Ozzie (indignant, touching Dash’s back)-“I my back! And my bruhr back!”
It’s a good thing this new baby is a girl. I need an ally; the boys gang up even when there’s no conflict!

This morning Dash woke up, climbed into my bed, and said “Let’s call Nana!” It was 6 am for us, which made it 5 am for her. I told him it’s way too early to make calls to Alaska. He came up with the best reasoning, “Oh. I bet they can’t get a signal when it’s so dark. The signal can’t see how to get to her house.”

“When I grow up, my kids will have a great toybox.”
I misheard him, so I asked, “Why should it be grey?”
“No, great! It’s gonna have arms!”
“A toybox with arms?”
“So they can pick up all the toys. That way I don’t have to clean up the toys before I go to work.”
“You could have your kids help clean up like you do now.”
“No way! The arms can do it.”

I met up with another mom to buy some used baby items. The boys were playing in the car in the driveway with the doors open while I was with her in her garage, gathering the items and paying her. As we drove away, Dash said, “I should tell you I had to go potty.” I told him we’d be home in a minute, where he could go. He said, “No, I went already.” With an inward sigh I asked where, imagining a wet spot lurking in the car. “On the grass in the lady’s yard.”

What’s with almost every kids movie having at least one parent either dead or else just gone? Or bonus to the ones with two parents who die in the beginning! Way to set up parents everywhere to have a hard talk at the beginning of every movie. Especially considering they probably put it on just trying to get a moment’s peace.

….And now we’re caught up! Whew :) Hopefully now I won’t feel like there’s a glaring hole from April to nearly November. I mean realistically there is still the hole in posts, but now it won’t be glaring. Right? I’m going with it.

Nitpicking Nutrition


It’s very ironic how much time I spend thinking about what the meals in the house are made up of. Does it have enough protein? Too much starch? Is it at least half fruits and veggies in my kids diet? Ok, at least a third? And yet I find myself eating mindless, crappy foods.

I’m one of those terrible, horrible moms who give their kids junk sometimes. They have had a happy meal or two in their lives, and I’m sure they’ll eat worse. But when we’re home I try to give them well-rounded meals comprised of things that are mostly good, healthy choices. So yes, they get chicken nuggets, but they’re the all natural ones with whole wheat breading. Or they get greek yogurt instead of the kind with half as much protein and twice the sugar. When they get a fruit cup, it’s the kind packed in fruit juice instead of syrup. We get the all natural mac n’ cheese rather than the kind from kraft. You get the picture.

But with all of the planning and preparation, the label comparisons and substitutions I make are almost always when I’m planning to feed someone else. Maybe I’m not feeling hungry when I wake up and feed the kids eggs and english muffins, so I just have coffee. But then when I am hungry, the kids are on my heels. I don’t really have time to go making an elaborate meal, so it’s just a granola bar, or a cookie.When I’m cleaning up after cooking a meal, the kids are eating. Then I find myself eating over the sink, while watching them run off to play again. It seems like some catastrophe is always more likely if I take a minute to actually sit at the table, so it’s rarely a risk I’m willing to take.

 

By the end of the day I’m fried and no wonder! I’m running on fumes, but giving the kids healthy energy sources.  They’re ready to take on the world while I’m just counting down until bedtime. I turn to sugar to pep myself up, and it’s just a cycle of junk.

I think I need to have a nutritionist follow me around smacking away chips and handing me carrots in their place. If she does dishes, that’d be even better!

 

Throwing Our Money Away


I’ve come to the conclusion that things I have always known since I was a little kid are still true. I must be some kind of genius! The tendency to completely ignore all of the big expensive toys holds true for my kids, just like it did for me and my siblings.

Living in Western WA, we get a lot of grey days, a lot of chilly days, a lot of rainy days. So we have the boys sleep in one room and have devoted the other room as a play room. In our play room, the boys are  spoiled rotten pretty lucky, with nearly a dozen bins of different toys, divided up by category (i.e. blocks, dress-up costumes, tools, cars, etc.), plus they have an awesome climber that looks like this:

indoor climber

And yet, they mainly play with the laundry baskets and an old exercise ball. they sometimes push around the furniture in their room, and they DO play with the other toys, but only long enough to scatter them to every square inch of the room, then come to sit and stare at me with puppy eyes like they have nothing to do.

On the rare dry and (at least a little) warm days, they have plenty to play with outside. There is a tricycle, a small bicycle with training wheels, a scooter, a toddler ride-on toy, a water table, and another climber, which looks like this:

outside climber

Sorry about the size, I could only find a thumbnail of that one! But you get the picture. These kids are up to their eyeballs in fun toys. Up to their child-sized, spoiled little eyeballs, I say!

 

And yet today, when they were outside playing, they picked up some rocks, which they promptly began to throw all over the yard. I put a stop to that because I’m a mean mom who can’t stand happy children, or maybe because I don’t want the lawnmowers to catch a rock and send it flying through the window. Same thing. Next they found an old board my husband left on the back porch. It was about a foot wide, an inch thick, and three and a half feet long, maybe a little longer. You’d think this thing was a magic carpet.

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They were “surfing”, balancing it on a step to make a sort of lopsided teeter-totter, even just standing it up and watching it fall, giggling like maniacs at the loud bang as it smacked the composite wood deck. They also splashed in, and then pushed over, the water table. Incidentally, the water table was filled with cold, dirty rainwater that was about 55 degrees at most. So a hunk of wood and a glorified puddle (albeit a very cute one, with little scoops and boats floating in it), are the only items that hold their attention.

Why are we buying them all these great, pricey toys? I’m pretty sure the things I get for them are items I imagine I would have loved to have, but clearly I am just a sucker, because actual kids are happy with those things for a few days and then go back to the old stand-by classics. From now on when people ask what the boys want for their birthday or for Christmas, I’m going to tell them to send appliance boxes, piles of dirt, and hunks of wood, all the better if they’re delivered on a big filthy dump truck that the boys can climb on for a bit.

 

…On another note, I know I mentioned the water was cold. It was about 55 or maybe 60 degrees outside, and yes, my kids aren’t wearing shoes. If you’re looking carefully, you’ll notice there’s a discarded shoe in the frame, and it’s because this really is warm-ish weather for us, and Dash swore his feet were “sweating to deaf,” after which he removed his socks and shoes. Ozzie saw this and cried to have his off as well. I swear, I am not some monster who turned out her children into the shivering cold with no jackets or shoes. I’m just the terrible mom who lets them be a little cold if they want to be cold that badly :)

Becoming Crafty, Whether I Like It or Not


Bear made a custom storage bench for our house. It’s six feet long, roughly, and has two separate storage compartments, each with its own lid. I looked into the price of getting bench pillows and realized the size was nonstandard, and therefore custom pillows would be necessary. The hunt for them online led me to the discovery of how insanely expensive custom cushions for a bench seat can be. To create the entire storage bench cost less than $100, but the cushions alone would be over $100. EACH! And that was the no-frills, cheapest filling and cheapest material. More than $200 for something to soften a seat? That sounded absurd. I talked this over with my mother in law, lamenting the cost of something that I wanted but just couldn’t bring myself to buy at that price. I knew she was crafty, and she said she could make them. We agreed that I would go to pick out the materials, and she’d work the magic to make the idea a reality. The finished product was exactly what I’d pictured! The cost (even paying retail for the material and cushion padding and all) was about half what I would have paid online. However, instead of getting the cheapest thing available, it was exactly what I wanted. The cushion inside was even removable, to make for easy cleaning. Huzzah!

Except… they had the makeup of a sham pillow, with the back opening for removal. I saw this as an awesome way for them to be cleaned and dried without fuss. The boys saw it as a would-be sleeping bag, with a comfy cushioned sleeping pad attached! The cover was nice and fitted to the pad, with no room for a child, but that was not stopping them. They stretched it out and got in, ignoring the sound of the seams bursting around them.

I should’ve known. My awesome, one-of-a-kind bench seat cushions were practically begging to be destroyed, because they couldn’t be replaced easily. We have some easily replaceable non-custom sized, non-pricey throw pillows that the kids barely give a second glance. Why would they? Those would present no challenge for me, so they’re safe.

Prior to having kids, I was genuinely baffled why people who aren’t really into crafty stuff would bother with it. If it isn’t something you enjoy, why not just pay someone else to do it? Sure the cost is a bit more, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around how their time wasn’t somehow more valuable than the mark-up.

Then I had children. Those children just happen to be of a specialized seek-and-destroy model, a far more destructive subset of the generally messy child species.

And now I get it. I would never be able to afford for my home to look even halfway presentable if I didn’t fix a stitch here and there, make some handmade art, refinish a table or a chair whose surface is scuffed to the point that would have earned it a spot on the curb at one point in my life. The sheer volume of little projects adding up makes it impossible to pay someone else to do all of those not-so-fun tasks. Now when I consider whether something is worth saving, I have to give real thought before chucking the broken, the torn, the scuffed, the ripped. If I tossed them all, I’d be replacing half of my home on an annual basis, if not more. It isn’t only my income that is no longer disposable since having kids. If I don’t want to live as a minimalist in a very dramatic sense, being at least a little bit crafty just isn’t an option!

Sick Kids Suck


Warning: this gets gross and graphic. If you’re of a delicate flower variety and grossed out easily, you should check out another of my posts instead. You’ve been warned.

I woke up at about 3 am to the sound of Dash sleepily pawing at the door to my room. “I frew up all over my bed.” I hoped that this was just a nonsensical statement related to a bad dream, but went to investigate. Bear gave him a cursory once-over to check for puke before letting him climb into the bed, then promptly tried to go back to sleep for a couple of hours before he had to get up for work. When I got to the boys’ room I found a cranky Ozzie standing wide awake in his crib and a race car bed filled with a whole lot of foul mess, conveniently spread all over the sheets, blankets, and even the pillow. I set about that delightful bit of cleaning, and let the kids into the toy room to keep them from making it any harder.

This was a clear sign that I’d have an excellent day. And yet, at this point, I was still able to convince myself this could be a singular incident, a fluke, and surely not a full-force sickness settling over our house. Kids do wacky things! Sometimes they just toss their cookies for no discernible reason, right? Of course I’m right. I decided I’d play it safe by sticking to serving bland foods to help settle his tummy, but otherwise I’d just let him go on about his day.

My hopes were reinforced by the boys playing happily in the toy room for a while and then eating a light breakfast. Whew, no problem!

We were sitting on the couch watching a little tv together. My kid started to retch, and I foolishly didn’t have a bowl or bucket close at hand. I scooped him up as he spat a mouthful of ichor onto the seat of the couch and ran to the bathroom, only a few precious steps away. As we crossed the threshold,  vomit sprayed all over the nice new bamboo floor, creating a slick path to the toilet. I was just trying to get him over the toilet bowl, and couldn’t see that the traction of the ground in front of me had been compromised. My bare feel squelched down into the slick mess and I slid like a cartoon character hitting a banana peel, barely managing not to lose my balance. I lowered Dash so that his face was directed at the bowl just as he spewed out another stream, and then turned to get the light on so I could inspect the floor to see how bad it was. I also murmured reassuring babble to Dash, because I know throwing up is scary to small kids. What I didn’t think about was that a three year old doesn’t concern himself with aiming, and when I turned to look at the floor, he turned to look at me. Without thinking I swooped down to catch the vomit. Why the hell did I do that? Oh, joy, now I have saved the disgusting messy floor from being splattered, and have a handful of half-digested goo for my trouble.

I redirected him toward the toilet and rinsed my hands, then stood over him, patting his back and talking him through the process. I hate to be touched when I’m physically ill, but that is apparently not his puking style.

Having a sick kid sucks. Just the part where I had someone’s vomit on me is bad enough. That I would have to clean it from the couch and floor was no picnic either. That I had a half-crying, half-pathetic-whimpering child to strip out of soiled pajamas and to steer clear of spreading it everywhere while also trying to keep Ozzie from playing in it was just the icing on the cake.

I looked over at the clock and saw it was only about 6:30am. Why does a day have to have so many hours in it?

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Once upon a time, when the flu hit the house,  it meant I’d spend some time kneeling before a toilet, and some time snuggled up in some blankets and watching tv, and maybe sipping some broth or Gatorade.  I’d likely attempt to sleep away some of the day. Don’t get me wrong: it wasn’t anything to get excited about.  But when your kid is sick, and also young enough to not have the routine down, it is magnified a hundred times.  There is puke all over the house. There are at least three extra loads of laundry, but probably more like five by the end of the day. Even when they aren’t actively causing a vile mess, they want to be right under my feet, so they’re keeping me from accomplishing the clean-up in any reasonable timeframe. It SUCKS.

And then my own stomach started to turn queasy. Party on!

My Little Salesman


My eldest is wonderful and skilled in many things. He can give a mean hug when I’m grouchy, he can ride his bike with training wheels like a champ, and he is an excellent alarm clock on days we have no reason to get up early.

Some things, he does not excel at. One of those things is helping me to sell my used couch. A few months back, we bought a new couch, and so the old couch had to go. This was originally a pretty pricey one, so we were hoping to still get about half to a third of the original price.

A woman was over to look at the couch, and she was sitting down and testing it out, feeling for any secret problems hiding behind the cushions.

Dash comes down from his room where he was supposed to be napping and asked who this stranger was. I told him she might buy our couch.

“My mom hates this couch.”

I laugh, a little awkwardly, “Of course I don’t! It just wont fit in our new house!”

“It’s too squashy!”

The woman starts to get that look in her eyes that tells me I’m caught. She doesn’t want this hated couch. Suddenly she’s looking at the way she can really sink into the down cushions and seeing that they aren’t just cozy and comfy. They’re unsupportive. This couch doesn’t hug you, it sucks you into it. When she first sat down, it was, “Oh, the feathers inside are so soft!” Now, she was clearly not feeling it.

I knew the deal was officially broken when she stood and said, “I’ll have to think about it.”

…Is it possible to give my kid a negative commission?

 

Playing Tea Party


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Dash and I played tea party yesterday. But the only genuinely tea-party-like part of it was the teapot, which was a Christmas present from Bear. I requested it when I realized I didn’t have one, and that a tea party requires it.

Although I love tea, Dash isn’t yet a big fan, so we really drank lemonade. Every tea party worth attending must serve tea and crumpets, so we still called it tea. He wanted to use an ice cube tray to serve the “crumpets” which were mini crackers and apple slices, because the only time I have actually seen crumpets in person, they were in a little european grocery specialty store in California (we live in WA). I suppose a better party planner would pop right over and pick some up, but I’m just not that committed.

We have coffee mugs, but he wanted “a special cup.” I offered a mug, he said no. I offered a cup, and he laughed, “I can’t drink tea out of that!” I asked him to point out an appropriate tea cup, and he directed me toward a small sauce dish. The kind they serve dressing or butter in at restaurants.  I’m sure there is an actual name for them, but the last time I worked as a waitress was in 1999, so I’m drawing a blank.

So I made a pot of steaming lemonade, and served it to him in a sauce dish, with crackers and apples divvied up into the sections of the ice cube tray.

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He said it was a wonderful party.
It was a little unconventional, since I let him call most of the shots, but if he wasn’t weird, I’d wonder if he was really mine ;-)