Teaching Table Manners


As a pregnant lady, I have given in to the fact that I can’t have some of my favorite things for a little while. Things like wine, or a splash of Irish cream in my coffee, or excessive amounts of caffeine. One of the things that I really miss and even have crazy cravings for, is raw fish. It isn’t even something I eat more than once a month or less during non-pregnant times, but there’s something about being forbidden from having something that just makes me a little crazy about it.

A few nights ago, I went to Cheesecake Factory because I happened to be nearby (about an hour away from home) and I figured it’d be a fun treat for the family for me to swing through and pick up some treats. I sat at the bar and ordered a (lame, non-alcoholic) drink to sip while I waited. A woman sat down next to me and also ordered something to-go, as well as the tuna tartare appetizer for while she waited.

When I got home, over dinner I said, “There was a woman next to me having the tuna tartare, and it looked amazing. It was all stacked up with fancy sauces drizzled over it. I was so jealous!” And Bear laughed a bit, because he knows about the craving for raw fish that always crops up in my pregnancies.

Dash piped up, “So you guys shared it?”
I smiled, “No, it was someone I didn’t know, buddy.”
But he wasn’t done, and asked “Didn’t she even let you have any? Did you ask nicely to have some?”
I told him it isn’t polite to ask strangers in a restaurant for some of their food, because they ordered their food for themselves, and I could order my own food for myself.
“…So you only took one bite?”
At this point Bear and I were roaring with laughter.

Sometimes I forget that the social niceties I take for granted just don’t occur to a small child naturally. When we’re eating at home, if there’s anything I have on my plate that the boys don’t also have (usually once they’ve finished their own), they know they’re welcome to share it. It’s always under the condition that they ask nicely, because I don’t want their grubby little hands snatching at other people’s plates, but there aren’t many times that a polite, “please” won’t work.

Looks like I have some more table manners to impart.

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Growing Up Sideways


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My boys are often very kind and sweet, and they butter me up with compliments about how I am the best at cutting apples, or make the yummiest grilled cheese sandwiches, or give the best snuggles. Other times, they are very good at taking me down a peg.

Last night as I was tucking Dash into bed, I kissed him and told him he was getting to be such a big, grown up boy. He said, “You’re growing up a lot, too, Mom!” I laughed and said I was as tall as I was ever going to get. He elaborated, “But you’re getting bigger than Daddy in the sideways way!”

Burn.

At six+ months pregnant, I am indeed getting bigger “in the sideways way.” At least he didn’t use the dreaded F word.

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.

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!

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 😉

Say “Ahhhhh” for the Baby


Ozzie and Dash both love to play pretend.  They pretend to fix things with their toy tools, they pretend to build me a “big, fancy [car/house/rocket ship/whatever].” They dress up in superhero capes or monster masks and run around the house pretending to be good guys or bad guys, the identity of which is really hard to tell from the outside since both just mean they’re jumping around and yelling, “I got you!” The games of pretend are a constant, and switching between them happens frequently enough that even when I’m not sure of the game, I just roll with it until I know what they’re doing.

Recently, one of their favorite pretend games is cooking. I let them help me stir things and pour ingredients into bowls when I’m actually cooking. Sometimes when I’m feeling especially patient, I even let them scoop batter into cupcake pans or onto a cookie sheet. But it’s less common because it often leads to Ozzie grabbing a fistful of goo and going to town spreading it on every surface within his reach. This actual “cooking” has gotten them wildly interested in play cooking. They have adorable little pans and utensils from IKEA, and a few random pieces of play food, all of which get a ton of use.

Part of the pretend cooking entails them bringing me food and drinks they’ve whipped up and force-feeding me. Dash announces the items beforehand so that I can make the appropriate sounds, for example:
“Here’s a plate of carrot sticks!”
“Oh, yum! Crunch, crunch, crunch!”
“And here’s some juice to wash it down.”
“Oh thanks. Gulp, gulp, ahhhhh! Refreshing!”

Ozzie, at not quite a year and a half old, is still pre-verbal (I know, right? He’s such a lazy jerk. He could probably talk if he’d just make a real effort!). This means he just approaches me and says, “Ahhh!” while making an open mouthed example of what he wants me to do. He’s still only got about half of his baby teeth in yet, which means that his adorable face is twice as irresistible. When he walks up and says, “ahhh,” it’s just about impossible not to play along. Then he usually touches my lips with his hands or a toy spoon or fake corn and says, “Na, na, na!” Which is Ozzie for “Nom, nom, nom!” He’ll do this a few times, then wander off to pick up a different toy and repeat the process.

Tonight, he was playing with the toy grill while Dash, Bear and I sat nearby watching TV. He came up to me and made his adorable “ahhh!” face, and as per the norm, I opened up my mouth. He proceeded to place something in my mouth. I jerked back in surprise and spit the item into my hand to examine it. Im not 100% sure, but my best guess was that it was a fuzzy crumb of old food. The fuzz was from carpet fibers, but I’m not ruling out any other foulness clinging to this.

I clean my house. My husband cleans our house. But despite our best efforts, there are still times that I find a hunk of old bagel wedged under the couch, or half chewed mouthful of chicken sitting at the bottom of the toy box, dried and barely recognizable. When I stumble upon these little hunks of food, I usually just think of how gross kids can be, and wish I didn’t have to find old dried out bits of last week’s lunch hiding in all the dark corners.

Unfortunately now I can say that by far, I would rather be the one to find these little gems, rather than have one of the kids discover it and sucker me into putting it into my mouth.

Please Don’t Pet That!


I took Dash to a local library event so he could “Read to a Dog!” This was something that seemed like he’d enjoy it since he both loves books and likes dogs. We don’t see dogs regularly except in passing at parks and such, but he doesnt spend much time around them. We aren’t big on pets in our house, but I do want my kids to be exposed to animals enough to not grow up to have a fear of them.

I met a few other moms there and we helped our little ones to pick out books to read to the pup, a one year old service dog who was very sweet and calm. Dash looked on happily while another child read, but then became shy when it was his turn. I didn’t really care if he actually read to the dog, considering he’s three and his “reading” is really just looking at the pictures and making up a story to fit them. However, I had him hang around until he could have another chance to just go over and pet the puppy, which he was very happy to do. He wandered the aisles with me and we looked through a few books. As is the case nearly every time we go to the library, he rediscovered that most books don’t have pages filled with pictures, no matter how fun the cover looks. He told me this wasn’t a good idea, and they should fix that.

The hour of time allotted was nearly up, and the kids were ready to just play with the dog, so the guy who brought him let all the kids come over and swarm the poor little guy. As a result, all the kids just picked whatever spot was free, some were rubbing an ear, or the leg. I looked up from some small talk with a fellow mom and realized he was petting the dog’s junk. I laughed and pulled his had away, and decided to have a teaching moment I never thought I’d need to have. “We don’t ever touch the doggie’s penis, okay? It’s not nice.” The minute I sent him back to pet the dog, he went right back toward the crotch, but this time before he had a chance to make contact I went ahead and held his arm, and steered his hand to the shoulder. Several of the other parents giggled, the handler made comments about how that happens a lot. I was a little relieved to see that none of these people were looking at us like we were a family of dog molesters.

When we got home, Bear asked how it went.

“Your son tried to give a dog a handy.”

“Oh.” He said, obviously only half listening. Suddenly, what I said penetrated the distraction of the T.V. “Wait, what?!”

The look on his face was priceless.

 

 

 

 

…And this is the reason I use fake names for my kids in this blog. I can only imagine what kind of list this would put him on otherwise!