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!

My Disaster Sense is Tingling

I just came downstairs from putting in a load of laundry and heard Dash singing, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I’m sorry and I hope I’m not going on time out!”

I looked around and nothing is messy or destroyed, and in fact, it looks exactly like it did a few minutes ago when I went upstairs. Ozzie isn’t crying and doesn’t appear to have been pushed or had his toys taken away.

I can’t tell if I should relax and accept that this cute song was a fluke, or if this is just the calm before the storm, and by “storm” I mean I’m about to find a giant gaping hole in the wall, or some kind of disgusting mess involving body fluids.

When there’s nothing clearly wrong, I only feel more suspicious.

My Kid is Just Not Greedy Enough

Dash and Ozzie were adorable for Halloween. Don’t take my word for it, ask anyone in my neighborhood. By anyone, I actually mean only the few neighbors along one street, because that was as far as our trick-or-treating went.

Last year was the first year we let him trick-or-treat. I’m not judging anyone else who takes an infant, but I didn’t want to make the effort until he got something out of it. He dressed as a pirate and was beside himself with excitement over us not only walking around the neighborhood, but actually going to people’s doors, which wasn’t usually allowed. The first few houses, we rang the doorbells and when they opened the door, he would try to dart inside. He didn’t understand the concept of going to someone’s house and not going in. He could barely bring himself to say “chick-ar-cheet” at half the houses, because he was nervous and overwhelmed, but he always said thank you, so I’ll count it as a victory. It was all very cute, and he was sad when it was over. He forgot about his candy by the 2nd of November, and his Dad and I robbed him blind.

This year, he was actually old enough to anticipate the holiday, and asked me every day for weeks whether it was Halloween yet. We had a couple of different costumes that he’s gone back and forth on, and he finally settled on Spiderman just moments before we left the house. Ozzie was a rat, which I chose for him at the thrift store because it was his size, in great condition, and puffy, so it would be warm. He was oblivious to everything ahead of time, but seemed to be having fun chasing Dash and making “Raaaah!” sounds up until we left.

When we started out, Dash was narrating every step, parroting back all of the prep work I’d put in, “We don’t want to be in the street because it’s not safe. We walk on the sidewalk. We say trick-or-treat and they give us candy!” and so on. Dash was very enthusiastic at the first house, and Ozzie was slightly confused by the whole situation. He didn’t try to go into the house, but it did take a lot of encouraging to get him to chose a piece of candy. He was all kinds of adorable, and he made just the right baby smiles and sounds to get the oohs and ahhs flowing. Ozzie waved bye-bye and Dash gave a gleeful thank you, and ran away from the porch. “Can we do one more trick-or-treat, please?” Dash asked as we walked down the sidewalk. “Of course! We’ll go to lots of houses!” He looked relieved.

But only a few houses later, as he walked away, Dash said, “I’m all full of candy. I want to be at my house now.” I couldn’t believe it, and I asked if he was all done, if he meant he didn’t want to trick-or-treat at any more houses. Did he get enough candy? “Yeah. I got lots of candy! My bag is so full! There’s lots of candy in it!” The whole way back (which, really, was less than a block) he went on about his candy, and how great it was, and how there was so much of it, and on and on. He was thrilled!

I was glad he wasn’t sad when it was over this year. But all told, we hit less than a dozen houses. On the one hand, I didn’t have to schlep all over the place with two maniac kids, on the hunt for tiny twix bars and such. On the other hand, between two kids, there were only about 20 pieces of candy, maybe a few more if you count the houses that gave out a couple. This means there was really not enough for me to steal the candy away without Dash noticing its absence.

Every parent knows the candy tax is the main way these kids work off all the effort their parents have put into their Halloween fun. But since my kid is satisfied, hell, even ecstatic, with such a small haul, I just have to accept that the tax is being waived this year. Damn it!

My Kid the Artist… or Not

We made pumpkins this morning. I cut out a bunch of shapes, and let Dash choose what he wanted to use.


A few observations:

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Not only the intended shapes were included in the craft. A crazy-ass bit that was supposed to be a mouth and didn’t make the cut was in a pile of discards. Dash held it up and said, “Here’s the hair!” Um, okay kid, make your pumpkin an emo loser if that’s what you want.

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The other hairpiece is also a discarded mouth, but looks like a herman Munster/Frankenstein ‘do, so it seemed appropriate. When I suggested he add some bolts to make it even more like the character, he said, “No! That’s silly.” As an artist, he takes his craft very seriously.

2) 20131027_103418_1

You may wonder, why are those would-be eyebrows a nose? Dash wants at least one hideous pig face. I’d like to think it’s an homage to the episode of the Twilight Zone, but I know better. What the hell, it’s a pumpkin, ugly it up, kid.

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The sad looking pumpkin was made by the same child who made the others. Why is this one so dejected when the others are all scary? “He’s sad because his green thing is over here.” Yeah, Dash’s reasoning is that he’s sad because he’s deformed. Way to embrace differences, sweetheart. Clearly, this mommy has a little work to do in teaching my kid not to think all people who have something about them that is “other” should be miserable as a result!

I’m not gonna lie, laughing at my kids arts and crafts is some of the draw for doing arts and crafts with them at this age. Yeah, yeah, they’re having good experiences and getting the sensory play and learning to express their creativity, and that’s nice too. Those things do occur to me when Im coming up with this stuff or checking things out on pinterest. However, I am not little miss crafty pants, so while I ooh and ahh over their accomplishments out loud, I am still too much of a sarcastic jerk to be able to turn off the inner art critic. I don’t tell them, and by the time they’re old enough to find this post and see it, hopefully they’ll get the humor, or I’ve failed as a parent. But I think this is a common thread amongst all parents. Or maybe I’m such a mean mom that I can’t even imagine someone not thinking about how ridiculous their kid’s crafts turned out. Eh, whichever.

Party Animals

We went to a birthday party last weekend, for my wonderful niece T’s first birthday. The party was at her dad’s house, and he lives about an hour and a half away, so we packed the kids in to the car and headed out.

Before we even got to partying, Dash peed under a freeway overpass. We had him go before we left, but anything over a 30 minute car ride, and we can almost guarantee he’ll have to go. He’s been potty trained for about 6 months or so, and doesn’t wear any pullups or anything anymore, so when he tells us he has to go, it means now, unless we want him to pee everywhere. Of course he doesn’t tell us while we’re passing anything remotely convenient, but when there are no easy stops for miles. It’s times like these that I am so glad we have boys. We pulled to an underpass with barriers that Bear could take him behind to relieve himself in some tall grass, and then came back to the car and announced, “I love peeing on grass!” Out of curiosity, I looked up the law in Washington state, and apparently public urination charges only apply to 13 year olds and up. Whew, I’m not raising a criminal.

Once there, Ozzie kept sneaking into the ice chest and putting pieces of ice into his pockets, which led to cold wet spots all over his shirt and pants. Dash kept sneaking cheese from the sandwich tray, then handing off half eaten slices to the little ones, who invariably slobbered all over it and then left it somewhere. I kept an eye out for these gems and tried to prevent any bits from being ground into anything, but for all I know they’ll be finding old funky cheese bits secreted away in the nooks and crannies for the next month.

When T had her smash cake, they both saw an opportunity and went in for some as well, which led to them both being covered in frosting. Dash was moments away from making a sticky pink finger painting on the walls, but Bear and I ran interference, trading off on immobilizing them while the other was wiping them down. Even with the two of us tag-teaming the mess, the kids managed to slip back over to the cake a couple of times, and with doting Aunts as grinning accomplices, they had a second and third go at the cake, until mean mom made the fun come to an end.

I found myself reminiscing about the times when I attended get-togethers and simply enjoyed a bit of good food and good company. Back in those days, I only cleaned up my own spills, and they were much less common. If anyone followed me to the bathroom, it was a girlfriend sharing gossip, not a half-pint who wanted to high five me because he thinks a successful potty break needs celebration. I didn’t have to keep a watchful eye on anyone but whatever hottie was walking by. Those times were a far cry from the post-baby parties.

In this case, the company was great, there were cupcakes with bacon (nuff said), and still, despite the fact that chasing after them and keeping them from destroying someone’s home is tiring, they both crashed hard on the way home, and they look so sweet while they sleep. All in all? Worth it.

Schooled by a Preschooler

Dash woke up and rolled out of bed, I heard him from my room as he padded down the hall. As is the usual routine, he made his was directly to my room, where I asked him if he needed to use the potty. He went into my bathroom and as he was going, yelled out to me, “Am I going to school today?” I told him he was, then waited. I’m trying to establish that bathroom time is a solo deal, in the likely futile hope that he will begin to think that my bathroom time is sacred. I know, dream on.

His everyday pattern is to go to the bathroom, come climb in bed with me (and his brother who is almost always awake first), give me a hug and settle in to drink some milk while I have coffee, and we watch some cartoons for a bit until it is a reasonable time to be awake, or about 7 am.

This morning, he came out and walked over to my side of the bed, then looked up at me expectantly. “Mommy.”

“That’s me, buddy. Come give me a hug good morning!” I leaned down to scoop him up and he brought up a hand between us. I paused and asked,  “Don’t feel like watching cartoons? You can play in the toy room while mommy has coffee if you want.”

He cocked his head to the side and dripping with preschool judgement, he said, “I don’t have time for hugs and cuddles and silly shows. I have a lot of work to do.”


I’m pretty sure I just got sloth-shamed by a three year old.