"Who tried to push this bar of soap down the drain?"
"Why is there potting soil in the pasta collander in the sink? How am I going to drain the pasta for lunch in a minute?"
"I left you for three minutes to take a shower. Why is your brother in a completely different outfit?"
"Get down from the top of the fridge. NOW!"
"You can't put anything out the window. Not even your head."
"Where did you find that red marker? I thought I threw ALL the markers away."
"Why is there red marker on the couch?"
"You can't climb into the dish washer."
"Stop trying to ride the dog. He isn't a horse and that isn't nice."
"Get out of your brother's crib."
"I'm going to the bathroom. Keep your brother alive until I come back."
"Why are there three empty bottles of hand soap in the bathroom sink?"
"No, you can't flush toilet paper down the toilet if you don't go to the potty in the toilet."
"What happened to your diaper?"
"Is this poop on your pillow?"
"How could you have lost the remote to the car DVD player in one day?"
"The next person that I find standing on the counter goes in time out."
"Where did you get that chocolate bunny and why are you hiding under the dining room table?"
"A toothbrush is for your teeth."
"Am I going to have to get rid of all the chairs on this floor AGAIN??"
"Stop trying to pour your own milk. It's a full gallon and you are two. Just ask mom for help."
"Who broke the lock on the fridge?"
That was just since Sunday. What have you said this week?
Last week, I completely lost my tenuous place in the Mother of the Year Award Competition by completely losing my cool with the two adorable children you see in the picture above. You'd think they were angels, really, from reading this blog, and if not that, you might think, at least that I'm a nice person. But, no, there was a meltdown and it wasn't the starving, sleep-deprived small people in my house. It was me.
I don't remember what set me off, but some chain reaction unleashed my inner martyr and I launched into one of those long speeches you remember from your own childhood--about the lack of appreciation, the absence of respect and how no one in this house has any idea what it's like to be around here.
It wasn't one of my better moments, let me tell you.
This mommy temper tantrum, however, had a hilarious affect on my two kids who only seconds before had been fighting like cats and dogs. Now, in the presence of Our Mother Who Is Clearly Losing Her Mind, they bonded together like children seeking shelter in wartime, whispering consolations to one other in tears.
At first, this development made me want to stop in my tracks. What? Suddenly you're not fighting anymore? What's wrong with this picture? But then I decided to rant another minute just for fun. My kids had not only a common cause but also an apparently stunning surplus of empathy--not for the mom in meltdown mode who really needed it--but for each other. Who knew. It was all I needed to make me feel much better once and for all.
How about you? Do you let your kids see your mommy meltdowns? Do you find your personal moments of frustration create more connection between your kids? Let me know how you deal with mommy meltdowns and the subsequent chaos in the comments below.
After a week of everyone getting the stomach bug and it was a "four is more" moment for sure, I picked up Lyra yesterday and found a her left ear was draining a lovely shade of yellow. I knew right away it was a ruptured ear drum. I could list the minimal signs I saw through out the week but this was just one of those times you feel like a total parenting loser.
This poor child had probably been in terrible pain, with no words to tell me and relying on me to figure it out. I have been on a string of bad calls lately. Taking one kid in too soon or for something silly, waiting too long for another. I'm starting to question my mothering intuition when it comes to sickness. Not to mention the $1000 per month insurance premium and high deductible thrown into the mix, but don't get me started. Lyra, of course, was happy the instant it ruptured and is on the mend. Ears are always tricky and I am not a doctor.
Have you ever lost your parenting mojo? Whether it's health or discipline or school?
Tell me how you got it back in the comments. Even more interesting, what do you think of the cost of healthcare in our country, do you think universal healthcare would help our problems?
The funniest thing about babies is that a baby's specific size is just a comparison to something else. Yesterday I walked past a woman with a baby that looked to be a couple of weeks younger than Mason. The baby girl's head was proportionate to her body, not like Mason. She was a little baby and her head seemed so little. Her mother commented to someone else that the baby had grown so much. All I kept thinking was that Mason was never that little.
Then someone commented about how little Mason was. The woman asked what he weighed when he was born. "9 lbs, 3 oz." I replied. She was shocked. I then heard the familiar refrain. "What a big baby. I guess I had forgotten how little babies are when they are born."
My oldest is only four, but it seems that this never ends.
"He's so tall for his age."
"He's so skinny for his age."
And don't even get me started about comparisons WITHIN the family. Even I am slightly guilty of this (as in, "your brother could hike a mile when he was your age. Why do I have to carry you after 40 feet?").
My boys are who they are. I don't think they will be 30 years old, talking about how tall they were when they were 4. Maybe they will. I don't know. But sometimes I wonder if all the comparison conversation isn't just a waste of time. They grow up so fast. Maybe we should talk about it less and enjoy them more. What do you think?
Half of all the sentences in our house start with "Can I...?" and the answer is "no" or "in a minute" or "maybe later" around half the time. I wonder between school and home how many times a day a kid hears these words and phrases. While I've been trained over the years to be positive, I feel like I haven't been very engaged lately. Maybe it's a serious amount of laundry, facebook, four kids or working on my own projects but the "no's" were stacking up.
I decided to say yes a little more and add a new phrase to the mix, "Do you want to...?".
Yes, I would love to read you some books.
Yes, you may have some chocolate milk.
Yes, we can go to the park.
Yes, I totally want to see your Pokeman cards and hear about their evolution.
Yes, I do want to take a bath with you and play mermaids.
The kids have been so much more cheerful. I am a little more tired but feel satisfied in at least trying to be a better parent. Who knows how long it will last before I'm ignoring them to take a really important test to find out my hippy name? By then I'm sure I'll be realizing I need to work on some other aspect of this life long journey. I hope in the end our kids know we tried and cared.
Do you ever get caught up in the "no" cycle? How do you stay engaged in your kids lives?
Everything they told me is true. If I thought I was losing my mind with two boys, this third one has officially done me in. The preschool teacher, mother of four girls, asked me how I was doing. She said it was the third one that brought the chaos. She thought it would get crazier with her fourth, but she said that it was just the same. She said that she could have had 10 kids and it wouldn't have made a difference. That all sense of sanity was gone at three. Once gone, you can't lose any more.
To be fair, my third one is a dream. Look at that precious face. He isn't the one driving me crazy these days. It is just that I only have two arms and now I have three boys. There was an incident yesterday involving a window and a toddler and a preschooler. It ended okay. Dad nailed the windows shut and we are back to square one.
One foot in front of the other. One day at a time.
Wondering what you and your kids can do to preserve the earth? In case you need help getting started, here are some simple suggestions in honor of Earth Day,.
Create a situation where some small person in your house can be the boss of all things recycling. In first grade, Madeleine's school created a special program where kids were specially selected to monitor energy usage at the school. Kids as young as six and seven went from classroom to classroom to audit the habits of the teachers as well as their students. Were they remembering to turn off lights when they left the room? Were they recycling properly? Madeleine was delirious to be chosen and happier still to have a clipboard and pen to check off the boxes. This responsibility taught Madeleine plenty about what simple measures are required to save energy, and she's a regular know it all when I try to tell her why it's important to care about conservation and recycling.
Introduce your kids early and often to the wonders of gardening. Nothing says love the earth like a garden in your own backyard. If you (like me) have no green thumb to tackle a full fledged garden, consider container gardening on a windowsill or back step. We might not be able to keep tomatoes alive in the ground, but we can do a bang up job with a pot full of basil or mint. Helping kids have a first hand experience with growing something is a very tangible reminder that the earth is a living, thriving planet that must be protected for the good of all.
Become the kind of family that walks, bikes and hikes together. Kids (like the rest of us) can forget that there are many forms of transportation that do not require us to participate in excessive gas consumption. Walk whenever possible and make a point of creating little adventures along the way. Start with short distances and choose the simplest mode of transportation available whenever possible. Carter's science education in kindergarten made him very aware of the impact cars have on the planet, so we make it a special point to walk whenever possible.
How does your family preserve the planet? Your comments welcome as always. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter as we continue to give away books in honor of the Kid Art Auction. Art above by Declan, age six.
Josiah was way excited when I told him about the Kids Art Auction for Earth Day which is the brilliant idea from a fellow kid and artist, Declan. My budding artist knew exactly what he wanted to create. Origami is one of his favorites so he set out to make a paper world.
We ended up together in the boy's tiny bathroom staring at the brightly colored world vinyl shower curtain. I knew that thing would be educational some day. We discussed continent placement and proper geography. He was very proud of his work in the end. I was too!
Gather your kids, make something wonderful to submit to the auction! Tweet about it, or follow us and win something earthy and fun for your earth Day celebration! Don't forget to check out Eekoworld with your kids for more green goodness.
We are a little obsessive-compulsive over here about littering. Okay, maybe I'm the crazy one. There was this one time that I may have pulled my car over to go retrieve a candy wrapper that flew out the window. Hey! We only have one earth. We need to take care of it. I seem to have passed this on to my children because someone in my family was very concerned when I threw a strawberry stem on the lawn just the other day.
It was a great opportunity then this weekend to take part in our neighborhood cleanup day. I didn't think there would be much to clean up. Unfortunately the boys were able to collect about 3 bags of trash down at the end of the street. They were so pumped up by the time we got home because we had made a difference where we live. Now if only I could get them to be so enthusiastic about cleaning their rooms.
Also, you can check out Halle Stanford, the great mind behind Sid the Science Kid over here.