I went to PBS for a meeting with Jean yesterday and she made the mistake of not being in her office when I showed up. (Click here and choose "watch in high quality" if you want the less-seedier and slightly louder version)
In honor of the box of goodies I discovered and expropriated, we are going to have a giveaway here at PBS Supersisters. Okay, we are going to have LOTS of giveaways. Starting on Monday, for two weeks we will be giving away all manner of PBS Kids awesomeness. We have videos and stuffed animals and stickers and activity books. We even have SUPER WHY stuff. I know. Your kids will love you. Forever.
What do you have to do to win? All you have to do is leave a comment (you can comment as many times as you like but your name will only be entered once for the daily drawing) on our posts from Monday, February 2 through Saturday, February 14. Each day we will do a random drawing (here are our giveaway "rules" if you want to check them out) and post the name of the winner on the following day's post. But wait!! There is a big prize on Valentine's Day. In addition to our daily prizes, we will take all the comments from all the days and throw them together. So if you comment every day on every post, you'll have 12 chances to win the big prize.
Graco has been gracious enough to give us a SweetPeace Newborn Soothing Center that we can give away to one of you!!!
If you haven't seen one of these yet, you won't believe your eyes. It is almost as good as Mama's arms. And Mama's arms are now open to fold the laundry or pull one of the older children off the top of the fridge. Even if you are beyond the newborn stage, I'm sure you know someone who would LOVE to have one of these.
So be sure to tune in every day starting next Monday, February 2, and leave a comment to win some fabulous prize. It will be loads of fun. And don't forget to grab your "I'm a Supersister" badge from over there on the left. It's just another way for us to spread the news and share the love.
My children never cease to amaze me. I walk this fine line between protecting them and letting them be free to be children. I guess I am always walking the line because I am forever trying to anticipate what the end result is going to be to some specific action.
Take the sledding, for instance. Ethan, while being a wild and crazy child, has his very sensitive moments. He is either falling down and laughing or falling down and assuming that the world has just come to an end. I am constantly trying to gauge what the final outcome will be before the event. Doesn't it sound like I am just trying to protect him like a good mom? Right? Actually I am just trying to avoid the 45 minutes of wailing for a crushed ego in case that is the emotion that chooses to surface. Because seriously, you mothers of girls who say, "at least you don't have the DRAMA all the time" really need to just knock it off. We know drama over here.
The picture above? Ethan started pulling Nathan in the sled down our ridiculously treacherous driveway. How treacherous is your driveway, Kristen? Um, my car, while being completely shoveled out, is stuck there until the ice melts. Sure I can try to drive it up the driveway but the last time I did that, I slid to the bottom and stopped just inches from the garage door. Inches. Whatever engineering scientist who came up with the slope to this driveway should be beaten with a wet noodle.
However, if you are nearly 4 and nearly 2, it is an excellent driveway for sledding. At their father's suggestion, Ethan began pulling the sled from the very top. About 2/3's of the way down, he slipped on the ice and when face first into the snow. The sled continued to go, pushing him down the driveway. His face was like our own personal driveway plow. When he got up after the last 20 foot slide on his face, he screamed, "AGAIN, NATE!!! AGAIN!!!!"
While I was glad to avoid the drama, I must say the window into my future was one filled with more trips to the ER. We've just added winter to the mix now. Oh, well.
The conversation started and seemed to spiral out of control before I caught on.
Ethan: Why do witches have gingerbread houses?
I swear, I do not know where these kids come from sometimes. Or what is going on in their heads. The total extent of our gingerbread house knowledge at our house (as far as I know, or should I say, knew) was making a gingerbread house for Christmas.
Derek: Well, witches have gingerbread houses so they can lure children in who love candy and then eat them.
I swear, I do not know where my husband comes from sometimes. Or what is going on in his head. I'm not exactly sure how I would have fielded that question but I know in all certainty that it wouldn't have involved eating small children. Call me crazy. But in his defense, my husband kept going.
Derek: That's why you are never supposed to take candy from strangers. A stranger could offer you some candy but then could hurt you.
Hmm. Not bad. Not my first choice but apparently effective.
Derek: So if someone you don't know offers you candy, what do you say?
Ethan: NO, SIR!!! (yelling)
Derek: And then you yell for help. You yell "I want my mom and dad!!"
Ethan: I will, Dad.
Kristen: What if it's really good candy?
Ethan: I won't take it, Mom. I know you will give me some candy if I don't take it from someone else.
Kristen: That's right, Buddy.
Life lessons come in the strangest ways sometimes. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.
Do you ever have one of those moments in parenting when you think, "I'm thinking a do-over would be helpful right about now?"
I got on a plane last week with Ethan and Nathan. I am 8 months pregnant. We had two seats for the three of us. Several people asked why I didn't buy an extra seat so we would each have one. Besides the fact that money doesn't grow on trees around here, it was a matter of principal. The airline will be extorting money out of me as of February, when Nathan becomes two. They are already getting me for $15 a bag and a 50 pound weight limit for my bag. I'm not giving them one extra dollar until I am required. I think there may have been a fee more fees I am forgetting about right now but it seems like you are constantly pulling out your wallet.
It's always that game when you get on a plane. Do you go during nap time and hope for the best (only if you have lost your mind)? Early in the morning, requiring you to wake the kids up before their normal rising time? I did all of these things and needless to say, I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown right there on the plane.
To be honest, I think the key is a crowded vs. empty flight. No good is ever going to come from having someone sit in the seat in front of your toddler. Especially if that person is not quite bright enough to realize that the little feet couldn't reach the seat to kick it until he placed it in a full recline mode. And he didn't think to just put the seat back up to solve the problem of the kicking feet or my 300th "STOP TOUCHING THE SEAT." He just turned and glared. I wanted to feel bad but his solution was right in front of him. I have to live with my problem until high school graduation at least.
I had the complete bag of tricks (stickers, markers, paper, books, glue, fruit snacks). There is really nothing you can do when you have two children with more energy than a power plant. The trip was well worth it but I have to say I'm glad that I will never again have to travel as a big pregnant woman alone with two kids. At least the older one didn't throw up. Tell me your tragic travel story. I need to feel like I'm not the only one to make such a crazy decision in my emotional/physical state.
Life's most urgent question is: what are you doing for others?
May this day remind us the importance of teaching our children what is right and good and kind.
My firstborn trained himself at 6 months.
Kidding. I'm kidding. Oh, laugh already. You guys need to lighten up. I like to think that without my potty training failures the other mothers in preschool would have to complain about my inability to control my children at drop off every day of school. And my excessive use of the word "FOCUS" as we try to navigate all those mothers with carefully coifed little girls who appear to always walk nicely beside their mothers.
Potty training is craziness. Some start it later, some start it sooner and there is not a person in the world who won't tell you EXACTLY how they did it successfully with their children. Which will, under all circumstances, NEVER work with your child.
Nathan has decided to potty train himself at just under two but I ask you, who is actually potty trained? Me or him? If I don't ask him, he can either stay dry or fill his diaper. If I ask him, he wants to go to the potty. He woke up in the middle of the night and if I had been able to understand him, I would have realized he was saying he had to go the bathroom. He ended up going in his diaper and then he was mad at me. Really, really mad.
Then we had the incident at the mall where I am positive he was wearing a diaper when we arrived but when he peed down the front of his father who was carrying him, we discovered no diaper. Nathan likes to take it off when it bugs him now. No, I don't know what happened to that diaper. Every once in a while I tell myself that I am sure I just forgot to put one on him but I know in my heart of hearts that is not true. Someone somewhere in a mall found a slightly used diaper under a rack. I just know it.
Me? I'm not so great at the remembering to remind. I'm all about remembering around that stinky time of the day because never have you known such a foul odor as the one that comes out of this child. Last week I timed it perfectly 5 days in a row. Then I got caught up one day at 8:55 a.m. with something important like Twitter or a rediscovered stash of chocolate or "look, something shiny!" and we were back to square one.
I mentioned at preschool that Nathan had expressed an interest in going to the potty and Miss J questioned me on my methods. A mother of 4 grown children and a toddler preschool teacher for 24 years, I knew my answer to this bastion of childhood development was going to be wrong.
K: Um, I sit him on the toilet and he goes.
J: Does he ASK to go or do you ASK him?
K: I don't know (wondering how I can't possible know the answer to this question. It's not complicated).
J: You don't allow him to stand.
K: Heck, no. I make him sit.
K: (realizing I just answered incorrectly and now I am NOT getting that rose that says I am still in the running). Isn't that what you do?
J: NO. We teach them from the beginning how to pee.
K: Miss J. You are more than welcome to teach him how to pee that way. Me? I'm too lazy and too fat to be cleaning the bathroom all the time while he is hosing it down. Knock yourself out.
The trouble is, I'm not even trying with this potty training thing. I'm sure this is a window and I should take it, but I have bigger fish to fry like heartburn and "look, something shiny." The whole stay at home for a couple of days in your birthday suit worked like a charm with Ethan. Maybe I just need a timer for Nathan. I mean for me. Well, you know what I mean.
One of the things I looked forward to when having my second was having a translator to help us navigate the tough times when language development makes you crazy because your nearly two year old is screaming in the bathtub, clearly trying to express something, and no matter of miming and charades is helping you cross the language barrier.
I remember when Jack was first starting to speak and we would look to Josiah for translation. "Oh, Jackie Boy would like a drink." Who knew? Jack would nod affirmatively and all was right with the world.
That's the funniest thing about Ethan and Nathan. Never in my entire life have I met an older sibling who is less adept in translation for a younger brother or sister.
K: Nate, I don't understand. What do you need?
K: I'm sorry, Nate. I can't understand. Can you show me?
Nathan: (louder) AAAAGGGGGAAAAABBBBAAAA!!
K: Ethan, do you know what Nate wants?
Ethan: (matter of factly) Mom, he wants aggaba.
K: Huh? What is that?
Ethan: I don't know but he's saying "aggaba."
Nathan: (nodding affirmatively) AGGABA!
K: Ethan, there is no such thing as "aggaba." Do you KNOW what he wants because I can't figure it out.
Ethan: He just wants "aggaba," Mom.
K: What IS "aggaba," Ethan?
Ethan: I don't know. I'm just telling you what he wants.
I feel like I just need Josiah, the Great Communicator, to live with us until we can get beyond this hump of being unable to understand. Because listening to gibberish from TWO children is enough to drive you insane.
Derek called to tell me that he had just gotten back from lunch with our friend Laura. It seems that her nearly two-year-old has been giving them a run for their money, too.
I had been starting to believe that we were the only people with crazy children. I know it's not true, but sometimes it feels this way. In fact, Nathan just got dropped off from school yesterday with a comment that he had bitten another child in the class. There are only eight children in his class. He has bitten three of them. Which means 50% of the class since he clearly can't get in trouble for biting himself. When I asked him why he bit poor victim number 3, he yelled, "it was MINE, Mommy."
Um, no, it wasn't. It wasn't yours. I'm pretty sure of that since we don't take anything to school with us. I'm pretty sure it was the school's. Whatever it was. But back to our friend.
It appears that just before Christmas, Baby Girl hopped over not one but two gates around the Christmas tree and her mother only realized this as she heard her glass ornaments shatter against the wall. It seems that Baby Girl was throwing the ornaments because she liked the sound they made as they hit the wall. And then there were the heirloom fabric ornaments that she attempted to flush down the toilet a few days later after filling the bowl.
K: Tell me you didn't laugh.
D: It was funny.
K: No, it's not funny.
D: Oh, it's funny when it's not your kid who is doing it.
They had discussed failed nap times and nearly snapping and slowing feeling like you are losing your mind. I felt this conversation was wasted on my husband. He usually makes it until 20 minutes into bathtime before bed before he starts freaking out because the boys have started this really awesome game of sliding down the back of the tub at the same time to see how big a splash they can send into the far wall before the wave veers over onto the floor.
And I don't even do bathtime. I guess that's because by 7:15, I'm already rocking in a corner, babbling inconsolably. At least today I'm not the person who is mourning her Christmas ornaments. We may be a small band of parents of ill-behaved, mischievous children but we know how to stick together. Now would be a good time to tell me your best story of "spirited" behavior by your child. I could use the company. Go on.
For Christmas we got Ethan the game Chutes and Ladders. It was only when we broke the box out today that I remembered the whole concept of the game.
You spin the wheel. Sometimes you get lucky and end up at the bottom of a big ladder and sometimes you end up at the top of a long slide. I had forgotten how this game makes you feel. In case you had forgotten, it makes you feel lousy when you are playing with Mr. Lucky (Dad) and you are the kid that seems to continuously ending up at the top of that slide. Ethan and I watched as Derek made it to spot 89 while I hovered in the 50's and Ethan couldn't seem to make it past 30.
I'll admit it. I had an urge to cheat. When my spin came, I silently prayed that I would spin a 4 so I would drop below my son. His father did cheat. He rolled a 6, did a complicated counting maneuver and landed on the long slide down to the bottom.
D: See, Ethan. Sometimes you get lucky and go up a ladder and sometimes you have to go down a slide. The important thing is being a good sport.
He wasn't having any part of being the good sport. It wasn't fair and he wasn't even sure he knew why it wasn't fair. He was just annoyed at his bad luck.
We tried to hang in until the bitter end but we didn't quite make it. I know we have this whole movement now that says that all kids are winners and everyone is the same, but that isn't really true. There will always be someone who is faster than you or smarter than you or more winsome than you. You should learn how to be a good sport and be supportive of others when they are doing better than you. It's just a life lesson I'm not sure is easily taught to a three-year-old. Oh, heck. It's not going to get any easier as he gets older, is it? So I think for now we'll just put the game away. Maybe we need to find a game that is based on skill rather than luck. It seems slightly more honest. I just don't know.
How did that happen? Remember when you were a kid and it felt like you were spending your entire life waiting for the next big event (birthday? holiday? summer vacation?)? Your mother used to say, "just wait until you get older because time moves so fast." I thought my mother was lying (sorry, Mom), but now I am old and time sure flies.
I'm normally against the whole New Year's resolution thing but Jen had some great points about making resolutions that were do-able and not destined for failure. I, on the other hand, intend to make 2009 the year of doing the impossible. Having had such low expectations for myself for the last 10 years or so, it's the least I can do. So here they are.
1. Lose 50 pounds by my high school reunion. Don't get all panicky on me. I'm pregnant. Although those sites that tell you exactly how much everything weighs inside of you when you are pregnant is lying. I gave birth to an 8 lb., 8 oz. baby last time and only instantly lost 8 pounds. This weight loss goal might be interesting if a) I keep eating, b) I have a big ol' baby and c) someone sends me an invite on facebook telling me that the reunion is in the next 6 months. I mean, I am having a baby in three months but by golly, I'll just get J. Lo's trainer if need be. If God loves me, the reunion will be in August or September. If God has a sense of humor, I'll be buying a belly bandit for a May reunion.
2. Get a computer to actually function in my house that will allow me to post pictures. All those really horrible pictures I have been posting? They don't lie about the quality of the I-Phone's picture. But I have saved up my pennies and now I just might be able to download pictures onto a desktop that will not send the blue screen of death my way with every 5 MB picture. I'll let you know how this goes.
3. Run my children every single day. I know. Sounds like I am talking about a dog, but these kids of mine have more energy than a lab pup. When their father came home from work last night, he sat in stunned silence as the kids took turns climbing over him on the couch and trying to sit on his head. "Didn't you exercise them today?" Like they are horses. Multiple laps around the house will now be mandatory and I am still looking for a child's size hamster wheel that can be connected to a makeshift energy generator. I'll bet my kids could heat my house in the winter if we could harness that energy.
4. Clean the kitchen more than once a week. Don't look at me that way. I hate cleaning the kitchen. I might even go all crazy and do laundry too before my husband just resorts to buying underwear and socks from Target.
I am totally going to do these impossible things this year. You should set some impossible goals for yourself. If you aim low, you never get disappointed. If you aim high and succeed, you think you are the awesomest person in the world. That's gonna be me this year. Just pick one thing. You can do it.