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5 Ways Toddlers Drive You Crazy

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Today has been one of the most frustrating days I’ve had as a parent thus far.  I planned out a great day: healthy breakfast, clean the kitchen, go for a walk and wash the dog.  All of those things happened, but not as pleasantly as they sound.  Sonshine was in T.T.M. (Tazmanian Toddler Mode), therefore making every task more complicated.  I strapped my patience on and grit my teeth through each activity.  I have been trying to practice mindfulness, but then I realized…  toddlers make you crazy!  Here is why:

  1. They hate the same exact food that they loved yesterday.  This is especially frustrating when you pack a lunch and there aren’t any acceptable food options around.
  2. They touch you so much that you’d be happy to never be touched again.  EVER. IN. LIFE.  Being “touched-out” is a real thing.
  3. They live attached to your leg.  Ever try cooking dinner, cleaning or doing anything with a toddler standing in every direction you move?  It’s like they shadow clone themselves to always be in the way.
  4. They want to be independent, yet are slower than Mr. Roger’s (Neighborhood), and have a complete meltdown if you try to help them (aka speed up the process so you can get out the door because although everyone is ready, 30 extra minutes disappeared).
  5. They never see the thing you are pointing to, naming, describing and asking them to pick up.

Parent: “Please pick up that block.”

Toddler: (Looking perplexed as if you are speaking in another language).

Parent: “The red block.  That red, triangle block.  Right there!  Go over there!  Okay, stop!  Now look down.”

Toddler: (Spins around whilst looking down and still can’t find it).

Parent: “By your feet!  LOOK, IT’S RIGHT THERE!”

And just when you are in a complete tizzy and decide to walk over to get it, your toddler bends down and picks it up.

Every single one of those things happened to me today – all before 2pm.  Plus the dog’s shenanigans – only wanting to walk on one side of the street, running while getting a bath, taking a piss on said hose that I was about to wash him with and crying all day.  The combination of the toddler + dog = a Super PAC of Frustration that cannot be rivaled.  That was it – my patience was defeated.  I completely lost my ish in my driveway.  Yes, I turned into a complete crazy person while both of them stared at me as if I were tripping for no reason.  Arrrrgh!  Good thing most of my neighbors were at work.  I may have scared off the other neighbors from ever speaking to me again.  Is it frowned upon to have wine for lunch?

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Public Meltdown: The Time I Became THAT Mom

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Today I decided to take a quick trip to a large, popular farmers market to get a few things that I can’t get as cheap anywhere else.  Though it was during his nap time (he didn’t seem tired at all), Sonshine was excited to get out of the house and frankly I was as well.

He was rather quiet during the car ride there so I had no indication of what was to come.  We got out of the car and he happily sat down in the cart.  I was surprised that the farmers market so crowded considering it was a weekday afternoon.  It was the perfect amount of people to witness my son act like a complete donkey and embarrass me like I’ve never been embarrassed before.  I would have rather tripped on my face or loudly farted than be looked at as a pathetic mom with an out of control toddler.

He wanted to push the cart and when I said no he started throwing our items around the cart.  This was already uncharacteristic behavior for him so I tried to keep a low profile by giving him a toy and talking to him in a really sweet voice.  He quickly went from LittleCrankyBoots to Toddzilla.  He screamed at the top of his lungs, tried to get out of the cart and yelled “no mommy!” at me several times.

After quietly and nonchalantly waiting for him to calm down, I started to feel warm.  It was the heat from the deathray stares that I received from the other shoppers.  Disapproving looks, snarls, head shakes, pursed lips, “hmphs,” and other nonverbal judgments came hurling my way.  That’s when it hit me: I was THAT mom.  The mom with the out of control, heathen kid with no home training because clearly I wasn’t doing my job.  Three short years ago I would have been judging the hell outta THAT mom.  I wanted to completely disappear.  Just melt right into the floor.

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At that moment, a grandma came up to me and said, “honey, I have a few grown kids.  Just ignore him.  You can’t spank him or it will make it worse.  He’s a toddler; they’re crazy.  And don’t worry about these people, if they have kids they’ll understand and if they don’t well, they have no opinion.”  Bless her heart.  I was so thankful for her kind words.

So the next time I’m out and I see THAT mom, I’ll be sure to leave my judgments where they are and if we happen to catch each other’s eye, I’ll give her a kind “I totally understand,” smile and I’ll keep it moving as if her kid isn’t having a rough time.  It doesn’t make her kid (or mine) a bad kid because they are having a bad day.  Parenting is a lot of work when our kids are having good days, we certainly don’t need the extra pressure or judgment when times are tough.

Have you ever been THAT mom?  Tell me about it in the comments below.

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The End of an Era: Nap Time

Me: “It’s too soon. We can’t give up yet.”

Mister: “I really think it’s over babe.  Sorry.  He’s 2.5 years old.  You have to let go.”

Me:  “I will NOT let go of nap time until he’s four!”

For the past few days, LittleCrankyBoots has not taken his afternoon nap.  And you know how much I love nap time – read about it here and here.  About this same time last year, he stopped taking his 2nd nap.  Both transitions have been harder on me than on him.  He seems totally content to run amuck or express his toddler angst all day, I however, NEED nap time.  Most appropriately, my mom mailed this magnet to me and though I don’t sleep while he is awake, this perfectly captures how I feel.

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Pic: Dave Coverly

I’ve always been a cheerful early riser, but now that LittleCrankyBoots has decided to forego nap time, I am struggling to wake up.  My alarm clock is the sound of his mattress screeching for help as he mercilessly jumps on it while yelling, “he’s jumping!”  I slap my arm across the bed reaching for my phone to see what ungodly hour it is, then reluctantly peel the sheets off of me and slide out the bed.  With eyes half shut, I zombie walk toward the bathroom for my last 30 seconds of silence, wash my hands then look up in the mirror at my crazy hair and think, “please universe, let this boy take a nap today.”

A few months ago it was easy to tire him out.  Playing with balloons in the living room, chasing each other around the dining room table or letting him run to the fridge to grab magnetic alphabet letters and bring them to me one-by-one as I chill on the couch (alphabet + phonics + exercise = awesome mommy!).  He’d tucker himself out and I’d still have energy for the rest of the day.  Now, I have to take him to the park, which is not a problem, except he’s not old enough to wander by himself.  As I chase him around, I glance over at the moms sitting in a circle talking as their kids run around alone. A twinge of jealousy hits me as they sit in a circle catching up with the latest discussion about I don’t know what because I’m not over there!

BUT… l will not complain.   My life is blessed and even though I am exhausted most days, I am so thankful to be able to spend these precious moments with my LittleCrankyBoots.  I celebrate every stage of his life – though I’m happy to be done with teething and I can’t wait until he’s fully potty trained – and it fills my heart with joy to watch him grow.

How old was your LittleCrankyBoots when s/he stopped taking naps?  Was it a smooth transition?

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The Time My Son Got Pee On My Face

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“OMG!  OMG!  PEE!  There’s PEE on my FACE!”  That sentence was all that I could repeat to my friend on the phone.  I was stunned.  That was a moment I was never prepared for as a mom.

About 2 minutes earlier, I was doing a little cleaning in the bathroom when I noticed that it was eerily quiet in LoveBug’s room.  A different kind of quiet.  Mom’s have an innate sort of “spidy sense” that tells us when our kids are getting into something that they shouldn’t.  As I peek around the corner, I see LoveBug putting crayons in his potty.  Now, he has never been one to play with pee so I was quite surprised.  After telling him that we don’t touch pee, I picked him up and that’s when it happened.  A tiny, cold, wet hand touched my arm.  My brain immediately sounded the alarm.  PEE!  PEE!  There’s pee on me!  Eject the child!  No don’t eject the child!  Find baby wipes!  Eww!  As I look down at my arm in disgust, he TOUCHES MY FACE!  Noooooooooo!  I shrieked, “UGGGH!”  Seeing that I am upset, and being the sensitive child that he is, he got upset too.  I ended up comforting him although he’s the one that put pee on me!  Sigh, I digress.

I got him in the bath and cleaned my face.  After splashing around for bit, he peed in the tub.  What gives?  He jumped up, practically leaping onto my lap, and got my clothes soaking wet.  “Is this really happening?  And all before 9 a.m.?”  I thought.  We walk back into his room and he peed on the floor.  You have got to be kidding me.  How much freaking water did I give this boy?  Sidebar: That one was my fault because I accidentally left his potty downstairs.  He yelled, “pee-pee-pee-pee!” while doing the pee dance.  I ran downstairs to get the potty, but tripped over a laundry basket and stepped on some small blocks.  He held it as long as he could.  I didn’t make it back in time.  I certainly have cleaned up a lot of pee in the last few months.  Ahhh to be a mommy.

Have any pee pee stories of your own?  C’mon I know that I can’t be alone on this one.  Comment below!

 

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Celebrating Halloween for the First Time in 18 Years

October 31st.  The dreaded day that broke my heart so many years ago.  The day that I had one less parent to help guide me through this world.  The day that I was no longer daddy’s little girl.  I remember this day last year and the grief that I felt.  Alas, this day has crept upon me again.  This time though, for the first time in 18 years I did more than lay on my couch and cry.

Dad & I at my elementary honor roll awards ceremony

While I didn’t get dressed up or pass out candy, I did manage to take my LoveBug to a Halloween dance party for toddlers at the library.  I didn’t want to fully commit to buying him a costume since I wasn’t sure if I’d go through with leaving the house, so I dressed him up as a cowboy with clothes we had at home.  We also stopped by a friend’s Halloween party.  LoveBug didn’t know what was going on, but he was excited to be around new people.  He ran around the living room passing out fist bumps and dancing to the music.  I was surprised that I really enjoyed seeing everyone so happy and didn’t feel sad.  The last few years of my father’s life, he was blind.  He didn’t even know what I looked like.  The fact that I can see my son and have this experience with him is a gift.  So although something in me feels guilty that I did not grieve, a piece of me feels grateful that I have this moment.

Mommy & Cowboy, Halloween 2015

This could be a turning point for me.  It is bittersweet though.  A love taken from me and a love given to me.  They say that having kids changes a person.  Bringing a life into this world has given me something that was long lost: joy.  Spending this day with my son has helped me turn a day that has caused such sorrow into a day that heals the wound in my heart.

 

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Potty Training Day 1

Let me start by saying that l am not a drinker.  But tonight, right now, I’m having a glass of wine.

I thought teething was bad.  Oooooweeeee… potty training is a beast.  Veteran moms answer me this: Is this how it’s going to be? Every time l feel like XYZ is the most stressful moment, another harder moment is waiting for me a few months away?  Talk about living on a roller coaster jeez.  I feel like I’m just riding the waves of his desires.  Feel like flinging food on the wall?  Mommy is here to clean it up.  Feel like having a meltdown because your blocks tipped over?  Mommy is here to comfort you.  And even after you said “I love daddy” FIRST… Mommy was still here to wipe your butt.  Hands down, being a parent is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  Ever.

Phew. I feel a little better by getting that out.  Back to potty training…

Little Butt is used to the potty because l leave it in his room so he can casually practice on it (read: stand on it and jump off).  He’s a very smart baby so l figured I’ll just take his diaper off, put him on the potty and boom we’ll be done in no time.  Um no.  He peed everywhere, but the potty.  Luckily we have hardwood floors so the clean up was a breeze.  Even though I have Googled my little heart out, I don’t think that I properly conveyed to him what our goal was because immediately after I put him on the potty he jumped up, hugged me and peed on my shirt.  Yup.  I’m a pee pee girl.  (Waving my white flag).  I have no idea what I am doing.

This is all I can muster tonight.  Plus, the wine is kicking in and soon you’ll be reading I loooooovvveee my… hiccup… baby.

Goodnight.

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Mommy Dating Basics

I like to call befriending other moms “mommy dating.”  It is pretty similar to real dating and just like real dating there are so many variables: where to meet other moms, making the connection, going out for that second (play)date, keeping in contact, when to Facebook friend each other and getting to know one another. It’s a lot of work!

Before getting married, I was very straight forward when meeting someone.  For instance, I’ve never been afraid to walk up to a guy, start talking and ask them for their digits (wow, that made me feel old).  But starting friendships with other moms (mommy dating) makes me anxious and I have more butterflies in my stomach than a teenage boy asking a girl to homecoming.  Just thinking about it right now is making my chest tight and armpits sweat.  There is a weird dynamic to making friends as an adult.  The pickup line “hey wanna play?” has a totally different meaning when you’re grown.  I don’t want to seem too eager or desperate and I’d like to show that I am informed about mommy stuff without sounding like a know-it-all.  It’s a very tight rope to balance, but once you’ve made the connection you’re golden!

My tips for mommy dating… 

1. Where to meet moms.  The park is a great place because it is free and there is almost always someone there.  Check your local library or children’s museum for kids events.  Getting your kid into a sport or activity is bound to help both of you make friends.  Meetup.com usually has playdate groups or you can start your own.

2. Breaking the ice.  Talking about a stroller, a toy, or her baby’s cute shoes are all easy ways to break the ice.  Also mommy struggles and triumphs are lively ways to connect.

3. Talking about the daddy.  Beware.  Sounding too happy or unhappy about your relationship can make or break things.  Quickly.  A little back and forth about silly things The Dads do is ok, but who wants to hear about Mr. Perfect or about the psycho you definitely don’t want your kid around?  Keep it to a minimum.

4. Ending the convo.  This part is so awkward.  The conversation is dwindling down and it’s obviously time to leave by the sound of your cranky, screaming child, but you’re not sure when you should jump in with the line “so… are you going to be here tomorrow?”  Or even more awkward, “do you wanna get together… ya know, maybe take the kids to Gymboree?”

5. When to send a Facebook friend request.  Ok, so of course you have to check out her page, ya know, just to make sure she isn’t a crazy person.  It definitely helps you get a sense of what you are dealing with – vegan, religious, drama queen, “crunchy,” a partier, whatever.  And no this is not Facebook stalking!  I, I mean you, are merely doing your due diligence and checking out a new person who may be around your child.  All-in-all, I’d say wait until you have talked on the phone a few times to see if you two click.

Have any tips or experiences to add?  Comment below!