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Fruitless Ventures


I think we all know how hard it can be to get the kids and yourself out the door and to the store for necessary errands.  It’s never that fun in the end.  Someone ends up crying to go home or they cry because you don’t buy every fun thing they see.

Generally my boys are very well behaved in public.  Something I’m very grateful for.  

However, my 1-year-old has now found it hilarious to squeal as loudly as possible in large stores.  It’s not a mad scream or whining or crying, but it is LOUD.  It certainly draws attention to say the least.

We had to go to the store for one specific thing today that we were almost out of.  We made it through potty stops, getting dressed, putting shoes on, getting into the car and all the way into the store.  We then walked around the entire store at least 4 times in search of our item.  We asked for help 3 times and they searched as well, scouring through the store, backstock and everywhere else it could have ended up.  Their logs said they had like 2 pallets of it in stock.  This turned out to be an error in receiving.  

My 1-year-old made sure to let everyone in the store know where we were.  My 3-year-old begged for a toy and even opted to put our strawberries back in exchange for a Pre-K workbook.  Two other things I had hoped to find at the store while we were there… they also didn’t have.  Not out of stock… just.. didn’t have.

So home we go.  Empty-handed, hungry and tired.  

You have no idea how much I wanted to walk out of there with a box of donuts.  

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Bottomless Pit


What made me think of this title was my 3-year-old’s appetite at lunch time today.  He muched on a little of everything – mac & cheese, chips & salsa, grapes, cheese, peanut butter and pepperoni.  I’m starting to dread the coming teenage years.

But what this evolves into is the pit in which I put myself all the time.  I don’t get thrown in by life, I don’t tumble in accidently.  I do it myself.  And I don’t think I’m alone.  I get told by family and friends that I’m a really good mom.  They’ve watched me with the kids and they see how they’ve grown, and their manners and attitudes – evidence of a job well done in parenting.  But I always feel like they’ve never seen the real me.  I don’t let my ‘angry mommy’ come out that much around other people.  Oh, I discipline them and set them straight when we’re among company or in public, but I have a much easier time holding my temper and using a quieter, calmer voice.  Once it’s just me and the kids I feel like I lose some of that control.  I don’t like it.  And it’s because of this that I throw myself down into that pit all the time and stop believing that I’m a good mommy.

Here’s what I’ve figured out.  It’s not that I yell at the kids more or stop enjoying being with them when there are no other people around.  No, what I do is I stop smiling.  When there are other people around and the kids do something that earns ‘the mom look’, I take care of it, give a little smile of reassurance and move on, I continue to enjoy the time with company and the conversation.  When it’s just me and the kids and they do something bad, I take care of it and then move on without showing any positive emotion afterwards.  This starts the tumble into the pit.

Why don’t we smile when we’re alone?  It slowly ruins our day.  I want to fix this.

Ok, here it goes…

911: What is your emergency?

Me: I farted on a first date!!

911: Ma’am that’s not something we can…

Me: IT SOUNDED LIKE A BALLOON ANIMAL ASKING A QUESTION!!  

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Clammed up


It was interesting to watch the evolution of the social dynamics at our outdoor preschool class.  And I’m not just talking about the kids.  Some kids are outgoing from the start and tend to take the lead in all the activities.  The shy ones just follow along and try not to get trampled.  

The parents, though, had their own evolution.  I noticed that we all stuck with our kids for these last 8 weeks, except for this last class of the season.  Instead of hanging out just with our kids or standing apart and just monitoring them, we all kind of mingled more and spent more time talking to each other than monitoring the activity.  

So now we have this whole group of people who finally started talking to each other, parents opening up, kids playing together… and it’s over.  Bye.

You’d think we would have all felt more compelled to chat during the last month and a half.  I mean, we all have something in common… kids about the same ages!  Why do we all have to be so closed off?  Everyone I meet can’t be as introverted as me, can they?

Well, here’s to awkwardly standing around with the same people for weeks on end and never learning their names!  Cheers!

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Reindeer or Fireworks?


When it comes to your kids’ interests, you never really know what to expect.  They’ll take a liking to something seemingly random and make an obsession out of it.  This has happened for my 3-year-old with penguins, dinosaurs, cars and trains.  As hard as it was to find penguin items, all he really cared about was Happy Feet, so toys didn’t really matter that much.  But this last obsession is proving to be the most tricky.

Trains seem easy enough.  There are train things everywhere for kids thank to Thomas.  Finding trains and train-related things is not the hard part.  The hard part is when he gets hooked on building a train track (from the wooden kits where you can piece them together in all different configurations) and then his younger brother sits on them and tears them all apart.  You spend more time fixing the track than they spend playing with it.

I thought I had this whole train thing under control.  I can mostly convince him that if the baby tears it apart too much and he can’t put it back together, then it just means we get to build a whole new track and make it even cooler.  He’s okay with this most of the time.  Yay!  

And now, something I wasn’t prepared for.  

The Polar Express.

Let me clarify.  He loved this movie at Christmas time last year.  Well… he remembers it.  It’s almost June now…. and it’s all he wants to watch.  We haven’t even finalized our 4th of July plans yet and he’s picking out what he wants to get from Santa this year (a diplodocus dinosaur).  

I get a lot of songs stuck in my head thanks to kid’s shows, but Christmas carols don’t usually get into the mix at this time of year.

I’m so confused!!

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Self-directed Lunacy

It’s not hard to get caught up in the drama of life with toddlers.  There are certain things you come to expect on a daily basis – indecision over food choices, fighting over toys, tantrums over any number of insignificant thing and so on.  But then you get a few new ones thrown in and it’s like your brain just blew a fuse.  You were handling the indecision, the fighting and the tantrums, but then comes that screaming fit over something as stupid as receiving the wrong color spoon with their yogurt.  It’s like the straw that broke the camel’s back.  

Suddenly it’s like everything they’ve been doing all morning has just been piling up a stack of dynamite and they just lit the fuse.  That stack of dynamite was harmless until they threw that spark on it.

And then you feel bad that you blew up at them.  All of a sudden that spoon that they were screaming about and you thought was so stupid a thing to scream about is now making you scream.  

You’ve been sucked into their drama.  It’s almost inevitable.

I kind of like the idea of throwing their drama back at them sometimes.  Like if they start to stomp their foot and get mad over nothing, find something equally inconsequential, like wanting a blue car instead of a green one, and just throw a huge fit over it.  

Even if it doesn’t compute for them about it being an overreaction and mimicing them, it can often lead to blowing off steam for you and it will usually, ultimately make them laugh.  Problem solved.

Although the neighbors might wonder.

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Parenting Game Show


Let’s play a game.  It’s called Jeopardy for Parents.

First question: What the &$#% is my problem?

Answer: You’re a parent.  Sanity is only fleeting and happiness happens more often as a result of fart jokes than general well-being.

Next question: When was your last shower?

Answer: I’m giving Snape a run for his money in the greasy hair department.  

Next question: What’s for dinner?

Answer: The leftovers from the last four meals your kids didn’t eat.  And mac & cheese.

Next question: Where is my ______________?

Answer: In the same place as all of the missing sippy cups, unfinished snacks, puzzle pieces and last year’s sunglasses.

This could go on for days…

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Instinct


For the first time this season we got to take the boys swimming out at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  

We tried taking our youngest to the pool when he was about 7 months old but he nearly froze just being in a swim diaper, let alone in the water.  We didn’t hold out much hope for his affinity for water sports.

Turns out, he’s even more adept in the water than his older brother!  I held him on his tummy and he immediately started kicking his legs.  Like he was born to swim!  My 3-year-old eventually got used to the life vest we put on him and by the end he could swim from one end of the pool to the other without help.  

I’m starting to understand those “proud momma” moments. They’re not a bragging thing, they’re a ‘Holy crap! You just did that!!’ thing.