Tag Archives: toddlers

My Fault…

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I thought I could go back to bed and lie there for a bit without incident. So, technically, I suppose it was my fault. But I heard everyone helping each other get breakfast. It sounded peaceable.

So, forty glorious minutes later I walk out. The weather’s perfect. It’s sunny. Even the introvert in me is charmed.

“Let’s go to the park,” I say, “Shoes on.”

At this moment in the hallway the little guy passes me holding a spoonful of milky cereal in front of his belly and marching into his bedroom. Curious, I follow him. Then I watch as he stops, calculates, throws said cereal onto the carpet, touches one foot on top of it delicately as if to evaluate his success and turns, I’m assuming, in order to get more.

Well, I stop that nonsense and on the way to the kitchen with the spoon I notice several other arrangements of cereal on the floor and realize this is an installation piece, probably entitled “Scourge of My Mother”. There is also one very wet towel lying in a square on the floor.

“Hey guys? What’s with the wet towel? Did he have an accident?”

“No, Mom, he spilled a cup of milk,” said the eldest.

“He did it on purpose. And it was my milk,” said the girl.

Mixed media.

(There are many moments like this when I’m glad I don’t have a nice place. I can’t stand how my kids treat my two-bedroom rental. What on earth would I do if they treated my dream-house this way?!)

I proceed into the kitchen. And the baby has tried to make a smoothie.

Here is a picture of that baby:

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I sigh and scrap my plans for the park. I place the baby in the tub (the only place he will remain contained) and wipe counters, do dishes, unload dishwasher so I can load dishes, start laundry from last night’s pee debacle(another long story), scrub and baking soda a square of carpet, sweep the kitchen, vacuum and four hours later it’s nap time and I’m sucking down coffee and eating some Go Diego Go cereal. For some subliminal reason I wanted some.

The first baby, that’s not anyone’s fault. You’re naive; you’ve never had a baby. You don’t know. The second one, well, that’s not technically your fault either. You and your husband have seven siblings between you. Let’s blame family culture. But three, well- the third one’s on you. You asked for three. This is on you.

Mr. Dinty Moore…

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The only reason we were in the grocery store on a Friday evening at four o’clock is because I signed up to bring a meal to a family in our church that had a new baby. I am not normally on the meals ministry because these days I can’t seem to make a meal larger than the appetites of the growing humans I’m responsible for.

Tonight was case in point because my tasty plans had fallen apart to the degree that two frozen lasagnas were cooking in my oven and I was at the grocery store on a Friday evening to buy bread and a ready salad.

By Friday evening my kids are tired after a week of school. Also, it is May, so my kids are also tired from a year of school. The little guy is potty training and missed his nap today and I am dragging them all through food-option-nirvana on empty bellies.

My daughter refuses to walk and is sitting in the cart pulling it around by reaching to whatever half-permanent object is closest. Every time I turn around the cart is five feet away. My little one is standing in the cart and eating grapes off the produce shelf. My seven-year-old has his nose buried in a book and is basically stopping wherever is most inconvenient for everyone else.

(“Put down your book!”)

As we make it to the checkout, things are devolving fast. The toddler has figured out how to lift the bottom of the cart and slide to the floor, which he is doing. My almost-six-year-old daughter is trying to read the US Weekly (“I want to read a magazine!”) which I am trying to distract her from.

(“Read this food magazine.”
“It’s boring!”)

I have fifteen items in a fifteen item express lane and three of my items are a twin loaf of bread, a bunch of bananas, and a bag of grapes. I am pushing it across the board.

The guy behind me strolls up, middle aged, glasses, with ten, I swear, microwavable ready-packs of Dinty Moore beef stew and about seven pounds of zucchini. I don’t know what the heck he’s got going on tonight but this bachelor sure as hell doesn’t have time for the circus I got going on right here.

My eldest has stopped reading his book long enough to make his sister dissolve into a puddle of indignant victimhood on the floor.

(“Just, stand over there and read your book!”)

My baby is back in the cart via “the new route” and is shaking the coin machine at the checkout.

At this point a fellow mother from school comes in (you know who you are). She’s alone, has her cart, takes one look at me, and laughs. That was the picture I was painting at that moment.

So, the middle-aged Chinese lady, that is my sympathetic cashier (“You very busy.”), scans my beer.

“You get some beer, I need to see ID.”

I, getting out my driver’s license and trying to placate Mr. Dinty Moore who is strangely unresponsive as my daughter wails at his feet, crack a joke, “And I earned every ounce.”

And this is why you should never EVER card a mother of three children. Because, people, my driver’s license had expired… on my birthday… in January.

(My eldest was loudly fascinated, “Mom, your ID expired?! What does that mean? It’s expired?! Can I see? So, you can’t get your beer?”
“Go read your book.”)

The Chinese lady grimaced as she slowly removed my beer from the belt. She regretted checking my ID now, thought it was going to be a great treat for everyone, and as much as it hurt me I could tell it stung her a little, too.

I don’t mind admitting that it’s a defeated Barbara who wrangled three kids into the car, without beer, and now thinking about DMV visits. (Argh!)

These days the toddler takes a while to get into his seat. He likes to play this really funny game where he jumps into the front seat right when I open the back door and jump back into the back seat when I open the front door. So, as badly as I wanted to be gone and home it took us several minutes before I could sit back in my seat.

Then, there was a knock on my window.

Who is it, but Mr. Dinty Moore himself and— he’s holding my beer.

“You bought me my beer!” I yell at the window. I rolled down the window.

I swear he said nothing, just smiled, handed me the beer, and walked away.

(“He bought your beer?! That guy bought your beer? Why did he do that?! You couldn’t buy beer because your ID had expired, right?”)

Well played Mr. Dinty Moore. May your meaty morsels be flavorful and your zucchini bread be moist. By blessing a mother with beer you have blessed us all.

Poop Part Two: Life of Poop…

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So, we are potty training the baby. I remember with my first child praying about the potty training. I remember strategizing and having interminable patience. I remember having the epiphanic moment at the grocery store, slowly scanning the produce department, “Every single one of these people was potty trained by someone.”

Somewhere in between one and three whatever novelty there was to potty training has worn off and I’m left most of the time thinking, “This should be done by now. How come he’s not already potty trained? Wait, who’s supposed to be potty training him?”

He’s doing really well and today was a no-diaper day. I got home from work and Dad and baby happily reported no accidents. So proud. And then Dad left.

And now it is my turn. It is bed time. I am tired. It is still light outside and there are complaints from all children that they have to go to bed while it’s light. I explain AGAIN about how the light gets longer but our daily hours don’t change for two more weeks, only two more weeks! “When school’s out it’s going to be different, but for now we still have to wake up at six-thirty.” And waking everyone up was a killer this morning.

I think I’ve got everyone down. Then I hear, “Poop coming, Mama.” I run to find a tiny well-contained turd on the floor and rush the boy to the toilet. One additional tiny turd plops in the pot. There is excessive wiping with a yard of toilet paper that has been squashed into a sphere the size of a golf ball. The pajama pants are poopy enough that they go in the laundry. The boy goes back to bed and I entertain with slightly less patience another complaint of going to bed in the light.

(“Poopy enough” is a term utilized by parents of multiple children to indicate the item’s position past a threshold marker on a long gradient scale that moves in correlation with the inconvenience of adding anything to the laundry pile.)

Two minutes later, “Poop coming, Momma.” I come in to find a larger, yet, still-contained turd on the floor. This one left a trail down the leg. I wipe the leg clean. One additional turd in the potty later followed by excessive wiping and yet another pair of pajama pants. The boy is back in bed.

And yet again, “Poop coming, Momma.” This time we make it with the turd still firmly clenched between his butt cheeks. Now we sit on the potty. One tiny turd followed by excessive wiping. Three minute hiatus. Another tiny turd followed by excessive wiping. Three minute hiatus.

“Are you all done? No more poop?”
“No. Poop still coming.”

Another tiny turd followed by excessive wiping. Some gets on his fingers, he wipes it off on his shirt. I realize we’ll need a new shirt. I wipe the fingers.

Another tiny turd followed by excessive wiping. He lifts up his penis to see the poop. He gets pee on his hand and wipes it down his leg. I realize he is now dirty enough for a bath.

(“Dirty enough” is a term utilized by parents of multiple children to indicate a child’s contamination level past a certain threshold point on a long gradient that moves in correlation to the parents willingness to snuggle said child.)

Another tiny turd followed by excessive wiping. I try to explain how to wait and wipe just once at the end. He doesn’t buy it. I eye the dwindling roll of toilet paper and tell myself to let it go. Take your victories, leave some battles for later. One square to get the drip of pee off the tip of his penis. We flush to make sure we don’t clog the toilet.

Forty-five minutes later AND a bath AND an entire roll of toilet paper, a fourth pair of pajama pants, a new shirt, kisses, hugs, and covers, and we are in bed again.

It is now dark. No one is complaining about going to bed. The girl is already asleep.

And I realize again that the two greatest things I may ever do in this world are teaching three human beings to read and teaching three human beings to poop on the potty.

Fever Dreams…

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I’ve been sick this week and it has been horrible. I came home from church on Sunday feeling weak and achey. I gave out walking in the door. I crawled into bed and for the next two days had weird fever dreams about snorkeling in the Bahamas and getting hit on by a young and over confident Bill Nye the Science Guy.(?!) Because the universe is efficient, my period began on Monday which lent a delightful sensation to every hacking fit. I was dying and I had the blood to prove it.

There were a lot of fun things that I had to miss. There were a lot of necessary things that I had to miss. Nothing like a flu to drastically reprioritize your day.

But the baby was sick, too, so we were low energy together. Which, as any parent will tell you, is MUCH better than being sick trying to watch a healthy two-and-half-year-old hell bent on frying his own egg, “YOLKY EGG!”.

So, we crawled into Mommy’s bed and slept, a wolf and her cub curled up in the cool dim of a den, hiding away. He fell asleep on my chest like he used to, like he’s almost too big to do anymore, like he might never do again. It’s enough to say that even in the midst of all the aches and coughing I noticed it and was grateful.

That is twice this year that I have been sicker than I have been in a long time. And it has not made for proud Barbara moments. I’m ashamed to admit that both times I came to a point very quickly where I wanted to die. “No, no, Barbara,” I say to myself curled around a bucket on the floor, “You don’t mean that at all. You want to see graduations, and weddings, and grandchildren!” “No, I really think I’d rather die.” “You’re being overdramatic.” “Probably? Hold on, let me check… no, of all the things you mentioned the sudden and immediate cessation of THIS sounds best, let’s go with that one.” I mean, that’s just sad, people. S-A-D.

But I’m feeling better. I still can’t do much. For example, I started watching Jimmy Fallon clips on you tube last night and just didn’t stop them. Two-and-a-half hours later… TWO-AND-A-HALF HOURS. And tonight I’m popping banana chips and contemplating another episode of my new favorite BBC detective show (Foyle’s War!). Things are looking up.

We’ll chat more. This can be a Part 1. Part 2 may be titled, “Further Revelations of the Fever”.

Missing…

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So, for those of you who don’t know my dear little twenty-month-old baby number three, let me tell you he’s my “active child”. For those of you who don’t know dear little babies one and two, well, let me tell you, that’s saying something.

He likes to explore. He is not scared of strangers. And he’s fast.

And … AND … Mom and Dad have two other kids and six years of parenting experience lulling them into a false sense of security.

He once made a friend at the playground and tried to go home with him. He was very upset when the strangers wouldn’t let him into their car.

A few weeks ago he walked into the middle of a pickup basketball game at the park and took the ball. These big tatted dudes spent the next three minutes tossing the ball with him.

A couple of months ago he was playing happily in the donut room after church with the other kids. When we looked up he was gone. After a five-minute search we found him up in the balcony drinking the little cups of leftover communion wine.

And today, YES!, today he disappeared after Mom’s group. My younger two stepped out of the nursery behind me in a group of other kids. I turned for his shoes and when I turned back he was gone. I searched the gym. I searched both locker rooms. I went up the stairs. He was nowhere.

I began to freak out and enlisted my mom friends to help me. I went to the guys unloading equipment out a side door and asked them to please look out for a little boy in a yellow sweatshirt. I went to the balcony and alerted the quilting ladies to please hold onto him if they found him.

It may have been as long as ten minutes. It felt like forever.

And then someone decided to use the elevator. And there’s my boy, with the emergency panel open conversing with the first responder on the other end.

Of course, you feel better instantly as you do in these situations. As Ma would say to Pa, “Well, all’s well that ends well.” And they almost died frequently out on the prairie. Being stuck in an elevator for ten minutes would have hardly been worthy of the proverb.

I hugged and kissed my little bolter. My friend apologized to the first responder. Maybe it was my emotion, maybe it was being stuck in an elevator for ten minutes and unable to reach the “1”, whatever it was my boy was rather subdued on the way home.

I am not in high hopes that he has learned any lesson, but I certainly hope his Mommy has. I thought this post was going to end up being funny. But reliving it has just made me exhausted all over again. Goodnight!