Our Girl is in the Digits

A few days ago, my sweet little Ell-Bell turned one.  I can’t believe it has been a year since the day my OB looked at me with sympathy in her eyes and told me she was referring me to Labor and Delivery for high blood pressure.  A year since we called my in-laws from the hospital and told them it was time, that they needed to make the 4-hour drive to DC to pick up my son from daycare.  A year since my Hubby had to call his current employer and reschedule his upcoming residency interview.  A year since we decided, together with my OB, that a TOLAC would probably be pointless, and another c-section was in the cards.  A year since I cried like a baby because I couldn’t breathe through my nose right before the surgery began.  A year since Ell-Bell came out of my abdomen as the cheesiest, screamiest baby I have ever seen.  A year since K-Man came to visit his new baby sister in the hospital — I’m still so grateful Hubby captured his reaction on video.*   A year since we spent three days in the hospital recovering and getting to know our sweet new family member.  A year since we learned how to change a poopy diaper when a vagina is involved.  A year since I was so delirious from sleep deprivation in the hospital that I kept referring to Ell-Bell as a “he.”  A year since we came home from the hospital to discover, in horror, that my father-in-law was doing our laundry. (He saw my underwear, you guys!)  A year since we began our life at home as a family of four.

In honor of my baby girl’s coming of age, I’d like to dedicate the rest of this post to 10 Fun Facts About Ell-Bell.  Without further ado:

  1. When Ell-Bell crawls, she swings her head wildly from side to side.  It might be the cutest thing ever.
  2. Ell-Bell took her first solo steps when she was 11.5 months, but I don’t think she liked it very much.  She still prefers crawling, but is getting more adventurous with her walking, too.  She’s also really good at flapping her arms and correcting before she falls over.  I’m worried she might take flight, though.
  3. She is a champion eater.  My favorite thing is watching her eat rice.  She scoops it up and smashes it into her face-mouth at impressive speed.
  4. Ell-Bell is a total TV-head like her big brother, but she also likes to torture him by crawling up to the TV and turning it off while he’s totally engrossed.
  5. She loves her big brother hard and thinks he’s hilarious.  Even though he will never let her hold a toy for longer than 5 seconds before he rips it out of her hand.  Even though he likes to “hug” her while slowly tackling her to the ground.
  6. Ell-Bell is extremely ticklish.  For the first 8 or 9 months of her life, she had the weirdest little snort-laugh and Hubby and I were kind of nervous.  But she has developed a charming little giggle lately.  Thank gawd.
  7. She knows how to give kisses.  Big, wet, slimy, open-mouthed kisses.
  8. Ell-Bell is obsessed with our Christmas tree.  We basically can’t leave her alone in the living room because she will bee-line right for it.  We also can’t have any ornaments on the lower half of the tree. Sigh.
  9. She has two goofy little teeth on the bottom of her mouth, which came in when she was about 10 months old.  I’m wondering if she’ll ever get more.
  10. Ell-Bell likes to sneak away while we’re watching TV and try to crawl up the stairs on her own.  When she gets caught, she laughs hysterically.

Happiest Birthday, baby girl, we love you so much!

Until next time,

Vee

* I made a video montage of Ell-Bell’s first year of life, and I’m kind of partial to it.  I’ll put up a password-protected post right after this one with a link to the video if any of you care to see it.  Just email me at wifeyvm1985@gmail.com for the password.

I Want Sleep Parity and I Want It Now!

If you have small kids, how do you and your Sig O share the load when it comes to night time and early morning wakings?

For Hubby and me, it has never been even a little bit close to equal.  If one of the kids wakes during the night or before we’re up in the morning, I’m the default caretaker. This drives me nuts.  I know it’s not healthy to keep score, but it’s kind of hard not to when I’m basically batting one thousand.

Biology is part of the problem.  I breastfed both kids and so the assumption is that they are waking to eat, and I’m the food.  I’d be curious to know, though, what the division of labor is for families where there is not a breastfeeding parent.  Is it any more equal?  And, needless to say, it’s not like Hubby started taking half the K-Man wakings when I weaned him.

Another count against biology: I’m apparently wired to wake up to the sounds of baby cries, and Hubby is not.  Or at least that’s what he would like me to believe.  I’m not entirely convinced he hasn’t been pretending to be asleep all this time.  Either way, unless I roll over and physically wake him up to help out, I’m on my own.  It is exhausting — and feels selfish — to have to always beg him to do his share.

To be fair, Hubby’s work schedule makes it impossible for him to wake up with the kids most days.  That’s because on the days that he works, he’s usually leaving the house before they even get up.  (And this is the part where you lose all sympathy for me, right?  But the petty part of me has to point out that when I was working and Hubby was in school, I was still always the one getting up with K-Man, even on the weekends.)

I’m not asking for anything unreasonable.  Here’s what I want: on the days that Hubby gets off, I want an even split between who gets to sleep in.  And I don’t want to have to remind him or ask for it.  I want it to be the default.

These days, if I want the chance to sleep in, we have to discuss it the night before.  I have to make an appointment.  And sometimes, come morning, Hubby doesn’t honor the appointment.  Nothing makes me more grumpy than waking up with the kids when I was led to believe I was going to get an extra hour of glorious sleep.

Last week, Hubby randomly had three mornings off in a row.  Great, I thought, I’ll get to sleep in at least once this week!  We didn’t discuss anything before the first morning off, so Hubby slept in.  I was fine with that, he works hard and deserves his time off.  That night, though, we talked and Hubby volunteered that he would let me sleep in on the second morning.  However, when Ell-Bell woke for the day with her cranky cries, Hubby opened his eyes for a few seconds, rolled over, and went back to sleep.  After I gave him a thorough reaming when he finally did get up, Hubby promised I could sleep in on the third morning.  Well, needless to say, Ell-Bell woke up on Day 3 and Hubby wasn’t budging.  So I passive-aggressively brought her in to bed with us.  She grunted and screeched, but Hubby still snored on.  Finally, I swore loudly and stormed out of bed.  Hubby woke for a few seconds to ask “What’s wrong?” but he didn’t follow up when I didn’t answer and left the room.  I came back up a few minutes later to get K-Man’s monitor, and Hubby was like, “leave it, I got him.”  Seething, I told him it didn’t fucking matter and stomped away.  Another five minutes later, I heard Hubby coming down the stairs, and I instantly felt regret and guilt.  Why am I such a monster about this stuff?  Why can’t I just act like an adult and calmly resolve these issues with my Hubby? Halp!

So yeah, I have some work to do on coming to terms with my current sleep situation.  You know what else would solve this problem, though?  Kids who don’t wake up in the middle of the night!  And kids who don’t wake up at the butt crack of dawn!  Little turds.

Until next time,

Vee

Boo You, Monday

Semi-serious question: are you allowed to have a case of the Mondays when you’re a stay-at-home Mom? I mean, it’s not like you’re returning to the office after the weekend off from your kids, right? Maybe for some, the weekend means the presence of a co-parent who takes the load off somewhat. But since Hubby is working more often than not on the weekends, it’s all pretty meaningless to me.  Sometimes, the only way I know it’s Sunday is if I pull up to the library with the kids and realize it’s closed. (That’s never fun).

Whether it’s a case of the Mondays or something else, I am a grumpy-pants today.  I think it’s just a death-by-a-thousand-paper-cuts situation.

Here are some of the particularly smarting paper cuts I’m dealing with now:

  • Yesterday, our neighbor put on a clinic in passive-aggressive behavior.  While we were sitting on the couch watching some football, we looked out our window to behold him in our front yard with a pole saw.  What the fuck?  Turns out he had invited himself over to saw off the wasp nest up in our tree — the one that he couldn’t stop obsessively asking us what we were going to do about.  Honestly, my blood still boils when I think about it.  Mind your own business, old man, and get off my fucking lawn.  The nest was really high up in the tree, and because it was so high, the wasps weren’t really disturbing anyone.  And frankly, Hubby was kind of (adorably, inexplicably) attached to the colony and didn’t want to off it.  And the neighbor just came over, sawed the nest down, bagged it, and walked away.  Didn’t knock on our door to say he was doing it or anything.  Not fucking cool at all.
  • Last night was Hubby’s third overnight shift at the hospital in a row.  Which means he was gone each night from 6pm until 8 or 9am, and then slept at home the next day until 2 or 3 pm.  Now obviously that schedule sucks big balls for Hubby, but this blog is about me, so let me tell you why it sucks for me.  First, I’m pretty sure my basement is the Upside Down and there is a Demogorgon lurking around down there.  (In other words, it’s scary here alone).  Second, handling the kids all by myself during the witching hour, bath time, and bedtime sucks all of the life out of me.  I literally collapse in a heap on the couch when I’m done, and I only get up to refill my Pringles and wine.  Third,  when Hubby is sleeping in the house during the day, we have to be very quiet.  It is so easy and not at all stressful trying to keep an almost-three-year-old quiet, you guys.
  • We are potty training K-Man, and he is going through a sleep regression, all at the same time.  It.  is.  hell.  He has obviously figured out that a pretty surefire way to get out of bed at night is to tell us that he has to go potty.  So you can imagine that he has to go potty every five minutes.  Sometimes, he even has to go potty before we can get his underwear back on again.  I can’t, you guys.  I am losing it on all kinds of new levels and it’s not pretty.  I am trying to really dig deep to find some serenity, but it is exhausting.
  • I’m having a bit of an expectations vs. reality struggle this holiday season.  For example, on Thursday, Hubby had the day off, so we planned to go somewhere and cut down our own Christmas tree.  I imagined fresh air, pine smell, gorgeous giggling kids, Hubby dressed as a sexy lumber jack, me looking flawless in all my Uggs glory, and an assortment of Instagram-worthy pictures to prove it happened.  Boy, am I stupid.  There was nothing especially awful about how it went down — we bought a pre-cut tree off the lot, there was some sort of polar vortex wind thing going on, Ell-Bell was a sad, crying mess, and I took two dimly-lit pictures — but I was super disappointed because I had let me imagination run wild beforehand.  I really need to learn that life does not happen in Instagram frames, and I should to adjust my expectations accordingly.  Can someone remind me of that again on Christmas Eve?

Anywhoozzle, gotta go yell at K-Man for the one-billionth time to be quiet so he doesn’t wake his dad up.  Until next time,

Vee

#NaBloPoMo Day 27: What Happened at Thanksgiving

It’s the 27th day of November and the 27th day of NaBloPoMo.  While today’s theme is supposed to be Christmas, I’m going rogue and talking about our disastrous Thanksgiving instead.  Don’t forget to read yesterday’s post about how Hubby and I went rogue and bought a house without seeing it in person!

When I designed my list of NaBloPoMo themes, I thought I might use today to talk about Christmas, because I am one of those people who gets into the Christmas spirit early.  Like, let’s get Halloween and Thanksgiving out of the way already so we can make some fucking Christmas cookies!  (And if you’re a celebrate-Christmas-before-Thanksgiving-er, more power to you!)

But today, instead of looking forward to Christmas, I find myself reflecting on how this past Thanksgiving was something of a disaster.  Before your imagination runs away with you, let me just say that most things food-related turned out really well (with a gravy exception discussed below).  So why was our Thanksgiving so disappointing?  Would it give it away if I suggested we rename it Pukesgiving?

Half of us got a horrible, pukey, 24-hour stomach bug.  It all started when I heard my sister-in-law (SIL) puking in the bathroom on Friday night.  She puked twice and then had a headache and chills.  Then I woke up at about 1am Saturday morning and vomited my brains out.  I threw up 4 more times before actual morning.  And then Ell-Bell barfed all over herself and our bed at about 3am.  And at 4am Hubby spewed an unbelievable amount of his insides out, developed the most violent shivers I’ve ever seen, and then buried himself deep under the covers and became totally dead to the world.  When K-Man woke up for the day at 7am, he said his tummy hurt.  Uh oh.  Over the next 8 hours, he managed to chuck on the rug, the sofa, and the kitchen floor.  Who knew two-year-olds had so much room in their tummies?

I continued to vomit every 1-2 hours for the first half of Saturday, and then I felt like death warmed over for the rest of the day.  Hubby was only out of bed between the hours of 11am and 6pm, and when he was up, he was pretty much just sitting on the couch moaning and shivering.  We have no idea what happened to make us all so sick.  Food poisoning is one potential culprit, but we couldn’t isolate anything that only the sick folks ate, so who knows.

It was pretty brutal, though.  There we were with guests who had come all this way to see us, and we could barely function enough to keep our kids alive, let alone be good hosts.  And if I’m being completely honest, I was pretty bitter that Hubby just helped himself to bed, leaving me solely responsible for our two little vomiting munchkins.  Have you ever tried to clean up toddler vomit alone while keeping a crawling and curious baby at bay?  All while trying to soothe your own ever-increasing urge to barf?

On the bright side, I lost 3 pounds in a day!

Aside from the pukefest, there were the inevitable awkward interpersonal shenanigans that just made the whole weekend kind of uncomfortable.  Caution, major vent sesh ahead.

My SIL and her husband (BIL) would not stop with their miserable bickering.  It was kind of my fault that they weren’t getting along to begin with.  We were talking about BIL’s little brother, and I mentioned something about the brother’s fairly unusual and newly-diagnosed medical condition.  Well, unbeknownst to me, I wasn’t supposed to know about said medical condition.  So BIL really let SIL have it about telling secrets that were not hers to tell.  Never one to leave a damsel in distress, I rushed to her defense: “To be fair, I think I heard about it from [SIL’s dad].”  And then BIL proceeded to flip out because he didn’t know that SIL had told her dad about it either.  So, yeah, I was super helpful there.

But they kept up with their fighting all weekend, and it was majorly uncomfortable.  SIL was a grumpy buttface and treated BIL like dirt, and BIL made no effort to tone down his “go fuck yourselfs” in front of us or the kids.  I have never had to change the subject so much in my life!

BIL was also weirdly combative with Hubby and me about things that just don’t matter. Like, why didn’t we have a baby gate at the top of our stairs?  What if K-Man suddenly developed a sleep walking habit and fell down the stairs in the middle of the night?  Why did K-Man’s training potty have a liftable top lid on it? What was that for?  And back when I had a job, why did I choose to eat breakfast at work instead of at home?  BIL also insisted on taking charge of the gravy for the Thanksgiving meal because “Americans don’t know how to do gravy right” (he’s from the UK).  Guys, he totally wrecked it.  It tasted like watered-down Turkey butt.  While that may be the approximate technical definition of gravy, can I kindly introduce you to my two friends, salt and butter?  I wouldn’t hold it against him if he hadn’t thrown out the whole “Americans don’t know how to…” business.

Also, K-Man and my nephew did not get along.  At all.  Which we expected because they’re both two, and when you’re two, you couldn’t give any shits about caring through sharing.  But my god, could 3 seconds go by before they were both screaming and rolling on the floor, wrestling over a stupid toy that neither one of them wanted to use only moments before?  And of course both sets of parents had to run to the rescue, and there were all kinds of awkward politics as we tried not to directly accuse the other couple’s child of being a complete asshole.

Finally, SIL and BIL just made themselves a little too at home for my taste.  The kind of petty stuff that shouldn’t bother normal people, but I have trouble letting go:

  • SIL decided it would be fun to let her son do sensory play with a bowl full of cranberries on our floor.  She made no effort to clean up or apologize when he spilled them everywhere, stepped on them, peeled them, and smushed them into our carpets.  What the fuck?
  • My nephew was completely naked from the waist down approximately 79% of the time.  Too much baby penis for me.  And maybe you could have your kid put some pants on before he rubs his bare butt all over my furniture?
  • My SIL’s bra broke and she had to borrow one of mine for the rest of the visit.  Is it just a little bit weird that she only brought one bra?

Okay okay.  Petty complaints aside, it really was good to see family for a few days.  And SIL and BIL really stepped up to the plate when Hubby and I were drowning in puke on Saturday.  My SIL even cleaned up one of K-Man’s vomit piles.  That’s the real deal.

Nevertheless, this introvert is exhausted and ready to recharge alone at home for a few days.

Until next time,

Vee

Thankful

Because today is about spending time with family (and stressing my way through hosting Thanksgiving), I’ll keep things brief on this 23rd day of NaBloPoMo.

When I was growing up, my family’s tradition on Thanksgiving was to go around the table and, one-by-one, say what we were each thankful for.  Probably not a very unique tradition, but it did give the day some transcendental meaning.  So in the spirit of nostalgia, here is what I am thankful for over the past year:

  • My cute kids:  Shifting from one to two kids over the past year was a lot harder than I thought it would be, but as low as some of the lows were, the highs were even higher.  I am so blessed to be able to mom these two amazing, adorable, incredible, funny, smart, CUTE FREAKING KIDS.  I need to remember how lucky I am all the time, and not just when I’m feeling sappy at Thanksgiving.
  • My husband: Hubby worked his ASS off this past year.  His 4th year of medical school, the residency interview and match process, his first year of residency.  These are things that drive normal, single medical students insane, and Hubby survived it with a crazy wife and two young kids! He is a super hero (probably sexy sexy Batman, if I get to pick).
  • Our new home: How special is it to be spending this Thanksgiving in our first very own home?  There’s a fire crackling, it’s warm, there’s family, and it smells like delicious-ish food.  This is amazing.
  • Our extended family: Because of Hubby’s crazy schedule and workload, we’ve been pretty delinquent about making the travel rounds this past year.  We are so grateful to our extended family for making the effort to come to us, they’re the real MVPs!
  • This blog: The newest member of our family, haha!  But seriously, though it has only been a month going, I am grateful for this outlet, this newfound hobby, and a few people I’ve gotten to know better through this venue.

Okay, that’s enough sap.  Happy Thanksgiving to all! Go get your Turkey (or Tofurkey) on!

Until next time,

Vee

#NaBloPoMo Day 20: We Have Two Cats

It’s November 20th, which means we are two thirds of the way through the most wonderful month of the year!  Today my NaBloPoMo theme is Pets.  Speaking of pets, a pet wasp is probably not a good idea.

Our family has two black cats.  They’re brothers.  They’re adorable.  They’re assholes and they ruin my life on an hourly basis.

Hubby and I adopted our cats from a shelter when they were kittens 9 years ago.  It was kind of a bold move for our relationship, because we were still just boyfriend-girlfriend at the time.  We joked about how we had to stay together for the cats, because neither of us could bear to part ways with them.

My, how things have changed.  Everyone always worries when they plan for children that bringing home a baby will change their relationship with their pet for the worse.  Well, those people worry for a reason.  Pets — well, annoying pets like cats — they don’t mesh with babies and toddlers.  Maybe if we were smart and got a dog instead, things would be different, I don’t know.

But yeah, my once undying love for my two kitties has dwindled overtime to whatever the opposite of “undying” is.  (Dying?)  The problem is that kids always need something from you.  They’re all over your body.  They’re noisy.  It gets exhausting.  And unfortunately, my two cats have all of those same traits, so they compound the problem.  Mommy is a little touched out.  And mommy doesn’t want to hear another peep after the kids go to bed.  So please stop effing meowing for dinner hours before it’s time to feed you.

There’s also just never a convenient time to deal with a cat problem.  For example, the other day, one of my cats escaped out of the house.   After he didn’t come back to the sound of me vigorously shaking a treat bag at the back door, I put the bag on the floor in frustration and resolved to go out looking for him.  Which means I had to strap Ell-Bell on in the carrier, peel K-Man away from the TV, bribe him to put his shoes and jacket on,  so we could all trek outside for an indeterminate amount of time searching for my house cat.  It was a nightmare.  And of course, right as we were all packed up and ready to head out for our walkabout, the other cat snatched the treat bag I had inexpertly left on the floor and started to run away with it.  So I had to drop everything and chase cat number two around the house.  He of course proceeded to spray treats all over the floor, and I had no choice but to clean them up before I left — he’s obese, after all.  I swear it was a big conspiracy.

Don’t worry, I found the other cat.

Sometimes at night the cats snuggle me or sleep on my pillow, and I remember how much I love them.  But then one of them gets up and starts scratching the wall when I’m trying to get in my very few hours of precious sleep.  Stupid effing cats.

Until next time,

Vee

#NaBloPoMo Day 19: The Sting of Halloween

Nineteen days into NaBloPoMo, and today’s theme is Injury.  I’m talking about a serious one today, folks!  By the way, if you need some help in the toddler raising department, be sure to read yesterday’s post about how I discipline my demonic two-year-old.

If there’s one thing I lack, it’s experience with bee stings.*   Or wasp or hornet stings, what have you.   Rumor has it that when I was a little kid, I was stung by a wasp on the butt while I was using a training toilet outside (as you do).  But that was the last and only time I’ve ever been stung, and I obviously don’t remember how it felt.

I do remember feeling pretty smug when, a few years back, my cousin’s family was visiting and her husband would not shut up about the wasps in our back yard.  “Katie, we CANNOT let our kids get stung,” he said to my cousin emphatically.  “That would just ruin our WHOLE DAY.”  I rolled my eyes inwardly, thinking he was being overly dramatic.  That was two years ago, but unfortunately there’s no statute of limitations on karma.

So let’s flash back to Halloween of this year.  We were at a “Boo at the Zoo” event, and K-Man was having a grumpy day.  He’s really not into dressing up in costume, but we bribed him into a fireman outfit by telling him it was just a jacket he needed to wear because it was cold outside.  Hah, sucker.

Once K-Man realized the event was an exercise in collecting candy, his mood brightened somewhat.  Nevertheless, we sighed loudly when he suddenly screamed and threw his pumpkin bucket to the ground.  Hubby made no effort to hide his annoyance as K-Man’s sobs grew.  But as I stared down at his sad little shaking body, I started to realize something was actually wrong.  Though there was no offender in sight, we thought maybe the poor little dude had been stung by a yellow jacket. I had seen them everywhere all morning, and of course his hands were covered in sugar.  When his finger turned red and started to swell, we were certain that’s what we were dealing with.

Since I had no recollection of how much a sting hurts, I didn’t know what I was in for with my injured toddler.  When the initial tears dried up after a few minutes, I figured the episode was behind us.  But no, every 2-3 minutes, K-Man would break down crying in long, morose sobs all over again.

It really was a “bless his heart” kind of moment.  Some of the attendants felt so bad for him — without even knowing why he was crying — that they gave him extra candy as he made the rounds.

Eventually we gave up and left the zoo.  K-Man’s tearful outbursts became fewer and farther between, but still lasted for several hours.  He even woke up early from his nap crying about how his “finguh huht”.

To make him feel better, I told him the story about getting stung on my butt when I was a toddler. Well, that surely left a mark. Here we are, three weeks out, and I will still hear K-Man whispering to himself in the back seat: “I got stung by a bee on my finger and Mom got stung by a bee on her BUTT!!” I guess we’re bonded now.

Until next time,

Vee

*I’m totally joking.  I am abundant with flaws.

How to Discipline Your 2-Year-Old (#NaBloPoMo Day 18)

And we’re on to NaBloPoMo Day 18!  I know it’s the weekend, but I hope you’re all behaving. Today’s theme is Discipline, and things are about to get pretty stern up in here.

Let’s talk about my son K-Man.  I love him to the end of the Earth.  But the terrible twos have struck hard, and my once sweet little boy is now a bona fide ass face.  Guys, it’s so bad, so bad that I have to wonder if everything is ok.  Is this normal two-year-old stuff? Or is he going to have major behavioral issues as he ages?

The biggest problem is violence.  His body is a weapon and he knows how to use it.  He knows how to use it on the cats, his little sister, and even his poor unsuspecting parents. It’s not so much that he’s outright hitting us — he mostly knows that’s wrong, though he’s not above it when he’s delirious with exhaustion.  Instead, he’s all about crazy, uncontrolled hyper movements that he knows are going to land on an innocent bystander.  And casually bumping his little sister out of the way when she’s already teetering on her unsteady feet.  Or hugging her and then slowly pushing her to the ground. (Rage.)  Or jumping on my knee caps when I’m sitting on the ground with my legs extended. (More rage.)  Or choking Hubby out from behind.

And then you have the epic tantrums and the never ever listening when you ask him to stop doing something destructive.  All of this without an ounce of apology or empathy behind those beautiful big blue toddler eyes.  Ugh, it’s so exhausting.  And it’s constant.  And it’s been going on since well before he turned two.  And he’s almost three now.  Relief, are you out there somewhere? Are you lost? Did you get my change of address?

So what do you do when you have an extra sociopathic toddler?  How do you discipline a two-year-old?

My knee-jerk response is to say that you don’t.  Because they’re still so dumb, you guys.  They really don’t understand anything.  I mean, I’m 32 and I still haven’t fully learned how to follow rules or do the right thing, so why should I expect my toddler to?

But deep down in my heart I know that as hard as disciplining is at this age, we have to try, right? Because if we don’t, sociopathic toddlers (normal) could turn into sociopathic adults (not normal).  Yikes.

So if your kid is about to enter this charming stage of his or her life, and you’re looking for help (because I know I still am), let me give you the low down on some of the things we’ve tried with our little butthead.  Spoiler alert: most of it doesn’t work.

  • Yelling:  Nobody likes to be yelled at, so this one should discourage your kid from doing most undesirables, right? Wrong.  Toddlers are immune to yelling.  They don’t care if you scream at them until you’re red in the face.  In fact, they enjoy watching you change colors.  There is, however, one exception.  If you’re yelling at your kid in terror out of fear for his or her life — as in, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP YOU’RE ABOUT TO RUN IN FRONT OF A MOVING VEHICLE — they listen right up.  And thank god for that.  (Hmm, maybe I need to learn how to emulate that terror in my voice even when I’m just asking K-Man to get his mother effing butt off the mother effing dining table, for the last time. Gawd!)
  • Time-in:  Time-out is getting a bit of a bad rap these days, so the new hip thing to do is sit down with your child for some “time-in” — you can discuss the transgression with your kid while also keeping them company and reinforcing how much you love them.  Aww!  For a while, time-in was our jam.  If K-Man smushed his little sister one too many times, we would buckle him in to his booster seat at the table and sit next to him to talk through it.  And once K-Man had a good idea of what time-in was, we were able to use the threat of it as a deterrent.  As in, “if you smush your sister again you’re going to have to do time-in!”  Unfortunately, in recent weeks, K-Man has learned a little self-determination, and he no longer willingly goes in to his booster seat for time-in.  And since I’m not cool with physically forcing his body in half to get him to sit down, we’ve had to retire time-in to the discipline graveyard.  Boo.
  • Bribes: K-Man loves him some choc-luht, and we’re not above luring it over his fat head to get him to do something that we need him to do.  They’re just baby teeth, right?  This tactic works well for encouraging certain immediate affirmative behaviors (e.g., “if you let me brush your teeth you can have some chocolate after”), but it is less effective for discouraging prospective actions (e.g., “if you don’t do the naughty thing that I don’t know you’re about to do, you can have some chocolate”).
  • Taking Things Away:  I can’t believe how long it took me to figure this one out.  Toys? A privilege.  TV? A privilege.  If my turd of a child is acting out, I don’t have to let him keep playing with toys or watching tv! Whaaaat? This is my current discipline of choice, because it is the most effective deterrent.  “If you don’t lay down for a diaper change, I’m going to turn Moana off!” or, “If you hit your sister with that truck again, I’m going to take it away!”  Genius! Should I write a book?
  • Telling Him He’s In Trouble:  K-Man hates being in trouble, even if it comes with no real consequence.  He just cringes at the word.  So sometimes, all I have to do is tell him that if he carries on with certain behavior, he’ll be in big trouble.  Or if he’s already done the offending act, I just let him know he’s in trouble and he immediately gets majorly uncomfortable.  “No, I not in trouble, you happy mommy.”  “No, I give you a hug and then I not in trouble.”  “No, I not in big trouble, I in small trouble!”  What a dork.

 

So there you have it, my busted up list of tips and tricks for toddler discipline.  (Side note: should they really let people be parents without first passing a course in child psychology?)

The only other piece of advice I have for those maneuvering toddler discipline — and this bit is actually genuine — is to sit down and talk through strategies with your significant other.  Make sure you have a game plan, and make sure you’re on the same page.  Ideally, you would do this before your child gets to the age where they need actual disciplining.  Because the last thing you want when you’re navigating your child’s first god awful temper tantrum is to learn that your hubby doesn’t even know what time-in is.  Yikes!

Until next time,

Vee

 

Soccer Mom In the Waiting (#NaBloPoMo Day 17)

It’s the 17th day of NaBloPoMo, yo!  Since 17 has always been my jersey number, let’s talk about Sports!  And if you missed yesterday’s gut wrenching Kardashian confession, go check it out!

Hubby and I are both former athletes.  I say former because these days we gym 1-2 times a week and rock some epic mom and dad bods.  But back in the day, I was pretty serious about soccer.  And Hubby played squash like a pro.  (If you don’t know about squash, it’s just this silly little New England sport that is the same thing as racquet ball.)

Because athletics were such an integral part of my youth, I can’t imagine my kids not sharing that same passion.  And if there’s anything I love more than my own children, it’s spectating sports, so they better be ready to put on a show!

And you know what? I don’t even care that kids suck horribly at sports for the first few years.  Trust me, I am not picky about the quality of my sport spectating.  If there’s a competition, a winner and a loser, I’m into it! And if there’s a snack bar selling nachos nearby, I’ve basically died and gone to heaven.

Since my kids are not quite at the team sports age yet, for now all I can do is watch them eagerly to try and discern where their respective talents lie.  K-Man is all about kicking the cats and body-checking his little sister, so maybe soccer is in his future?  Honestly I’d prefer he take up tennis because I really want him to turn pro and take me to Wimbledon every year, but that’s a bit of a pipe dream.  As for Ell-Bell — beautiful, 95th-percentile-in-weight Ell-Bell — she’s got sumo wrestler or shot putter written all over her.

I suppose I do need to prepare myself for the possibility that my kids won’t want to play sports.  Wow, I just broke into a cold sweat writing that.  But seriously, whatever they throw at me (figuratively speaking, in this scenario), I’ll be ok.  Right?

Until next time,

Vee