Baby/Toddler Behaviors Adults Should Try

I’m not easily fazed by disgusting things my children say or do. After being spit up, thrown up, and pooped on, I can deal with bodily fluids without blinking an eye. My face has been farted in, my shoulders have been bit, and my nose has been picked by a finger that wasn’t mine. I’ve been shown the contents of my daughter’s mouth more times than I care to count and my son prefers my clothes to a Kleenex every time he has a cold.

It’s not that adults are any less disgusting. In fact, we probably have more unpleasant ailments and conditions than we’d like to admit. The difference is we deal with them in private. Suppose, however, we acted as children do, revealing our opinion and acting on our desires for all to see and enjoy.

Here are some comical examples.

  1. Stick your finger in someone’s ear while they’re talking to you.

I get it, the human body is interesting. So many moving parts, crevices and sounds. Just like the nose, the ear has a dark entrance, full of mystery. Who wouldn’t want to explore it? Well, most, if not all, adults. So, imagine someone’s reaction if you just put a cork in their hearing device mid-conversation.

  1. Feed an acquaintance your regurgitated cracker.

I could go on and on about food-related disgustingness. The examples are endless. One common behavior, however, is my son sticking way too much in his mouth at once, spitting some out, and holding a handful of mush up to my face. Take some, he’s indicating likes it’s the most normal thing in the world.

Apparently, my expression isn’t enough to convince him I won’t be sharing his snack.

cheese feeding
Force Feeding

He’ll reach his hand closer. “No thank you,” I’ll finally say and he’ll proceed to spread the pulpy cracker all over his high chair tray.

How amusing to be out at a restaurant and sample something you don’t like. Instead of discreetly wincing and swallowing the food, spit it into your hand, and offer it to another member of your party. “You take it. I don’t like this.”

  1. Completely ignore the person asking you something.

Perhaps one of the most frustrating components of parenthood is being blatantly ignored. “Maddie, do you have your shoes on?” “Maddie, put your shoes on please.” “Time to put your shoes on, Maddie.” “Hello, daughter? Shoes. Now.” “Madison Grace Crow, this is the last time I’m going to ask you.” Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Next time your boss asks you to do something, just ignore her. Maybe she’ll finally get fed up and leave you alone. Or maybe you’ll be fired.

  1. Wear whatever you damn-well please.
clothes3
Fashionista

I love when my daughter picks out her outfit. The ensemble usually has a few extra pieces, but that’s what makes them great. She often commits fashion faux pas, like mixing patterns or wearing too many colors. But does she care? Of course not.

I wonder how much time I’ve spent staring into my closet trying to put together an outfit. If I could just grab random articles of clothing and be done with it, I’d have more time to blog.

  1. Fall asleep wherever whenever.

Every adult’s dream, right? You’re tired, take a nap. Or, flip the f out and then take a nap. That’s even better. Go out with a bang.

sleep6
Zzz

I especially love when either of my kids is clearly tired, but denies it to the bitter end when he/she slumps over and falls quite suddenly into Dreamland. Oh, the drama that precedes an overdue nap is unparalleled.

Do you even know what you would say if you could just lash out and yell nonsense before curling up and passing out? Worth investigating.

So, even if these aren’t realistic behaviors to try, it’s still kind of fun to entertain them.

Thirty-What?

This week I turn thirty-five. Depending on who you ask, being thirty-five means I’m either ancient, youngish, although firmly planted in adulthood, or I’m in the prime of my life. In all honesty, I feel like all three.

I’m exactly midway between thirty and forty, ages that mark two significantly different life stages. When I turned thirty, I was married, but social, living in a condo right outside the city, and had no clue who Sofia the First was. At forty, I’ll be in the suburbs, constantly in a state of  being almost out of ketchup, and going to bed by 9 o’clock on Sunday nights after helping my two kids with their homework.

I hate that I can discuss my life in terms of decades, but I thought it might be fun to find something interesting (and/or absurd) that happened each year I’ve taken the trip around the sun. Let’s go.

birthday_170531

I hope there was something interesting in there for everyone. May each year be an exciting adventure.

Links to various articles:

1990

1997

2000

2010

2013

2016

Mommy Milestone

I wasn’t going to write a Mother’s Day blog post, but I’m reaching a mommy milestone this weekend too coincidental to ignore. This weekend comprised some of the final days of nursing my son. And since our family is complete, my last few days of nursing ever.

It marks the end of me physically providing for my offspring, at least in the most literal sense. No more pregnancies. No more breastfeeding.

To say this is an emotional time is an understatement, but motherhood is an emotional experience. Often milestones go unnoticed, because we’ve already moved on to the new, ever-changing demands of our children. It’s only in hindsight we reflect and realize how sad or grateful (or both) we are that a stage has passed. Even seemingly happy milestones are tough because they’re shrouded in finality.

It’s fantastic that my daughter can pee in a toilet, dress herself, and explain what she wants to eat, but this also means she no longer has a baby’s bum, will let me pick out her outfit, or eat whatever I put in front of her.

Milestones are the emotional catch-22’s of parenting. And there are so many of them. This just happens to be a big one (for me, anyway) and the last time I’ll reach it. Nursing, on occasion, has been demanding, tiring, constant, and inconvenient, but also a blessing and a privilege.

My son hasn’t been an infant for a while now, but nursing him before bed was one way to hold on to his baby-ness, a period of his life that is quickly slipping through my fingers. In fact, this morning, on Mother’s Day, he learned to say the word “no.” I forget what question was asked of him, but instead of rapidly shaking his head – his norm – he most definitely, decisively, and simply told me no.

mommy aidan crop
My baby.

The rest of the day was filled with “no.” No, he did not want help going down the stairs. No, the hood of his raincoat was to remain down. No, he could pick out which bike he wanted by himself.

He’s learning to communicate more effectively, which will come in handy in so many situations, but part of me wants him to do the head-shaking thing forever. Just like part of me will miss being there for him in one of the most motherly ways possible.

Am I thankful to have successfully breastfed two healthy babies? Of course.

Do I look forward to keeping a bra on for an entire day? Absolutely.

Will my son and I find new ways to bond? Yes.

Did I cry when he fell asleep in my arms tonight? No comment.

So much goes into being a mother, not the least of which is juggling a little sad in with all the happy. I have many years to go before my children are totally independent (if that’s really a thing), but I’ll remember this Mother’s Day as being sort of bittersweet.

Tomorrow I’ll move on and allow myself to be absorbed by whatever my children require of me. I may even start the task of teaching my son another very important word. “Yes.”

 

Read This, Your Belly Will Thank You

Of all the tales/lies/arguments/threats parents tell their children to get them to do something, very few seem to work. Some go right over their heads or, worse yet, backfire. Take for example, the battle of getting a toddler out the door in a timely manner.

After threatening to leave without him if he doesn’t put his shoes on this instant, the kid could simply state, “Okay, see you later.” And of course, as much as you want to, you can’t leave a toddler unattended for too long before he does some irreversible damage. If it hasn’t happened yet, it will.

Rarely does your point get across, or your goal met. More often, the intended purpose of the tale/lie/argument/threat is misunderstood. If you sense a story coming, you’re right.

In an attempt to get our daughter to eat healthy, Husband and I have taken to describing what her stomach is saying when she eats certain foods. If a piece of broccoli happens to make it into her mouth and down her throat, Husband and I will rejoice and make a comment such as, “Do you know what your stomach is saying right now?” (Daughter shakes head.) “It’s saying, ‘Oh, thank you! This is going to let you run fast and ride your bike!’

Daughter looks at us wide-eyed, not sure how to respond.

We keep going, because, hey, what do we have to lose? Let’s drive the point home.

“Your belly is so excited to share this food with the rest of your body. You should take another bite and make your tummy happy.”

We’ve done this on a number of occasions. Every time she eats a protein that isn’t a card deck-sized piece of cheese, we explain to her that her tummy is appreciative. Ecstatic even.

Three tiny bites of a hamburger in conjunction with sixteen French fries: “Your belly is saying ‘Mmm, thank you for this burger!’”

TM6
Husband and Daughter filling their tummies.

One lame slice of turkey hidden in the middle of a grilled cheese: “Yay!’ says your tummy. It’s going to use that to make your muscles stronger.”

This seemed to work (kind of) until we rewarded her one day with dessert and she said, “My belly thanks me for this cookie.”

Turns out Daughter’s stomach doesn’t discriminate food groups. We’ve kept up the charade, though. Somewhere along the line, Husband’s stomach and my stomach started relaying messages, too.

“I just ate these Brussel sprouts and my belly is excited!”

Yes, these words actually left my mouth in a serious manner. Yes, I was sober.

Anyway, this method started to break down when Daughter’s stomach started telling her non-food-related information. After going on an excursion with my father-in-law, he asks why Daughter mentioned her belly didn’t want her to ride her bike anymore.

Sometimes her belly doesn’t want her to go to school, or it lets her know she can play outside a little longer even though it’s getting dark. And wouldn’t you know, Daughter’s belly doesn’t think she needs to take a bath. Ever.

This isn’t our first parenting failure and it won’t be our last. And until Daughter tells me her stomach wants her to rob a bank, I’m not going to dwell on it. Instead, I’m going to crack a beer. My belly will thank me.

The Tall Order of Breakfast

Here’s how it goes. The instructions from my four-year-old on how to prepare her breakfast.

Mommy: Do you want cereal, oatmeal, or an English muffin?

Daughter: English muffin.

Sounds simple enough. But no, no it’s not. Daughter tells me she wants it in threes. Threes?

Mommy: What? Like, cut into threes?

Daughter: Yes, and I want cream and peanut butter.

Cream. That’s short for cream cheese. Somehow in her crazy realm of developing language, the name was shortened. It’s the opposite of our Saturday ritual: pancake waffles. They’re really just waffles. Why the word pancake was added, I’m not sure.

Mommy: Okay, so half peanut butter, half cream, and cut into threes.

Daughter nods. I pull out the toaster and insert the muffin. I use the bagel setting, because I’m fancy like that. The bread just toasts better. Try it at home. You’ll see.

Daughter: Mommy. I said I wanted an English muffin.

Forgive me for not having the intuition to sense you wanted this particular breakfast on this particular day so I could rush downstairs first thing this morning to start preparing it. I would have set my alarm three minutes before the time I thought you’d get up, even though you wake up anytime between 6 and 7 am each day. My bad.

Mommy: Did you hear the toaster pop?

*Pop*

Mommy: There it is!

Daughter: In a star. Peanut butter, cream, peanut butter, cream.

This is my fault. Once, after I cut her muffin into fours like a reasonable person, I positioned the sections on her plate so that the unoccupied middle of the plate looked like a star. It was kind of pretty, actually.

Now I have to do this. Every. Single. Time.

Mommy: Okay. Half peanut butter, half cream, cut into threes and in a star. Got it.

My masterpiece is finished and placed in front of my daughter on the table. Thankfully, she eats it and she eats it in silence.

Now it’s time to make everyone’s lunches.

breakfast
Boom. Queen of Breakfast.

Wild

In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day tomorrow, I thought I’d revisit the time I went to Ireland. Like 80% of my international travel, I went to Ireland while studying abroad in London. I remember the trip clearly, because I was moved to tears, which hasn’t happened anywhere else I’ve been.

Allow me to elaborate.

Who: Me, two of my three roommates, and a bus full of tourists

What: A “Wild Wicklow” bus tour

Where: County Wicklow, Ireland

When: Valentine’s Day weekend, 2003

Why: Erin go Bragh

My roommates and I were only in Dublin for the weekend, so a condensed, somewhat far-reaching sightseeing tour was a must. Like many college students, we arrived at our hostel unprepared. For example, we were unaware of the BYOT (bring your own towel) policy and ended up using clothes to dry ourselves after we showered.

Anyway, we found a flyer/pamphlet in the hostel lobby (outfitted as most hostels are with these sorts of things) for a Wild Wicklow tour. It looked promising, so we showed up the next morning good to go.

Mind you, it was mid-February and probably 1⁰C. Overcast. Kind of damp, and just overall dreary. The tour took us through the center of Dublin, by the James Joyce Tower, and to Avoca Handweavers where we bought some authentic soda bread. Then off to the Sally Gap (aka the location of Braveheart) to marvel at all the lakes and mountains.

We ate lunch at a traditional Irish pub where I was impelled to order tea (even though I rarely drank it at the time) before stopping at Glendalough. Glendalough is a 6th Century monastery, which means it’s a super peaceful place, not to mention utterly beautiful. It was still freezing though, and very cloudy, so it was hard not to keep eyeing the warm bus while checking out the scenery.

After climbing back into the bus, the tour led us through the countryside. Our guide, a dead ringer for Jack Nicholson, finally stopped talking and put on Enya. This is when the caffeine from my afternoon beverage hit me. I may not have blinked for thirty minutes as I sat staring out the windows at sheep and hills and flowers.

To add to the splendor, the sun peaked through the clouds for the first time that day. Not booming, glaring sunshine, but bright rays of sun, casting shadows and creating depth everywhere it touched. I could almost feel the warmth through the glass.

I darted my eyes around the bus. Heads were slumped, including those of my friends. Everyone else was missing this incredible affair. I looked back outside. Enya and I had a moment since there was no one else to share it with.

I began to cry.

The world was too beautiful not to. At the risk of sounding totally cheesy, it felt like my soul was being hugged. Isn’t that a nice image? I was alive, my heart was racing (from caffeine, yes, but still), and I was in love. In love with everything. Life wasn’t just happening in front of me; I was involved and connected in a way I never allowed myself to be before.

The fact I was the only one awake witnessing this (minus the driver, obvi), made it singular. I was experiencing something unprecedented and remarkable, but transient.

By the time we arrived at our next destination, the clouds had taken over, turning everything flat again. The landscape was still breathtaking, but gone were the aspects of magic and transcendence. People shifted in their seats as the bus stopped, everyone but me none the wiser.

Here, we were all given a complimentary shot of Jameson before heading back to Dublin. The whiskey counteracted my tea and I shared in the wooziness for the last stretch of the trip. Needless to say though, I will never forget those wonderful moments, or that very sincere yet undefinable feeling of awe.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, Everybody! I will leave you with some words from Enya.

Who can say when the roads meet

That love might be in your heart?

-Enya, Only Time

Have You Taken These Parenting Shortcuts?

Time is limited. Sanity, even more so. That’s why I don’t feel guilty having taken these (hopefully common) parenting shortcuts.

  1. Skipped the shower.

    I love a good shower as much as the next guy…once I’m in the shower. I could stand under a hot stream of water for tens of minutes before beginning an actual cleansing routine. Sometimes I just don’t make it into the shower.

    There are nights when bathing isn’t even on my radar. To be fair, I have an office job and average about 2,000 steps on the days I work. There’s also the season to take into consideration. On a winter night when I haven’t moved all day, I’ll gladly forego a shower in favor of some other form of “me” time.

  2. Not changed a diaper.

    diaper
    source: http://www.whattoexpect.com

    Here’s the scenario: I’ve finally gotten both kids ready for preschool/daycare. We’re heading for the door. This is the time my son decides to take a dump. I can smell it. When I do a quick check though, it’s a tiny little thing, a poop nugget, if you will. Instead of removing shoes, pants, and diaper, I pick up the poop with my fingers and walk it to the toilet.

    In the back of my mind, this is okay, because even if the diaper is a little soiled, daycare changes diapers at regular intervals (barring any noticeable BMs). By 9:00 my baby’s bum will be outfitted in a clean, new nappy. Hey, it’s built into the tuition.

  3. Re-gifted a present.

    I do feel slightly guilty about this one. Usually, I become a bit giddy when I find a really good gift for someone. There’s a creativity component to gift-giving that brings me joy. Re-gifting is just too good an opportunity sometimes.

    When my son was born, my daughter received just as many gifts as he, if not more. I appreciated the sentiment, and these gifts made my daughter happy during a time of uncertainty for her. But we only need so many puzzles and activity books. We even have a few duplicate toys.

    Shelf space is limited. My capacity to pick up sh*t all the time is decreasing. Occasionally, I’ll leave a gift in its packaging and bring it to the random-kid-from-preschool’s birthday party my daughter has been invited to. Why not make someone else happy and me less stressed about having so much stuff around?

  4. Employed child labor.

    ma-cleanlabor
    Ah, the real reason we procreate. Just kidding. It is amazing, however, when you can get your little one(s) to do something for you when you, yourself, just don’t feel up to it.

    I was pleasantly surprised to find out both my children like to clean. More so my daughter, but my son has a ball moving a Swiffer back and forth over the same square foot bit of floor. Don’t worry, he’ll get there. Or else (just kidding again).

    So, when I skeptically ask, “Do you feel like cleaning the coffee table?” and my daughter enthusiastically responds, “Yes!” I seize the opportunity. Husband and I also have no problem having our daughter grab us cans from the beer fridge. It was a proud moment for Husband when he requested a Heady Topper and she brought one right to him. #parentinggoals

  5. Cut short/improvised/or otherwise botched story time.

    peter-rabbit-2
    Some stories just suck. They suck even more when it’s the eighth night in a row you’re reading them. It used to be easier to skip pages or even lines, but now my daughter picks up on even the slightest variation to the story.

    “No, all it needed was SOME frosting,” she’ll point out when Husband or I have left out a word. Tough crowd.

    Other stories are odd, or too long. I make variations, or leave out entire sections. I try to still make sense, but depending on my daughter’s level of wakefulness, sometimes I don’t need to.

Parenting is a tough and often thankless job. The road to developing happy, well-adjusted children is a long one. Sometimes a little shortcut can go a long way.