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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm totally copyrighting my son's first song

Over the past weekend, we headed north, off into the woods, to do a little hiking, a wee bit of fishing (and by wee bit I mean Gavin mostly got his lure caught in the weeds before it even touched water), some hot dog and marshmallow roasting, and a smidgen of sleeping in a tent that leaked, but just a little.  Even with the few periods of rain, it was a beautiful weekend, we stayed relatively dry (most of the wetness came from a spilled beverage . . . what kind of irresponsible person spills a beverage in a tent?  Oh . . . yeah, that was me.) and everyone had a great time, including Charlie, who developed a taste for charred firewood (he also developed a taste for glasses - the kind you wear on your face to see out of your eyes - but that's a story for another time).

Right before the masterpiece was created.
On one of our hikes down to the river and back, Gavin started singing his ABC's.  It's something he's been working on (and will continue to work on since preschool is putting the pressure on us).   So, as we're casually walking along the trail (and by casually I mean Charlie is pulling so hard on the leash that I'm pretty sure he's going to choke himself to the point of unconsciousness), Gavin begins modifying the lyrics.





His first version was:  A, B, C, D, E, F, Gavin.

This is cute because Gavin starts with "G."  (I realize I just made you feel like a moron by pointing that out.  Sorry.)  Smiles and chuckles all around, which encourage him to make keep modifying.

His second version:  A, B, C, D, E, F, Danion.

Okay, Danion doesn't start with G, but Danion (the dog) was there, and Gavin loves that freaking dog.  More smiles, more chuckles, onto a new version.

His third versionA, B, C, D, E, F, Charlie.

Again, cute.  What a funny kid, and he sure does like his dogs.  Ha ha!

His fourth (and soon-to-be-copyrighted-version)A, B, C, D, E, F, you.

Now, if you're sitting there puzzled, think about it (and I'm not mentioning any names of specific family members that are close to my age but just a little younger and live on the west coast and own a dog named Riley).

A, B, C, D, E, F you.

Of course, Gavin had no idea what a  hilarious masterpiece of lyrical brilliance he had just created, but it was hard not to laugh.  And by laugh I mean to the point of tears and peeing my pants.  Because there's no way I didn't laugh at that.

So, I'm going to get a copyright for that song.  It's going to revolutionize preschools across the country.  Every parent will be singing that song with their toddlers.  Never mind the fact that they won't actually be learning the alphabet - in alphabetical order.  It's not that important anyway.  I mean, who needs to know the alphabet these days?  You're welcome.

P.S.  Gavin's other recent masterpiece:

Take that academically rigorous preschool!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Preschool is stressing me out and not because the curriculum is hard

Preschool is stressful.  I'm not kidding.  I'm about to have a nervous breakdown over this.  (Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little but not a lot.)  Let me explain.

Last week, I got a form from Gavin's preschool telling me what they were working on that week in class.  (He goes to preschool in the mornings and daycare in the afternoon - even though it's all the same place.)  From said form, I learned that last week's theme was nature, that they talked about the letter "C", that Gavin spent most of his time playing with Carson in the block area and housekeeping area (did I mention he loves to help me clean?  I am such a lucky lady.), and that they were practicing the letter "C" in their Zoo-phonics program. 

Then, I got to the "Child's Notes" part.  It started off well - letting me know that Gavin was doing well during group activities.  After that, it gave some suggestions as to how we can help extend his learning at home. It said, "Gavin needs to work on recognizing letters of the alphabet and writing his name."  Okay, I can handle that.  We've been working on his letters all summer, so we'll keep on working at them, and we'll throw in some writing practice.  Not a big deal, right?

Well, today, not even one week later, I get another form.  It tells me that this week's theme is fall, they're going to discuss what leaves are made of, and they're going to be practicing letters and numbers.  Super!  But then I got to the "Child's Notes" part . . .


Gavin does well with one-on-one activities but struggles in a group setting when learning new things.

Wait a second.  Did you just tell me that last week he did well with group activities?  And now you're telling me he doesn't?  Which one is it?!?!

Then . . .


It would be beneficial for you to work with Gavin at home by helping him recognize letters of the alphabet and practicing his name.  He also needs help holding a pencil/writing utensil.

But I have been!  You just told me this last week!  And since last week, I've been working with him.  We read books, we look at letter flashcards, we sing the alphabet song, we talk about the different letters in the words on the pages of a book . . . I'm working with him!  Is he supposed to learn this all in a week?  Do you want me to wake him up six times during the middle of the night, shove a flashcard in his face, and scream, "What letter is this!?!  Tell me now!!"  And, if he gets it wrong, I'll throw cold water in his face?

As a teacher, I know how important it is to work at home with your children - to read to them, teach them basic math and letter sounds - so, I appreciate the friendly-reminders, but you're stressing me out people.

Then, I started worrying. . . Is he behind?  Can all the other 3-year-olds recognize all the letters of the alphabet, hold a pencil correctly, and write their name?  Am I not doing enough at home?  Should we be spending more time learning and less time playing?

So, tonight, after being gone from the house for 12 hours, teaching classes, commuting two hours round-trip, making dinner, and doing a load of laundry, we spent time working on this:

Look at those beautiful g's!


And, you know what?  I'm not going to stress about it.  We'll keep working slowly, and he'll get it all eventually.  And I'm just gonna ignore those friendly reminders from preschool for awhile . . .

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Brief Lesson in Naughtiness

There is usually a lot of naughtiness that takes place in my house.  I mean, with a toddler and a puppy, what do you really expect (besides utter and complete chaos)?  The amount of naughtiness fluctuates daily.  Some days, it's completely manageable, and laughable, and other days, it feels like every time I turn around I'm saying, "What the &$#@ are you doing?  Why would you do that?!?!"  Those are the days I feel like pulling my hair out (or locking myself in my bedroom).  Here is just a glimpse of some of the naughtiness that took place one day:

Naughty:

What?  Why can't I sit on the table?


Naughtier:
Oh this?  I colored it.  Do you like it?

Naughtiest:
Look!  I colored my belly, too!

So, not too naughty, right?  Wait.  It gets better!

Naughty:

Don't mind me.  I'm not doing anything.


Naughtier:
I'm just taking inventory.  Don't worry.

Naughtiest:
Fruit snacks?  What fruit snacks?  I have no idea what you're talking about.

Coloring household items and body parts?  No big deal.  Sneaking food right before dinner?  Amateur.  But, he's not done.

Naughty:
We're just hanging out.  Nothing going on here.

Naughtier:
Just cleaning up any leftover crumbs.  You're welcome.


Naughtiest:
Why are you looking at us like that?

A few moments later . . . 


Oh, you wanted this roll of toilet paper?  Sorry.


Thirty minutes later . . . all that naughtiness must have worn them out . . . 

Never mind that the dog isn't supposed to be on the couch.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yes, I Really Do That

The other day, at the end of one of my classes, I ended up in a conversation with some of my students about our naughty children.  One woman was complaining that it was only the second week of school and her middle-schooler had already been suspended.  Another woman was explaining how she was having a multitude of problems with her two-year-old.  We discussed things that had been tried, and of course, miserably failed.  Sometimes, it seems like nothing you do works.  Time-outs?  Sometimes successful.  Spankings?  Interested in a visit from CPS?  Taking items/toys away?  About a 30% success rate.  Grounding?  Yeah, my parents tried that one, too . . .worked well, huh?

Often, you get to the point where you feel like you've tried everything, and none of it has the effect you'd like - putting an end to bad behavior.  So, you read parenting books and magazine articles, you try what they're selling you, and surprise, it doesn't work.  You either have two choices: give up or try something out-of-the-box - something radical.

A while back, Gavin developed a serious hitting problem.  Mostly, he hit me, but sometimes he hit other children or the dogs.  (Okay, often he hit the dogs).  It was a problem when he hit me, but hitting kids at daycare was no joke.  No way was I going to tolerate that (not that I was tolerating he's new found love of hitting me - it all kind of came to a head at the same time).  He wasn't hitting because he's mean, or because he enjoys hitting others, he was hitting out of frustration and anger (not justified, but it's important to understand the cause).  It would go something like this:

Scene: Leaving the movie theater after a movie:

Me:  Gavin, you need to hold my hand.

Gavin:  I don't want to.

Me:  You can either hold my hand and walk like a big boy or I will carry you like a baby.

Gavin:  No!  (starts running out into the parking lot)

I race after him, grab him, and pick him up - carrying him to the car.

Gavin:  No, Momma!  No!  I don't want to be a baby!  I want to walk like a big boy!  No!

Me:  I told you that you could either hold my hand or be carried.  You didn't listen, and you didn't hold my hand, so now I'm going to carry you.

Gavin:  No!  Put me down!  Stop!  I don't want to be carried.

Me:  Too bad.

SMACK

Me:  (after the shock wears off) You do not hit.

Gavin:  Put me down!  I want to walk!  Stop, you're hurting me! (you know, because being carried is so painful).

Me:  When we get home, you are going in time-out.  (I start buckling him in his carseat).

Gavin:  No!  I don't want to go in time-out!  SMACK

Now, at this point, I'm so mad that I'm either going to laugh or strangle him.  I choose to finish strapping him in his seat and ignore his screaming (and eventual apology) the rest of the way home.

After this had happened a few times, I decided I had to take serious action.  My most recent form of punishment at that time was taking toys away and putting them on top the fridge.  Of course, it only took him two days to realize that it's not really a consequence because he eventually gets the toys back.  No real loss.  The hitting thing - it was totally unacceptable and a behavior I needed to curb right away.  Like right that second.  And, I knew I needed to do something drastic to rid him of his hitting problem - and by drastic I mean "drastic yet legal with minimal psychological damage."

So, a few days later, the conversation went like this:

Gavin hits the dog.

Me:  Gavin, go in time-out.  You do not hit the dog.

Gavin:  I don't want to go in time out.

Me:  Too bad. You hit the dog, so you go in time out.

Gavin:  No!

Me:  You can either walk to time out or I can carry you.

Gavin:  But I don't want to go to time out.

Me:  Go.  Now.

Punch in the leg.

Me:  Gavin, you do not hit.  If you hit me or the dogs again, I'm going to throw one of your toys away.

Gavin: No, Momma! 

Punch in the leg.

Me: (Completely silent, I walk over to one of his toy bins, reach in, find a toy, walk over the the trash can, and let the toy plummet to the bottom).  If you hit, I will throw away your toys.

Gavin: (after five minutes of screaming and flailing on the ground).  I want my car!  Don't throw my toys away!

Me:  You hit me, so I threw a toy away.

Gavin:  No!  I don't like that!  (kicks me in the shin)

Me:  (I repeat previous dramatic performance of locating a toy and throwing it away).  If you hit or kick people, I'm going to throw your toys away.

Gavin:  (resumes tantrum)

I pick him up, carry him to his bedroom, sit him on his bed, and shut the door.  Screaming and crying fill the house.  I ignore it.

A few minutes later, I take him out of time out. 

Gavin:  Can I have my toys out of the garbage?

Me:  No.  They're gone.  If you hit and kick, your toys are going in the trash.

Gavin:  But, Momma, I want them.

Me:  I'm sorry.  Maybe next time you won't hit and kick, and then I won't have to throw your toys away.

Image c/o tradekey.com


Now, at the point, you're probably thinking: "Oh, so you get the toys out later and give them back?"  No.  I don't.  I throw them away.  And now, you're thinking I'm nuts.  Yes, that's been proven, but I don't think I'm crazy for throwing away the toys. You see, I tried the confiscating-toys-for-awhile-and-then-giving-them-back thing, and it clearly didn't work.  So, this is my solution: throw that shit away!

The common response I hear is, "But you spent your money on that toy, and you're just going to throw it away?"  Yep.  But, don't get me wrong, I'm strategic about it.  I go for the broken toys, the toys with missing parts, the McDonald's Happy Meal toys, or the really annoying toys that I keep forgetting to throw away while he's sleeping.  He has yet to figure out that some toys hold more value than others.  Right now, any toy in the garbage is a serious consequence.  And you know what, after I discarded about six toys, the hitting problem magically went away, and I had a serious threat that I could use in public (which is where he always displays his worst behavior).

Plus, throwing away a toy that costs $8.99 is a lot cheaper than securing a lawyer when he gets kicked out of school for punching a classmate in the face five years down the road.  Just saying.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Things I Never Want to Forget

Lately, for reasons I cannot pinpoint, earlier memories from my son's life have come flooding back to me.  Not the big, important occasions (that have certainly been documented with photo upon photo).  Not those.  The little memories.  Reminders of weird habits, funny moments, silly rituals, hilarious statements.  And, I think to myself, these are the things I want to always remember.

Lately, Gavin has been wanting me to sing him a song as I'm tucking him into bed.  So, I sing him the song I sang to him all the time when I was pregnant.  The first time I laid down next to him, in his twin bed with his squirmy self, I was reminded how I used to do this same thing just a year or so ago.  I remembered the night he first started learning the words to the song.  I was lying next to him, on my side, and he was staring up at the ceiling.  As I sang, I heard his little baby voice trying to sing along with me.  Except, he had the words all wrong.  It was so adorable, and so funny, that I started laughing.  Then, he started laughing.  It took us over 10 minutes to finish the song because we were both laughing so hard.  Every time I started singing again, he would start, and we would both start laughing.  I don't want to forget that moment.

The same night, after I finished singing the song, I laid there next to him for a few minutes.  For some reason, it reminded me of the nights he would wake one, two, three, maybe even four times in the middle of the night, and I would lay in his bed with him until he fell back asleep - all in an effort to keep him from constantly coming into my bed in the night.  A little part of me missed laying there with him, listening to his breathing change, holding him close, smelling his baby shampoo.  It made me want to sleep there all night, just once, before he's too big or doesn't want me laying down next to him anymore.

Today, he sang the entire alphabet song.  Without my help.  And, he got all the letters right.  I stopped for a moment because I realized he's never done that before.  We've worked and worked on the alphabet song, and now, he can do it on his own.  It brought a huge smile to my face, and it brought a little sadness at the same time.  Just another realization of how quickly time passes.

Every night that I tuck him in, I tell him, "Good night.  Sleep tight.  Don't let the bed bugs bite.  And if they do, you hit them with a shoe."  Recently, he got to pick out a new pair of slippers that he insists on wearing to bed so, we've had to change the saying to, "And if they do, you hit them with a slipper."  Now, every time I kiss him goodbye, he tells me to sleep tight and not to let the bed bugs bite - even when I'm dropping him off at daycare at 7:00 in the morning.  The other day, I picked him up from daycare during his nap time.  He opened his eyes, sat up, looked me square in the face, and said, "I slept tight so the bed bugs didn't bite me."  My heart melted a little.

These things - these moments that haven't been document by photos, these small instances that seem so ordinary and typical - they are the things I hope I never forget.  And, maybe that's why I stay up until well after midnight writing these things down sometimes.  I know I'm creating a lasting treasure of my son's childhood.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mirror, Mirror

If you didn't already know, I also write posts for TheModeLife.  It's a great site featuring amazing contributors from all over.

If you have time, check on my latest post Mirror, Mirror!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

You Want Me to Do What?

Before having children, everyone should have a dog.  I might even go so far as to say everyone should own a puppy, or at least a young dog.  Dogs are fabulous training for parenthood.  Why?  You get to practice crucial skills like: cleaning up poop, extracting objects from someone's mouth before they choke on it, getting by on a few hours of sleep (because puppies can't hold it all night), learning to keep the toilet paper (and any other paper product, really) out of reach, and so on. 

Pre-Gavin, I learned a lot of lessons from my two dogs, Arnie and Danion.  One lesson is so important, I'm going to share it with you.  But I warn you, it's a little bit gross.  Okay, it's about 6.5 on the grossness scale.  So, be prepared.  Also be prepared to learn an awesome tip that will possibly save you hundreds of dollars on vet bills (and, I'm not going to lie, it could be a pretty fun joke to play on someone.  Just throwing that out there).

One hot August day, after returning home from an eight-hour bore-me-out-of-my-mind training, I noticed something was amiss in the house.  Well, actually, Danion alerted me that something was amiss.  You see, when he does something wrong, whether you notice it right away or not, he acts guilty.  He walks around with his head lowered, gazing at you with sad little puppy eyes that seem to say, "I'm so sorry."  Except he's not.  He just knows he's going to get in trouble.

On this day, Danion was giving me "the look," but I had my mind on other things.  In the morning, we were leaving for a trip to the Smoky Mountains, so I had a lot of packing and organizing to do.  On top of that, I had just found out I was pregnant.  I was nervous, excited, and dreading packing because I always take enough outfits to last me sixteen days more than I need.  After I aimlessly threw outfits I would never wear into the suitcase, I began to pack up our "snacks" for the trip.  We were driving, and planned to do a good deal of hiking, so we had purchased an assortment of snacks - animal crackers, NutriGrain bars, mini-candy bars, granola bars, and individual packages of cookies.

What I really should have said is that I attempted to pack up our snacks. . . because they were gone.  Almost all of them.  But, most importantly, the 45 individual chocolate candy bars.  Now, I didn't notice they were gone because I found wrappers everywhere.  Oh no.  I just found the empty bag.  No candies.  No wrappers.  Nothing.  Danion's guilty look suddenly made sense to me.  Those bastards got into our snacks and ate them all.  And the wrappers.

Now, this presented me with two problems:  1.  I now had no snacks for the trip.  2.  My dogs just consumed a hell of a lot of chocolate, and a fair amount of plastic wrappers.  Shit.

In my mind, I imagined doggy death by chocolate overdose, so I quickly phoned the vet.  I explained my situation to the receptionist, thinking they would want me to bring the dogs to the vet, and she said she'd talk to the vet and call me back.  A few minutes later, she called, and gave me some instructions.

"Okay, so what the vet wants you to do is to induce vomiting in the dogs."

Excuse me.  What?  You want me to do what?

"Yes, you have to make them throw up everything they ate."

Uh huh.  I see.  That sounds great.  Awesome.  So, what am I supposed to do, stick my finger down their throats?

She told me that I had to give each dog some hydrogen peroxide.  When ingested, the hydrogen peroxide would "foam up" in their stomachs and make them throw up.  Super!  Based on their weights, I had to give Arnie 1 oz of hydrogen peroxide and Danion needed two ounces.

"Make sure you watch them vomit and count all the candy bars to make sure they all came up."

At this point, I want to punch you, lady.  I have to watch them throw up and then rifle through their puke to count the candy bars?  Is this the part where you say, "Just kidding?"  Ugh.

I hung up the phone, located the hydrogen peroxide (no idea why we even had any), and took a deep breath.  I have no choice but to do this.  I stood there for a moment plotting how I was going to get the hydrogen peroxide in their mouths.  And, how much is 1 oz?  I had no idea.  I didn't know how to covert an ounce to teaspoons or tablespoons, and I really didn't have anything that measured out one ounce of something . . . except . . .yep, you guessed it . . . a shot glass.

In the cupboard, I located a shot glass, grabbed the dogs and the hydrogen peroxide, and headed into the backyard.  Thirsty, puppy?  Here, have a shot!  It didn't go quite that easy.  I had to hold each dog, pry their mouths open, and pour the "shot" down their throats.  Believe, they were not fans.  I'm pretty sure Arnie started plotting my death right then, and Danion just looked so sad.  (He's good at looking guilty and also at making you feel guilty.)

It took about five minutes, and then the heaving started.  Shortly after the heaving came the puking.  Every time Danion puked, he looked at me as if to say, "What did I do to deserve this?"  Well, you ate a whole bunch of candy bars and didn't even bother to take the wrappers off.  That's what you did.  So, dripping in sweat, feeling a little ill, I dutifully followed the dogs around, examining their puke (from afar) and making sure all candy bars were accounted for.  The whole process took about 30 minutes, but I survived.  The worst part?  Poor Arnie only threw up one lonely candy bar.  Danion?  44.

So, now you know how to induce vomiting in dogs.  You're welcome.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Potty Training: It Ain't for the Weak

The other day, I overheard a conversation between two mothers.  They were having an in-depth chat about potty training - sharing tips and comparing horror stories.  Their conversation unleashed a flood of memories in my brain about potty training - the good, the bad, and the super-duper ugly.  You see, they're distant memories because Gavin has been completely potty-trained for more than a year.  And, it's a good thing.  If I were still potty training that child, I'd hurl myself off a cliff.  Seriously.

During our potty-training days, I came to the conclusion that you have to be emotionally prepared to potty train your child.  It is a hard fought battle.  I'm not kidding.  That shit will break you down and make you want your own momma.  It ain't for the weak.  Let me explain.

Image c/o www.treehugger.com
We started potty training Gavin a few months before his second birthday.  He was interested and curious, and he actually asked to try to pee in the toilet (and he actually did).  So, we figured he was ready.  We bought a potty, some pull-ups, some underwear, and we were on our way.  Things went relatively smooth in the early potty training days.  It was new; it was novel.  We bribed, we rewarded, we applauded, and it was mostly working.  And, I've never been so excited about shit and piss in my life.  Oh, I clapped, I cheered, I jumped up and down, I willingly came to check out his "big" poop in the toilet and exclaimed how awesome it was, I texted pictures to relatives of the treasures in the potty chair, and I also paused to think, "What the hell has happened to my life."

But, it wasn't always easy, nor were we always celebrating.  After a few months, Gavin started putting up a fight about going potty when he woke up in the morning.  He was tired, and he'd rather just piss himself.  In order to get him to actually go sit on the potty, we had to increase the bribes.  (I also maintain that it is impossible to potty train a child without using some sort of bribe.  I don't care what the parenting experts say.  Candy trumps everything.)  So, instead of one M & M after going potty, he could have THREE.  And, after a few rough mornings, we got past that hurdle and resumed our daily peeing in the potty chair routine.  (On a side note, if I had to do it again, I'd forgo the potty chair.  They're just gross.  Pee gets where it's not supposed to, kids can pick up the "bowls," and no matter what you do, they always smell like three-week-old pee.  I'm gagging just thinking about it.)

I would say that, within a few months we really had the peeing thing down.  Now, pooping?  That was a whole different ballgame.  For some reason, Gavin was terrified of pooping on the potty.  I mean, in-tears-screaming-and-crying terrified.  I have no idea why; he just was.  I begged.  I pleaded.  I bribed.  Hell, I even cried.  I remember once, sitting on the bathroom floor, holding him as he sat on the toilet, begging him to just wait five seconds and try to poop.  He had an utter meltdown, and I started crying while visualizing all the ways in which this traumatic toilet experience would haunt him for the rest of his life.  But it didn't.  I know that for sure

His fear of pooping on the toilet also made him get the longest time-out in the history of time-outs.  You see, after a few months, I pretty much abandoned pull-ups and went with underwear.  Why?  Because pull-ups are glorified diapers.  There's no consequence to peeing or pooping in your pull-up because they absorb just as well as diapers.  I don't buy the "feel-wet" thing.  It didn't bother Gavin at all.  Now, when he peed or pooped in his underwear?  That was an issue.   But, pooping in his underwear didn't help him overcome his fear of going on the toilet.  He figured out a way around that.

What he would do is wear his "underwear shorts," a.k.a boxer shorts.  That way, when he pooped, the poo would just plummet to the floor.  I found poop on my floor often.  It was like having a puppy.  If I made him wear regular underwear, he would still poop in them, because it wasn't as bad as sitting on the toilet.  It even got to the point where he would hide or go outside so I didn't know he was pooping and try to make him sit on the potty.  Sneaky bugger.

Well, I caught on to his game, but not soon enough.  One day, he was outside on the deck playing, and I was inside cleaning.  The next thing I know, he comes in and says, "Momma, I pooped."  Annoyed, I looked at him.  I had just asked him to try not ten minutes ago.  "Where did you poop?"  I asked him.  "Outside."  What do you mean, outside?  Well, let me tell you.  He went outside, emptied all the toys and chair cushions out of the deck box, and took a shit in the deck box.  I could feel my blood boiling.  Not only did he refuse to go in the potty AGAIN, but now I have to clean shit out of the deck box.  Holy hell.  So, I put him in a really, really, really long time-out.  At least two hours.  It took me that long to calm down.  And clean out the deck box.

This looks like a great place to drop a load.
Now, you're probably wondering how we finally overcame the fear of pooping on the toilet.  Well, as I said earlier, BRIBES.  And, believe me when I say we took bribes to a whole new level.  I increased the candy.  No good.  I offered to let him pick out a toy from the toy store.  No dice.  So, what did we promise him that FINALLY got him to start giving pooing on the potty a try?  This:

Gavin's reward for pooping on the potty.

And believe me when I say that not having to change another diaper or carry a diaper bag everywhere I go is WELL worth the cost.  More than worth it. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Save the Drama for Your Momma

Toddlers like love to whine.  It has to be the most popular toddler pastime ever.  Some days, I swear that my son looks at me and a switch somewhere is his rapidly-growing brain flips on and the whining just starts flowing out like water after a dam breaks.  It's almost as if he's saved up all of his whining all day long, every last little bit of it, and lets it all out just for me.  Thanks, kid.  Really.  On those days, it feels like every little thing in the world is a trigger for total and complete meltdowns - a tiny stubbing of the toe, favorite t-shirt is dirty, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse isn't on television - really, anything can set him off.

In addition to his superior whining-and-driving-your-momma-completey-crazy skills, he's also developed a knack for drama.  And by drama, I mean making things a way bigger deal than they really are in order to get attention (kinda like some of your Facebook friends, huh?).  Fortunately, he doesn't have a Facebook account (yet), and the shit he says when he's in full-on drama mode is priceless.

He's been perfecting this sad look for awhile.

Example #1:  On what I fondly refer to as a Growing Day (the days where Gavin eats a TON and is incredibly tired all day), Gavin, our friend, YaYa, and I were going to have a bonfire in the backyard, but we needed a few items to make s'mores.  So, I went in my bedroom to change my clothes so we could head to the store while YaYa helped Gavin put on his shoes.  He was tired, and cranky, and the following conversation ensued:



Gavin:  (crying) I wanna go to the store.
YaYa:  Well, come here, and I will help you put your shoes on.
Gavin:  I just want my mommy.
YaYa:  She's right down the hall in her room.
Gavin:  No, she's not.  She's gone.  I miss my mommy.
YaYa:  She's just in her room putting her shoes on.
Gavin:  No, she isn't.  I looked and looked for her, and I can't find her anywhere.

I have no idea how she kept a straight face.  I, on the other hand, was listening from the bedroom and laughing so hard tears were streaming down my face.

Example #2:
Me:  I'll be right back, Gavin.  I'm going to go to the bathroom.
Gavin:  But I want to come with you.
Me:  No.  I've told you before that Mommy goes potty by herself.
Gavin:  But I just want you (grabbing my neck and hanging on for dear life).
Me:  I'll be right back; I'm just going to go potty really quick.
Gavin:  But I'll miss you, Momma.  Please don't go.

You're going to miss me in the minute and thirty seconds I'm in the bathroom?  Nice try, kid.

Example #3:  We're in the car, and Gavin is tired and whiny.
Gavin: (in all seriousness) Momma, Daddy punched me in the face.
Me:  He did?  (Note, there is no hint of concern in my voice.  I've seen Gavin's face - there is not a bruise or blemish on his perfect complexion.  Plus, we've played this game before . . . I know the truth.  Just wait for it.)
Gavin:  Yes, he did.
Me:  Huh.  Now, why did Daddy punch you in the face?
Gavin:  I don't know; he just did.  He punched me two times.
(Meanwhile, his dad is trying not to laugh.)
Me:  Oh, he punched you two times did he?  Were you wrestling?
Gavin: (in a small voice) Yeah.
Me:  Were you guys messing around?
Gavin:  (still a small voice) Yeah.
Me:  Was Daddy just playing?
Gavin:  Yeah.
Me:  Did it hurt?
Gavin:  No.
Me:  You guys were just having fun, huh?
Gavin:  (with giddy excitement in his voice).  Yeah.  It was funny.  We wrestled, and Daddy punched me in the face but not hard.
Me:  I figured.  (rolling my eyes)

You see, Gavin and his dad wrestle.  All.  The.  Time.  It's like WWF or whatever it's called now.  But, rarely doesn't anyone get hurt, and if someone does get hurt, it's usually not Gavin.  Every time they wrestle, I get a play-by-play from Gavin that usually starts with something like:  "My Daddy beat me up."  Or, "I beat up Daddy really good."  

Now, honestly.  Can you imagine if he goes to preschool and starts telling his "versions" of what happened?  I can only imagine.  "Mommy won't let me go in the bathroom and sometimes I can't find her anywhere.  And my Daddy punches me in the face."  Drama.  Drama.  Drama.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Best McDonald's Drive-Thru Experience. Ever.

Yesterday was a long twelve-hour work day, BUT I was rewarded with 15 jam-packed-with-action minutes later on in the evening.  You see, after work, I had to go to the store to buy some, um, er, lady products.  Rather than waiting in line at Meijer, since I really only needed one thing, I decided to just head into Rite Aid.  Now, I've done this before, and every time, the same elderly gentleman rings up my stuff.  And my "stuff" is always tampons.  And every time he rings me up, he calls me a variety of pet names.  Sweetie.  Honey.  Dear.  Young lady.  Sweetheart.  And, I just think to myself, "Dude.  I'm buying tampons.  Don't call me 'Sweetie' when I'm buying tampons."

So, this time, I was in a hurry to get out of there.  I think he had called me every pet name in the book.  I was uncomfortable, and I wanted ice cream.  After Grandpa Sweet-talker had bagged up my goods, he went to hand me my bag and my receipt.  Well, I grabbed on handle of the plastic bag, but the other handle stuck to his hand.  I pulled harder while trying to walk away at the same time.  The bag ripped.  Tampons shot through the air like fireworks on the 4th of July.  Not awkward at all.

Well, after that debacle, I decided I deserved ice cream.  So, I decided to head to the McDonald's Drive-Thru and get a soft-serve cone.  Now, normally, I don't have good drive-thru experiences.  They usually going something like this:
"Hey, remember when I said NO mayo?  I didn't mean 16 ounces of mayo."
"Oh, hey, um, my food. . .  yeah, it's cold.  Think you could give me some that's hot or at least warm?"
"I vaguely remember ordering a cheeseburger and fries.  Pretty sure this is a fish sandwich."

Well, this drive-thru experience was awesome.  Not because I had fantastic service, but because it was so entertaining.  When I pulled up, there was a mini van at the drive-thru speaker.  I could see the driver - clearly a grandma - and I could hear the kids.  I don't know how many of them there were, but Grandma was obviously out-numbered.  Since I had my window down, I overheard most of her ordering...

Grandma:  Okay, I'll have a . . . . a . . . happy meal.  With chicken nuggets.  For a boy.

Cashier:  And what do you want to drink with that?

Kids: (In the background) I wanna Happy Meal!  AAAAHHHH!  I wanna Happy Meal.  SCREAM.

Grandma:  Um . . . how about . . . um . . . a Cherry Coke.

Cashier:  We don't have Cherry Coke.

Kid:  NNNOOOOOOOO!!!!!  OH NO!!  I WANNA CHERRY COOOOOOOOOOKE!

Grandma:  Yeah, I'm gonna need another . . . um . . .  another . . . um . . .  one of those . . .

Cashier (clearly annoyed):  Happy Meal?

Grandma:  Yeah, another Happy Meal.  For a boy.  With chicken nuggets.

Kids:  SCREAM.

Cashier:  What to drink with that?

Grandma:  (15 second pause while she tries to stop the screaming)  Um, a Cherry Coke with that.

Cashier:  We don't have Cherry Coke.

Grandma:  (30 second pause while she tries to get the kids to stop yelling and tell her what they want to drink).  Um, just coke with that.

Kids:  RESUME SCREAMING.

Cashier:  Is that all?

Grandma:  Um, no.  I'm gonna need sauce for the nuggets.  Barbeque and spicy mustard.

Cashier:  Is that all?  (At this point, you can tell he's thinking, "Hurry the hell up lady.")

KIDS:  INCREASE VOLUME OF SCREAMING.

Grandma:  No.  I want a . . .  um . . .  let's see . . .  a smoothie.  Yeah.  One of these mango smoothies.

Cashier:  Okay.  A mango smoothie.  Is that all?

Grandma:  Um, and an order of onion rings.

Kids:  I WANNA TOY.  I'M HUNGRY.  I DON'T WANT NUGGETS.  SCREAM.  SCREAM.

Cashier:  We don't have onion rings.

Grandma:  You don't?

Cashier:  NO.

Kids:  I'M STARVING.  I WANT MY TOY.  SCREAM.

Grandma:  Oh.  Huh.  Well, nevermind then.  Just the smoothie.

Cashier:  Pull forward.  I'll have your total at the window.

Now, I normally would've been annoyed for having to wait so long for someone to order.  But this?  This was entertaining.  In fact, I was laughing so hard, I didn't even car that it took this lady 10 minutes to place an order.  The best part?   When I got to the second window to pick up my food, the girl handing out orders looked so stressed.  Almost like she was about to have a nervous breakdown.  And the grandma?  She had to pull up to wait for the rest of her food.  (Which she clearly didn't get, because she left, and then immediately came back).

Thank you, McDonald's patrons for an entertaining experience!

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