You Might Have a 3 Year Old If…

51 Comments

You Might Have a 3 Year Old If...

1. You wish that, when God created children, he remembered to install a mute button.

2. The bigger the rush you are in, the more your child walks like he’s wearing cement boots in a vat of molasses.

3. You feel like you’ve become trapped in the movie Memento, as he tells the same story to you time and time again, always with vigor. You’ve tried to perfect the art of inserting “uh huhs” at the right time but you know (and he knows) you’re not quite there.

4. You are forced to listen to pop music ad nauseum, as Katy Perry is his “fravorite” singer.

5. You’ve decided whomever dubbed them the “terrible twos” is either dumb or has never had a three-year-old.

Related Post: Three Year Olds Are The Same as Asshole Bosses

6. Where you once nibbled on his toes and body parts with abandon, you now wish he wore plastic wrap over his whole body. You’ve seen where he puts things, and it isn’t pretty. You hold hands but cringe knowing he considers booger picking an Olympic sport.

7. After a day with him, you find your new mantra is “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.”

8. Sometimes your only goal for the day is to get him through parking lots without dying. He walks through them like one of the patients who have just escaped catatonia in the movie Awakenings. His mouth is agape and he zigzags like he’s trying to escape an alligator. You only narrowly escape your goal.

9. He will never remember to put his yogurt wrapper in the garbage but will never, EVER forget the ONE time you ran a red light. Let it go, Dude!

10. He’s never tired until … zzzzzzz …

11. He could care less what you dress him in, which you take advantage of far too often.

12. Put any same-sized human next to him, and they are instantly friends.

13. Finding two matching shoes is more difficult than solving the Pythagorean theorem. Same goes for socks.

14. You do not want to sit too close, as the insults about blemishes, yellow teeth, nose hairs, etc., will crush your soul.

15. Although you could have sworn you just cut them, his toenails will always look like those of Howard Hughes.

Related Post: 10 Reasons Age Three is More Terrible Than Two

16. He’ll eat fruit like it’s crack but any veggies get a “What’s dis?”

17. He’s a major conservationist, as he not only lets the yellow mellow but he also doesn’t flush the brown down.

18. Talk of any vulgar bodily function will send him into a fit of laughter that you think could kill him.

19. He is a terror at home but his preschool teacher and babysitter report he is nothing but an angel. Figures.

20. Despite any of the bad stuff goes with it, you wish so badly you could create a machine that freezes him at this age, as he is bursting with cuteness.

The Yelling

22 Comments

sad little girl

As I wiggled her little body into the pink corduroy pants, her nose wrinkled and she let out a colossal sigh. “I don’t want to wear these! They don’t feel comfortable!” she pouted.

I could feel it. Like an elementary school science experiment, frustration and irritation combined in my insides like vinegar and baking soda to create a bubbly cocktail of anger.

I yelled.

And then I rifled through her drawers to find something else.

Her eyes welled with tears. And mine did, too.

I reeled with guilt because that was her morning, too. If I pull on pants that are uncomfortable, I change them. She wasn’t being particularly unreasonable.

I could tell you it was the time of day that made me lose my cool. I could tell you that my dad sincerely warned my husband about “Emily in the morning” and added vehement head shaking and teeth sucking for emphasis.

But that wouldn’t explain why I had the very same emotional response hours later with Noah. He stormed off in a huff, stomping his feet all the way to his bedroom.

Strike two for mom.

Strike three hit the hardest and burned the most. Chloe sidled up next to Noah and inadvertently bumped into him. He wheeled his head in her direction and hissed something livid in her direction. In an instant a fight erupted.

“Whoa. Whoa. Whoa!” I announced as I got between my two children turned MMA fighters.

Anger mottled their faces, and even separated from one another, they glared.

Suddenly I recalled a horrible marijuana commercial from my childhood: A mustached father confronts his pot-smoking teen who yells, “I learned it from watching you!”

My kids could have turned to me and said the very same thing. “I learned it from watching you!”

The angry display wasn’t mine, but it was mine just the same.

I’ve seen headlines and blog challenges all over the web imploring parents to stop yelling. In my head I thought, “What? We can’t have an emotional response? We’re parents, but we’re still human.”

Then I noticed the effects of my short fuse. I’m embarrassed and more than a little ashamed. I’m ashamed that sometimes my go-to emotion is frustration. I’m ashamed that sometimes the unpredictability (or predictability) of childhood irritates me.

There are moments — sometimes entire days —  when I feel like I’m struggling to stay afloat; my kids with their novice strokes or enthusiasm for the water step on my head and grab my neck and grope and pull and squeal. I waste what little breath I have by yelling, and we all start to sink.

When Noah lashed out at Chloe, I saw he was focusing on his Legos. I know he wanted to finish what he started without interupption. I know that feeling, and sadly, I understand his response. But I can’t condone it. I won’t.

I’m disappointed that I neglected to show him a better way to handle his feelings to avoid a dam break that leaves the broken remains of people in its path.

I really need to stop yelling.

Three is the New Two

124 Comments

Waaah!

“What if he is an asshole forever?” my hubby bemoans as we drive home with a thrashing, screeching three-year-old strapped into the car.

“I’m sure it’s just a phase,” I reassure myself nervously.

This was our first child, so I was not at all sure that this was a phase.  After all, I had no comparison, no guarantee that he wouldn’t always be the raging, angry, menacing, tantruming, spitting, screaming, hateful asshole he had been embodying for the last month.

What had changed in the last month?  What had happened to our sweet baby?  We’d made it through the terrible twos relatively unscathed.  It was supposed to be easy sailing between now and adolescence, right?

The man who coined the term “the terrible twos” must have moved abroad for the entirety of his child’s third year.

Of course my precious boy had had outbursts when he was two, but nothing that had prepared me for what began one week after my boy’s third birthday.

After a rushed mission through Target with my grouchy son strapped into the cart, we stood in a slow moving checkout line.  Leo was growing more and more agitated, wiggling and whining, begging to be let out of what must, to him, have been the equivalent of water boarding.  Mind you, this assumption is based solely on his reaction to confinement in the cart.  I refused his requests as we were almost at the head of the line, but my repeated denials only enraged the little prince further.

Just as the cashier began to scan our items, the dam containing the rage held within the tiny body of my three-year-old broke wide and a gush of profanity was released.  His adorable little rosebuds lips open and his squeak of a voice screams, “MOTHER FUCKER! MOTHER FUCKER! MOTHER FUCKER!”

I am literally stunned into silence, awestruck by the filth flowing freely from his miniscule vocal cords.  “MOTHER FUCKER! MOTHER FUCKER! MOTHER FUCKER!”

Holy fuck! Where the hell did he learn that kind of despicable language?  Certainly not from me!  What the shit am I supposed to do about this?  I can’t just ignore it.  Oh, bloody fuck in a fuck hole, everyone is staring.

Pondering what action to take, I am distracted by a howling laugh.  The teenage cashier thinks this situation hilarious.  Did I mention that I am a high school teacher?  Because, I went full out teacher on that kid’s ass: “You think this is funny? You think it’s funny that a three-year-old boy is screaming profanity in a public place in order to manipulate his mother into giving him what he wants? This little boy looks up to you as a big kid, and your laughter only teaches him that this type of behavior is not only acceptable, but encouraged.  Shame on you!”

Granted, this anger may have been slightly misplaced.

The Target incident, as we now refer to it, is topped only by the battle of wills our three-year-old daughter, Cecily, fought with me over the fact that a pair of shoes we’d purchased did not fit.

“I WANT THEM! I WANT THEM! I WANT THEM!”

“I know you do, but they don’t fit. Let’s put on your sparkly pair.”

“NO! NO! I WANT THEM!!!!” she bellows as she thrashes wildly on the floor.  “I WANT THEM!” she screeches between heaving sobs.

This epically ridiculous battle continues for ten minutes as I struggle to shove her sparkle shoes onto her feet, all the while keeping an eye on the clock as I am now going to be late to work.  I foolishly forgot to schedule a 15 minute tantrum buffer.

“NO! I WANT TO DO IT! I WANT TO PUT MY SPARKLE SHOES ON BY MYSELF!”

“Okay, you do it then, but we need to hurry.”

“NO! NO! I WANT YOU TO DO IT! I WANT YOU TO PUT MY SHOES ON!”

“Then give me the shoes, and I will put them on,” I insist through gritted teeth.

“NO, NO, NO!!!!!!! I CAN DO IT! GET AWAY FROM ME! I CAN DO IT!”

I’ve reached my breaking point.  “I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME, CECILY FRANCES. I have to go to work. I have to go,” I attempt to reason with her, in vain.  I shove the shoes onto her kicking feet, repeatedly pummeled by her flailing arms.  I stuff her under my arm (picture, if you will, a writhing, bellowing 28 pound football) and head out the front door.  Keep in mind, it is 6:15 a.m. on a frosty Winter’s morning.  It is pitch black and silent, as the majority of the neighbors are still snuggled cozily into their beds.  At least, they were.

I see the lights next door and those across the street flick on as I wrestle the still shrieking Cecily into my van.  I can only imagine that I must appear to be a kidnapper, struggling to abduct a frantic little victim.  But, no.  I can’t imagine any kidnapper would put up with this behavior.  I am simply trying to get my kid into a pair of shoes and into the damn car.

Embarrassing admission time.  In point of fact, as I write this, Cecily is acting as inspiration.  Ahhhh…my unwelcome little muse.  While jumping on the couch, an activity she has been expressly forbidden to participate in several times, she accidentally kicks her father in the face.  I calmly and firmly order her into the Naughty Spot.

“NO!” she stubbornly affirms, topping off her insubordination by spitting at me.

I take a deep breath and begin my 1-2-3 Magic training: “One. Go to the Naughty Spot.”

“NO!” she refuses, and showers me further with saliva.

“Two. Go to the Naughty Spot.”

“NO!” she screams, dousing me, once again, with spittle.  My stomach knots as I strain to control my temper.  Holy shit!  If this is what she is like as a three-year-old, what the hell am I in store for when she’s thirteen?

“Three. Move to the Naughty spot or you will be going up to bed now, without story or song.” In her final act of resistance, she gathers a mouthful of loogy and spits forth a raging raspberry.  “Ok. Take her up to bed,” I demand of my hubby.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOO! I don’t want to go to bed. I want a different mommy. You are NOT NICE!”  she hurls her most injurious insult at me.  The next twenty minutes are a raging storm of high pitched screams and a torrent of tears, but she is finally cajoled into her bed.

The only cure I know for this hideous behavior? A fourth birthday.

My little princess turns four at the end of December and, this year, it isn’t Christmas that can’t come soon enough.

When The Little Shit is Yours

55 Comments

original

By now, my ears are finely tuned to know my kids’ cries anywhere. I am a living, breathing, once-lactating richter scale who can track the velocity of a low moan or a high whine anywhere, anytime. I failed algebra 2, and didn’t even bother taking calculus, but believe you me, as a mother, I know how to plug the silences between the screams into that mathematical algorithm that differentiates between “dude, cut the drama,” and “holy shit, what’s the number for 911?”

And oooh how smug I am as I sit on the stone bench with my ice coffee and think to myself with absolute certainty “well, thank God that wasn’t my kid.”

But it kind of was.

“Mommyyyyyy!” a scream tears through the playground, louder than the usual clamor of kids shrieking as they fly through the air on plastic swings or whoosh down the big red slide, and loud enough to make all of the mommies raise our heads in neurotic unison like zebras at a watering hole.

But even though I look up, I’m not really that freaked out. By now, my ears are finely tuned to know my kids’ cries anywhere.  I am a living, breathing, once-lactating richter scale who can track the velocity of a low moan or a high whine anywhere, anytime. I failed algebra 2, and didn’t even bother taking calculus, but believe you me, as a mother, I know how to plug the silences between the screams into that mathematical algorithm that differentiates between “dude, cut the drama,” and “holy shit, what’s the number for 911?”

And oooh how smug I am as I sit on the stone bench with my ice coffee and think to myself with absolute certainty “well, thank God that wasn’t my kid.”

But it kind of was.

Because while it isn’t my beamish boy pink cheeked and howling at the bottom of the big red slide, he is the reason this other kid is crying.

“No! I’m not giving it back!” my son is shouting, as he clutches a Thomas the Tank Engine that sooooooo does not belong to him.

“But it’s mine!” the other boy sobs as he reaches for (his!) Thomas.

“No. I want it!”

And guess what I want? I want to throttle my son.

Even in the flurry of it all, I realize that this is one of those (gag) “teachable moments” where I should walk slowly and purposefully to my son, get down on the ground so that we’re eye-to-eye, and speak in reassuring and non-judgemental tones.

Where an ideal mother would say “Sweet Boy, it looks like you’re feeling a lot of anger right now.”

Where an ideal mother would say “Sweet Boy, Thomas doesn’t belong to you, and this little boy would like him back.”

Where an ideal mother would say “Sweet Boy, what can we do instead of screaming?”

Yeah, well, this mother yells in a voice big and deep, a yell that starts somewhere in the gut and  rattles the cords in her throat, a yell that almost tears her tonsils off.

“Dude, that is not your train. Give it back. Now!”

Guess what happens. My son starts screaming, too.

It’s been a very long day.  Hell, it’s been a very  long 3 ½ years, and I am beyond horrified that my sweet boy — the sweet boy who likes me to sing Elton John’s Tiny Dancer to him when we walk to preschool, the sweet boy who tears his sandwich in half and offers his friend a bite, the sweet boy who sleeps snuggling his Princess Tiana doll — is the reason why this kid is crying.

Meanwhile, the other kids mother is now at the slide, her arms wrapped around her weeping child, while she is skewering my son with her stare.   Can’t say I  blame her.  I have been there: Last year, I wanted to cut the little girl who took my son’s Princess Tiana doll and made him cry. When I watched my child’s face crumple, and his eyes shine like river rocks, my claws came out with a growl from a low and primal place beyond the gut, and  I wanted to grab that doll out of the girl’s grubby little hands and hit her upside the head with it  – thwack thwack thwack — before restoring it to its rightful place in my son’s arms.

And I’ll tell you something kind of ugly and a little bit scary: I’d rather get all mother lion on someone’s ass than be the mother whose child caused another’s pain.

Because what do I do? I can have a serious tug-of-war with my (freakishly strong) 3 ½ year old and scream “give me the goddamn train right now this minute” but then I’m that mother in the park screaming at her kid, and everyone is thinking to themselves “Homegirl can’t even control herself. No wonder her kid is acting like such a little shit.” Or after wrestling Thomas from my son’s death grip, I can make him say he’s sorry to the other kid, but let’s be real: The whole “I’m sorry” thing is just an act for the other mom, because the only thing my son will be “sorry” about is the fact that he can’t keep the goddamn train.

Or, I can remind my son of that day last year when someone made him feel sad: “Do you remember how sad you were when someone took your Princess Tiana doll? Do you see how this child is crying now?” and pray that these words will nurture that kernel of empathy that I know is buried beneath the temper and the tears.

So there it is. The “teachable moment” shining through the dregs of a very long day — not just for my son, but for me.

Because karma is a 3 ½ year old with a Thomas the Tank Engine, and now that I know my son is fully capable of acting like a little shit on the playground, and now that I  know how rotten it feels to see it happen, I hope I’ll be easier on the next little shit that inevitably hurts my son’s feelings.

A Letter to My Children Concerning Their Artwork

42 Comments

canstockphoto13981384

Dear Children,

I love you. You know that.

In fact one of you, and I won’t name names, is already over that game I play where I say, “Hey, I have to tell you a secret,” and then you come over and I whisper “I love you so much” in your ear. You can deny it, but your eye roll says it all. Regardless, I will continue to tell you how much I love you a gazillion times a day. This will never get old to me. Never. And one day, if you have kids, you will do the same. I can promise you that.

But I digress. Back to the topic.

We need to have a serious chat about something. I love you. (See, there I go again.) And that means all of you. Including everything you create with those perfect (although usually extremely dirty) little hands of yours. But as we approach the beginning of another school year—with one of you starting preschool and one of you starting (gulp!) kindergarten—and in anticipation of the family trees and pumpkins and snowmen and doily hearts and clovers and bunnies and American flags that you’ll undoubtedly be bringing home throughout the year, I need to ask you to slow your roll on the amount of artwork you create. And I use the term “artwork” loosely to include your drawings and paintings, any craft projects you make, those pages you’ve ripped out of activity books to color and adorn with stickers, the random Post-Its and scraps of paper I find all over the house with cryptic writing and various symbols drawn on them, and anything covered in doodles. Oh, and those pieces of paper that look completely blank at first glance but really have a few teeny tiny lines or dots or squigglies on them so that they cannot be used in the printer. Hopefully you get the point.

But why, you ask? Well, because we just don’t have the refrigerator space, or wall space, or cork board space, or desk space, or floor space, or shelf space, or closet space, or drawer space, or filing cabinet space, or car space, or purse space, or diaper bag space, or under-the-bed space, or under-the-couch space…to showcase every blessed piece of your artwork.

Plus, and I know this is going to sound very harsh, but it’s true… not every single thing you draw is a keeper. I refer you back to those papers with two barely visible markings on them. Or the colorful, glittery scraps not even you care to keep track of (and that I’m constantly getting stuck to the bottom of my feet). And while I’m sharing secrets, your drawings the other day didn’t accidentally fall into the trash can. (Read “recycle bin” if that makes you feel better.) Mommy put them there. On purpose. (Although apparently I didn’t bury them deep enough.) Because Mommy and Daddy’s most-used filing cabinet is, I’m sorry to say, our trash can.

Now, don’t wrinkle your noses up at me. You’re going to thank me one day for this. Honest to God. How do I know? Well, first, I can promise that you won’t want to be strapped with the mortgage payments we’d be ready to hand over for the house(s) we’d need to buy for the sole purposes of storing all of your art.

And second, when you’re older, you will have no idea what to do with the 83 gazillion boxes of old artwork that we’d be pushing on you the second you have your own place. How do I know this? Well, when I was little, Gramma (hi Mom, you know I love you) kept pretty much everything I made and saved it all in boxes. And when I got older she’d plea with me to take all of the stuff she had saved because it was taking up too much room. You know why it was taking up too much room? Because there was too-damned-much stuff in there, that’s why. Sure, I’ll admit that it was kinda fun going through things and seeing how extremely talented I was from a very young age. (Ahem.) But after that, I had no idea what to do with the boxes and boxes of discolored papers that smelled like they had been sitting in a basement for 20+ years.

Now, don’t get me wrong, some of your art pieces are forever keepers. But hows about we make a pact moving forward for all the rest?

I know it upsets you to think about me throwing away all of your hard work. So, I promise I won’t throw things away willy nilly anymore (because I have to admit, I did feel a little bad when you found that stuff in the trash). If there are things you want to keep, we can. We can do a weekly rotation (although if I’m being realistic, let’s say monthly; ok, fine, twice a year), and then we can re-evaluate. If you still want to save something once its display time has elapsed, let’s save it in a photo. I can take pictures and we can save them on my computer or on a CD or thumb drive. Or heck, even on our “cloud.” Then we can throw away/recycle the actual art. This has the twofold benefit of 1) saving space (in our house, anyway, oh and in yours in the future) and 2) keeping a record of your art that doesn’t yellow or take on that musty basement smell over time. Then, if you want to get crafty and creative with the pictures down the road, do it! It’ll mean you’ve activated some lazy recessive gene of mine that until this point in my life has remained pretty dormant.

What do you say? Do we have a deal?

Looking forward to all of your future masterpieces. Just don’t expect me to save them all.

Love, Mommy

How to Break the Pacifier Addiction

8 Comments

Pacifier Addiction

I recently had a free-ish week and since my daughter’s teeth were starting to look like a very expensive orthodontist’s bill, I decided that we were going to get rid of her…well, her pacifier at least.

This was harder than I thought. Way harder. She’s a stubborn one though, and she loved herself some binky-time. For anyone else out there looking at your children’s teeth and seeing a seriously ticked-off pre-teen in your future, I want you to know that I made it to the other side of our pacifier-addiction, and you can too.

Here’s how:

1. Ensure a firm addiction. You aren’t really that big of a deal unless your kid has a serious attachment. Do their eyes light up when they see the Pacifier? Do they sneak it out of the Put-Away Drawer when you are taking a shower? Do they sometimes need a mid-day pull off that thing? If so, they are appropriately addicted.

2. Decide on the day. I chose a time period when I knew my husband was going to be gone on a business trip. This may seem like I was being really nice to my husband, but in reality, I did this because the only thing worse than dealing with your toddler not sleeping, is dealing with your partner AND your toddler not sleeping.

3. Talk to your child about what is going to happen. “You are going to be a Big Kid and Big Kids don’t need their Binky!” Prepare for them not caring a hoot about being a Big Kid and, in general, being more ticked off and irrational than normal. Forget about them ever getting into their carseat without screaming, eating any food you have prepared for them, or letting you ever assist them with clothing-related tasks. Alternately, they might start putting the word “Baby” in front of their name and wanting to rock and cuddle a lot.

4. Just go for it. They will seem shocked that first day or night when you put them in their bed without the Pacifier. Truly shocked. Even if you have spent hours of your life explaining to them that this was going to happen. They will cry and scream and it is simultaneously heart-breaking and fear-inducing. Convince yourself that the first day will be the worst.

5. Don’t tell Grandma that any of this is happening or she may come and try to rescue your child from you and your mean parenting. Of course, you had your Binky until you were three and the braces to prove it.

6. Stay strong. You will be amazed at their stamina and their capacity for holding a grudge. They will be genuinely annoyed with you on day two. You won’t do anything right; pouring milk, playing puzzles, reading books, breathing. They know that you are trying to suck up to them and they are punishing you.

7. Busy yourself through the crying. Spend your time frantically giving away all of your remaining baby items, because there is no way you are ever doing this again.

8. Prepare for the bargaining. They will want to trade their special blanket or baby doll in for the binky. Their cries at nap-time are more sad than angry. You must stay strong, especially now. You will start to get a little frazzled at this point. You may or may not have your own little temper tantrum while putting clothes away, slamming drawers and talking to yourself and genuinely losing your mind. You may even text your partner a few hundred times during an important meeting to see if they could change their flight and come home earlier.

9. Resort to tough love. On the third day, after three full days of crying through naps, approximately 4 and 1/2 hours of crying altogether, you can get them up and say, “That’s it. Your binky is gone. No more crying.” And they might say, “No more crying?” in a pitiful little voice. And you say, “NO MORE crying.”

10. Euphoria will set in the moment you lay them down and they simply…fall asleep. It will feel like the greatest victory of your existence. Sadly. And then, inevitably, they will find that one pacifier that escaped your notice, perhaps the one that they had strategically wedged between the couch cushions in case of an emergency. You will find your very quiet toddler tucked in a corner somewhere, binky in place, looking extremely guilty. You must then begin again. Be strong out there. And that will be it.

So, good luck out there with your own pacifier-addicted children. It’s a tough road but you can do it. Really.

10 Gross Things You Hope Your Kids Will Never Do (But Probably Will)

113 Comments

funny boy

Let’s face it, kids are gross.  It’s no secret that crappy diapers, projectile spit up, and snot come along with the territory.

It’s all the other vile things small human beings do that make me want to book a tubal ligation with my gynecologist.

Unfathomable things.  Unsanitary things.  Unmentionable things.

And yet, I’m prepared to mention them here.  For the sake of anonymity, let me state that I can neither confirm, nor deny, that these acts of grossness were performed by my offspring.  Some may have been carried out  by other children.  Or not.  I can’t say.

1. Do other things with their boogers besides eat them.
That little snack they’ve dug out has the right combo of chewy and salty to satisfy a preschool palette.  But did you know that boogers also make a lovely wallpaper?  Can’t find the glue?  Boogers make a fantastic (and cheap!) alternative.

2. Poop in a public pool.
Ah yes, the grandaddy of embarrassment.  Even though your kid went to the potty before you got in the pool, said child decides to just shit their swimsuit rather than go to the bathroom a mere 10 feet away.  If you’re lucky, #2 is self contained and doesn’t produce a floater.  Then you can escort your towel-wrapped stinker to the bathroom, dispose of the foulness and discreetly alert the staff.  If not?  You’re looking at Def Con 5 and a full and hasty evacuation.

3. Piddle around with their anatomy. During dinner.
What IS it with privates that invite investigation?  Kids will fool around with their junk, then pull their hand out to grab a baby carrot like it’s nothing.  Hopefully this habit recedes before puberty.

4. Dig out old food from the cracks in your car’s floor board and devour them.
You open the door to find your toddler happily munching on something and ask to see it.   When she opens her mouth, you realize it’s the remnants from last Easter’s chocolate bunny.  It’s like she’s a homeless person!

5. Make disgusting concoctions with their food that would put a fraternity hazing week to shame.
Call it Culinary Curiosity. Maybe it’s a juice suicide.  Perhaps they just want to see what happens when you dump ground beef in a tumbler of milk and guzzle it.  Haven’t you ever had the strong urge to find out how delectable apples are when smothered with ketchup?

6. Use anything besides a napkin as a napkin.
Shirt sleeves, furniture, other food.  Anything is fair game!  Like cavemen, small children would rather wipe their dribble on something they need to wear all day than reach over and use a napkin.

7. Go an entire week without changing their underpants.
Somehow it’s easier to just put on the old underwear after a shower rather than grabbing a fresh pair.  That’s sitting right next to their new outfit.  It’s not until laundry day when you’ve hung seven pairs of pants and put away one boxer brief that you do the math and throw up in your mouth a little.

8. Store food in their mouths longer than a bear hibernates.
Apparently, it makes more sense to keep chewing on the same chunk of meat you don’t like and store it in your cheeks than to swallow it and be done.  By the time my kid finally gets around to swallowing turkey, it’s been pulverized to a puree, putting my gag reflex on high alert.

9. Your children will take a drink out of a beverage that’s past its prime.
I get it, kids get thirsty.  But would it be so difficult to ask how long that sippy cup of milk has been in the backseat before taking a swig?  I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of amoebic dysentery.

10. Use something besides toilet paper as toilet paper.
As they get older and gain independence, they’re going to want to wipe their own ass.  Who can blame them?  But be warned, if you’re out of toilet paper, you might as well kiss that nice hand towel goodbye.  When you’ve congratulated them on doing such a great job, be sure to avoid a High Five afterwards.  You just might find yourself the recipient of a turd slap.

Three Year Olds Are The Same as Asshole Bosses

69 Comments

cute-kid-cell-phone
For the purposes of this post, I am a scientist. I am currently bordering on having my third child turn three. Scientists use data and rigorous testing to develop a hypothesis. Considering I am knee deep in a shit sea of test tubes containing three year old children as specimens, you can call me doctor.

Every person has had the distinct pleasure of working for a boss who had no business managing human beings, primates or any classification of mammal. Someone who, you imagined through angry eyes and gritted teeth, struggled to put on pants in the morning. Yet, miraculously, this person made it into the upper echelons of “The Man(agement)”. For the purposes of this study, we will refer to these test subjects as: Asshole Bosses or simply Asshole, for short.

Your Asshole Boss and The Three Year Old Child. Hypothesis – They are exactly the same.

A bold statement to be sure, but, rest assured that I have examples, facts and data to back up my claims. I am, after all, a scientist.

FACT 1: Vacation? Restroom break? Lunch?
Asshole Boss: FUCK YOU. You are on their timeline. You can leave your desk when they are done with their morning marathon of high-fiving and solitaire playing with Hank, V.P. of Accounts. You don’t leave your desk until they leave their desk for their mid-morning, early afternoon, after lunch or pre-evening cappuccinos.
Three year old: FUCK YOU. You are on their timeline. You don’t leave your station next to them until they are done with their morning marathon of sitting on top of the cat and hiding the remotes. Don’t even think of going to put on real pants until they’ve had breakfast, breakfast snack, post-breakfast snack snack and pre-lunch snack.

FACT 2: Embarrassing you in public.
Asshole Boss: Doesn’t know what the FUCK they are talking about. It’s a good thing you are there to correct their incoherent jibber-jabber in meetings, conference calls and lunches with clients.
Three year old: Doesn’t know what the FUCK they are talking about. It’s a good thing you are there to explain their incoherent jibber-jabber in play groups, during doctor visits and lunches with friends you’ll never see again when you explain that HOO-HAW means donkey and DamnItPenis is just how they say Uncle Dennis.

FACT 3:  You have plans?
Asshole Boss: You have a date night scheduled with the lover? You’ve been planning it for months? You bought a new dress? FUCK YOU! A last minute deadline just came in. Asshole Boss would complete it, but, see Fact 2. They don’t know what the FUCK they’re talking about. You’re going to have to pull an all-nighter so douchetastic fantastic can look good at tomorrow’s board meeting. You’re not going anywhere.
Three year old: FUCK YOU! I rubbed my face against the kid with pink eye four days ago because I saw you online buying a dress. You’re not going anywhere.

FACT 4:  All of the work. None of the credit.
Asshole Boss: You do everything for them. You hold their hand through board meetings. You compile the reports. You write their e-mails and sweep up the pieces of disaster when they branch out to send correspondence without checking in to ask if any of the data they spewed was accurate. You make the calls and put in the time. You get a $5 Olive Garden gift certificate at the end of the year. You trade it in for a bottle of Boon’s Farm and call it a day.
Three year old: You do everything for them. You get a swift kick in the vagina as you carry their screaming, stiff body to bed. You call it a day with the 1/4 bottle of flat champagne you found in the refrigerator behind the leftover ravioli they threw at you earlier during dinner at The Olive Garden.

FACT 5: You need the job.
Asshole Boss: They have you where they want you. Sure, the pay is shit, you don’t have dental and they just took away your parking space to give it to Asshole Boss’s 16 year old, but, hey, a job is better than no job. You stick it out while sticking pins into that cool voodoo doll you got in the French Quarter from that nice lady with the two dozen chicken heads hanging from her ceiling. Good times.
Three year old: They have you where they want you. Sure, the pay is shit, you don’t have dental and you didn’t have a parking space to begin with, but, you can’t even imagine not having the 3 year old. Besides, you love that little asshole. Good times.

As you can see, scientific data doesn’t lie. The constant is the behavior. The only variable in this highly respectable study is love. When it comes to that, 3 year old has Asshole Boss beat by a landslide. Still, even given the variable, I think you’ll agree these findings are not without scientific merit. All experiments were done in a controlled setting, excluding the key love element which would explain why you keyed Asshole Boss’s car yet gave your 3 year old 100 hundred kisses, 15 readings of Goodnight Moon and 4 glasses of water tonight before bed.

50 Lessons in Parenting Young Kids

189 Comments

DSC_0094

1. Super glue has no place in a house with young children.

2. Neither do Sharpie’s.

3. There is no such thing as allowing your kid to play with your phone “just once.”

4. Don’t use Google to diagnose illnesses. Ever.

5. Dollar store toys cost far more than a dollar in frustration, anguish and regret.

6. The terrible twos are bullshit. The terribleness lasts through at least age four. Or, forever.

7. Always carry wipes, long after diaper wearing has ended.

8. Resist purchasing character Bandaids, unless you’re prepared to buy a box a week.

9. You can never have too many Goldfish. The crackers, not the live ones.

10. Don’t buy bunk beds, unless you have absolutely no choice.

11. Keep track of who gave what at birthday parties.

12. Never stock batteries in your house, or you will be forced to make obnoxiously loud toys work once again.

13. Buy Mr. Clean Erasers in bulk.

14. Backup all photos. Better yet, print them.

15. Look in the oven before you turn it on.

16. There is no point in making beds.

17. Accept the fact that you will turn into your mother.

18. Always check pockets before washing clothes.

19. There is no such thing as “running” into Target with children.

20. Take more video.

21. Daily baths are overrated.

22. Find young babysitters and groom them. The less attractive, the better.

23. Always have ample one dollar bills on hand for lost teeth and bribery.

24. Carry plenty of emergency snacks in the car.

25. Keep expensive cosmetics out of arm’s reach. Arm’s reach, on a stool and tippy toes.

26. The four year old check-up is brutal.

27. Look before you sit down to pee.

28. Train your children to clean up all Lego’s before bed, knowing that nothing is more painful than stepping on a Lego with a bare foot at midnight.

29. Save “no” for when it really matters.

30. Over-apply sunscreen.

31. Practice caution when approaching that stray raisin on the floor. It’s probably not a raisin.

32. Never pay full price for kids clothes. They always go on sale and the expensive ones inevitably get ruined first.

33. There’s a reason why people surprise their kids with trips to Disney: Their anticipation may kill you.

34. Don’t take their word for it when children say they don’t need to pee before leaving the house.

35. Lock your bedroom door.

36. And, your bathroom one.

37. Never open a can of soda handed to you by a child.

38. Walk away from temper tantrums. Or, record them for future enjoyment.

39. Upset as you may be, hair grows back.

40. But, not on Barbie dolls, so hide the scissors.

41. Never buy more than two pairs of shoes at once. Their feet will inevitably grow once you do.

42. No matter how hard they promise, kids will never walk that puppy as much as you hoped.

43. Give away the books you can’t stand reading.

44. No child went to college with a pacifier.

45. Don’t buy any toy that is meant to come apart, unless they can put it back together themselves.

46. Keep a well-hidden stock of lollipops.

47. Don’t allow Play-Doh on carpets. Or, indoors, for that matter.

48. TV won’t really turn their brains to mush.

49. A bathroom in a house with boys will never smell clean.

50. It doesn’t get easier.

10 Reasons Age Three is More Terrible Than Two

302 Comments

IMG_0130

1. At two, they can barely talk. At three, they never shut the hell up.

2. At two, they cry. At three, they throw temper tantrums so epic, you become convinced that they are possessed by the devil.

3. At two, they’re happy to eat anything you present to them. At three, they eat only three foods (usually consisting of a starch and processed cheese.)

4. At two, baths are a ten minute event, the result of which is a clean child. At three, baths take over an hour, and result in a drenched bathroom, sopping wet mommy and 16 used towels.

5. At two, they wear diapers that can be changed on your watch. At three, they’re potty trained and the world revolves around their bladders and bowels.

6. At two, they are distracted by a box of Gerber Puffs at the grocery store. At three, they want to dictate your entire food list.

7. At two, they let you dress them, looking innocent and adorable. At three, they insist on picking out their clothes, looking like pint sized versions of mental institution inhabitants.

8. At two, they don’t like to get dirty. At three, they thrive on it.

9. At two, you can do things for them, saving infinite amounts of time. At three, they must do everything by themselves, taking FOR-fucking-EVER.

10. At two, manipulation is the last thing on their minds. At three, they own you. And they know it.

The Preschoolers Guide to Hide and Seek

67 Comments

hide and seek

#1: Tell your Mom EXACTLY where you are hiding. Example: “Mommy!! I am hiding in the baaaaaathrooooooom!”

#2: Giggle very loudly while you wait for someone to find you. Brace yourself! For some reason, they usually show up within seconds afterwards!

#3: Hide in the SAME EXACT SPOT each time. The bathroom! Again!

#4: Make sure part of your body is visible in your hiding spot. I usually like to keep a whole leg sticking out.

#5: If you haven’t been found within 15-30 seconds, come out of your hiding spot and insist that the game start over. Sometimes I just wait 5 seconds.

#6: Bring a friend to your hiding spot whenever possible. Make sure your friend is completely visible, while you are completely hidden (except for that leg).

#7: Laugh really, really, really loudly with your friend. This always makes people find you fast. I haven’t figured out why yet.

#8: Yell out “COME FIND ME!!!!!!!” when you hear someone within inches of your hiding spot. She will usually find you pretty quickly afterwards. Be prepared.

#9: Once found, run wildly out of your hiding spot and into something, preferably a sibling, friend or a really hard object or wall. After crying for a few minutes & being consoled, get up already. It’s time to play some more.

#10: When it is your turn to count to 10, don’t close your eyes and begin looking for everyone when you get to the number 3.

A Parent’s Prayer for Potty Training in the Digital Age

68 Comments

1347488_1227722217_med

Guide me, O Lord, that I may refrain from over-sharing on the Internet every blessed detail of the trials and tribulations of potty training; May neither Blog nor Facebook nor Twitter bear witness to my joy at the sight of poo in the potty, nor my frustration over the invariable pee-pee in the pants.

Dear God, grant me Restraint and Self-censorship, that friends and family and loyal readers alike may be spared the tedious ramblings surrounding potty trips, soiled underwear, potty schedules, soiled carpets, business done in the potty, unfortunate-yet-inevitable accidents, soiled furniture, number of books read or songs sung while on the potty, and/or how many stickers were awarded each day for going tinkle vs. chocolate treats for doing poops. May such rhetoric instead be contained to phone calls with grandparents, for this is why Thou created them.

Bestow upon me the knowledge, O Lord, that the only people who give a damn what kind of underpants my little girl is wearing are the pedophiles who may at some point in their miserable lives be busted in a massive child pornography sting. But should these pervs somehow elude the watchful eye of Chris Hansen in collaboration with the FBI and now come a-creepin’ courtesy of SEO and the Almighty Google, may Thou conjure a rabid honey badger to suddenly appear and chew off their junk. Because honey badger don’t care, Lord. He just don’t give a shit.

And be my conscience, God, that I may pause and reflect before [again] posting to the World Wide Web a photo of my child sitting bare-assed on the toilet, no matter how cute her expression, and instead ask myself, “Would I want to be violated like that?” (And Lord, that the answer be no – because let’s face it, some people are into that sort of thing.)

Indeed, Almighty God, help me bear in mind that one’s time spent in the bathroom is both sacred and private. And that the topic of bodily waste is neither adorable nor appropriate to the world at large, even when framed in the context of a toddler’s baby-soft bum, as opposed to a grown man’s giant, hairy ass.

And finally, Lord, may I look upon my child at times with objective eyes rather than maternal ones, that I should see her no longer as an infant, but as a little person – one with genuine thoughts and feelings and an unmitigated right to basic privacy.

Hear these pleas, O Lord, and lead me not into Stupidity. For it is in Thy name I pray, forever and ever.

Amen.