Things Parents Say to Toddlers

On any given day, you’ll hear any parent say the most random things to their toddler, but I’m not talking about the basic things, like ‘no’ and ‘I SAID NO!’  The random things I’m talking about are things we never thought we’d say, ever.  Every day, I utter a sentence that sounds so utterly ridiculous, it could only be said by a parent, to a child.  Although, I would imagine that you could add a lot of ‘that’s what she said’ to the ends of these sentences.  Without further explanation, here are a collection of things I’ve said to my 2 year old, as well as some things I’ve heard other parents say:

“Please don’t put your monkey in my coffee!”

“Yes, that’s your penis, now please stop touching it so I can get your diaper on.”

“No more lotion, you’ve used enough!”

“No lotion on your penis!” (fairly obvious theme emerging here)

“Boov doesn’t belong on the table.”

“Don’t drink your bath water!”

“Moose doesn’t like to be thrown into the wall.”

“No balls in my coffee, please.”

“No more pizza, you haven’t pooped in a day.”

“Don’t put toilet paper in your mouth.”

“No more motorboating Mommy’s boobies.”

“NO!  Don’t grab my pee!”  (as said by my husband while Jackson watched him pee, and attempted to grab the stream and saying “water!”)

 

Now here are some random things I’ve heard other parents say, or they’ve told me they said:

“Get your penis off your brother!”

“No more coffee.”  (Yes, I’ve actually heard this said to a toddler)

“Stop sticking your foot in your sister’s mouth!”

“I don’t think daddy wants you to lick his nose.”

“Yay for poopy!” (must have been potty training)

“Let’s not play with our poop.”

 

What are some things you’ve said to your children that were completely ridiculous?

 

Even More Things I’ve Learned As a Parent

It’s been a while since I posted this list, and since it’s been over a year (meaning there’s been plenty of time to learn lots of new things) I figured I’d better post some of them.  In no particular order, here are even more things I’ve learned as a parent:

  1. Toddlers suck.
  2. Toddlers really suck.
  3. You will be concerned, worried even, if your child doesn’t talk by a certain age, or only says a few words or phrases.  This was me 5 months ago.  Now, he repeats everything.
  4. They can’t pronounce ‘milk’, but can say ‘fuck’ and ‘shit’ with amazing clarity, and usually in line at the grocery store behind a nun.
  5. Because of #3 and #4, you actually have to start watching what you say.  Fuck.
  6. They will find a way to embarrass the un-embarrassable (see previous post)
  7. They are so destructive! (see previous post)
  8. Don’t buy them anything new, or that costs more than $2, because #7
  9. What is with them always taking their shoes off as soon as they’re in the car?!
  10. Boredom is your enemy.
  11. Naps are your best friend.

Toddler Destruction

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It’s been well over a year since I last wrote a post, but I doubt anyone really cared too much what happened in the last year, so I’ll spare you some of the more boring details.  We moved, lived in the middle of nowehere Kansas, and have come back.  Jackson is now 2 years old, full of energy, and super destructive.  To say the least, he’s in full toddler mode.  The kid isn’t happy unless he’s throwing toys, food, cups full of liquid, and pretty much anything else he can get his hands on.  He will watch cartoons, run, play, dance, and tickle fight.  But if there’s something within arms reach that he can lift, he will throw it, no holds barred.  He’ll throw it at a wall, the floor, in a pile, make a pile, throw some more, maybe throw at your head, you name it.  Needless to say, we took away any toy that wasn’t stuffed.  From what I’ve read online (good ol’ Google, always there for me) this is completely normal.  I’ve seen a lot of ‘just give them boundaries of what/when/where they can throw’, and heard a lot of “yep, that’s just what they do” from numerous friends and strangers.  News flash: doesn’t make it any less annoying or frustrating.  Why can’t the kid just knock it the hell off and build with some blocks, for crying out loud?! Speaking of which, have I got a story for you guys.  I don’t embarrass easily (Jackson will motorboat me in the middle of the grocery store, so not much bothers me anymore) but Jackson managed to do just that the other day.

I took Jackson to the local children’s museum to play.  We got a membership, so I’ve been taking him a few times a week to play.  There’s a new exhibit where kids can build a wall of foam blocks inside this “construction zone” in these windows, and every 15 minutes, this light flashes and a sound goes off, and all the blocks drop to the floor.  It’s actually a really fun concept, and I know that if I were a kid, I’d love the shit out of it.  Does Jackson love the shit out of it, you ask?  Why yes, yes he does.  He loves picking up all the blocks, putting them on the conveyor belt, and climbing all over, and engaging with the other kids.  Know what else he loves the shit out of?  Yep, you guessed it: throwing the foam blocks.  Now, I can discipline him and tell him not to throw, and he’ll listen to me for the most part.  However…..remember me mentioning that he’s destructive?  I think you probably know where I’m going with this.  The other day, about 2 or 3 kids, ages 5 and up, had been building up the foam blocks in the windows so they would all come down when the clock struck 15 minutes.  What does Jackson do?  Goes up there and knocks every single one of them down.

Yep, I have that kid.

I was actually incredibly embarrassed.  These kids had worked pretty hard, and they were pissed.  I don’t blame them!  I would’ve been pissed if some little kid had come along and knocked all my shit down!  I apologized to the other kids and distracted Jackson with another exhibit for a while, let them do their thing, and came back later when they’d moved on.  The other parents laughed, they thought it was pretty hilarious.  I don’t know if they were laughing at just Jackson, my reaction, or a combination of the two.  Either way, I probably would have laughed as well.  Some might think that I overreacted, and “kids will be kids” or something like that.  Yes, that is true, he’s a toddler and ‘that’s just what they do’.  However, I don’t want to raise Jackson to think that he can just come along and destroy whatever he wants, whenever he wants.  He’s too young to be taught a legitimate lesson in all of this, so for now, I redirect him (which is actually just ‘distracting’, but with a fancy, more socially acceptable name) and then I bring him back later when no other kids are building, and let him destroy to his little hearts content.

Delusions of (Motherhood) Grandeur

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Jackson turned one year old on September 27th.  It’s been a long and short year.  It was long because it seemed like those sometimes awful early months were never-ending, but short because I can’t believe he’s already a toddler.  It does seem like just a few months ago he was tiny and helpless, and now he runs around and does things for himself.  Jackson wasn’t the only one that grew in that year!  Jim and I grew as individuals, as well as parents.  I learned that as a parent, you have to just roll with the punches, expect the unexpected, and be flexible.  The being flexible part is something that I’ve struggled with a bit, and here’s why: before I was a mom, I had all these ideas and plans (sound familiar from posts past?) of what kind of mom I’d be, delusions of grandeur, if you will.  Jackson wouldn’t watch any TV, I’d make all his baby food and it would all be organic, we wouldn’t feed him processed foods (except for on occasion because, you know, I’m somewhat realistic), definitely no McDonald’s, we’d never buy him anything brand new, we’d brush his teeth every day, twice a day, I’d do all these activities with him to help make him smarter, etc. etc.  I was going to be Super Mom!  Well people, I’m going to let you in on a little secret….85% of the time, things don’t go as you planned.  Babies and toddlers don’t give a rats ass what you need or want!  Now obviously, Jackson’s wants and needs come first.  I have no problem with that whatsoever.  But let me tell ya, how I meet those wants and needs is a completely different story.

I started out an exhausted mom, as we all do.  Newborns suck.  They aren’t kidding when they call those first few months the 4th trimester!  They’re needy little buggers.  But their needs are also extremely simple.  Hold them, feed them, change them.  It’s when they start getting older that they actually get a little more tricky.  They’re awake more and are looking for more entertainment, which makes doing things for yourself a little harder.  It was around the time Jackson was 4 months old that I discovered the wonderful Baby Einstein videos.  I read that they don’t actually make your kid smarter, but I don’t even care about that.  The images and music on the screen are hypnotizing for babies!  For 20 beautiful and silent minutes, Jackson is enthralled and distracted by the puppets and music.  I can make a meal!  I can go to the bathroom!  I can clean up for the day!  I can just sit there and enjoy those 20 blissful minutes and do NOTHING!  I had found out, much to my chagrin, that Jackson was watching TV.  Yep, that went right out the damn window.  Why?  Because I now had 20 minutes to myself.  It was nothing short of amazing.  Well, I could limit this to just once a day, so as not to make myself feel like I was a horrible parent.

Then the solid foods began.  I had the Baby Bullet and “recipe” book, so I hit up Whole Foods and bought a sweet potato, carrots, apples, and bananas.  I was pumped!  Let’s do this!  It was cost effective, simple, and only took me about 3 hours to make a week or two’s worth of food.  But then he became mobile.  And I started watching children during the day.  I noticed that I’d thaw out the food, forget about it, and it would go bad.  I started buying the organic pouches (I was determined that shit would at least be organic) through Amazon Subscribe and Save (a lifesaver, and total money saver) and life became much easier and more convenient.  So I sold the Baby Bullet.

Then self-feeding began.  This was exciting for Jackson!  He never really dug being spoon fed, so this new little piece of independence was exactly what he wanted.  Of course, this meant that he no longer wanted to be spoon fed.  If he couldn’t pick it up himself, he wasn’t going to eat it.   So when he was at the appropriate age for certain foods, we introduced chicken nuggets.  They could be microwaved in a minute and a half, cut up, he could feed himself, and he loved  them.  Whoops.  Chicken nuggets are kind of processed, aren’t they?  Well shit.  I found some that aren’t as bad, and they taste pretty good, too.  Still trying to push that parent guilt away!  We fed him veggies, fruit, you know, good stuff.  But yeah, corn dogs made their way in.  And Cheerios.  The kid had a ton of teeth already!  Options were very open, especially since he grew out of his MSPI at 9 months.

Then Jim got a new job and it meant a lot of traveling on the road.  It also meant a lot of long road trips with just me and Jackson.  Oy.  Well, I’m sure you can guess what happened.  Yep, I fed him McDonald’s.  There’s one at almost any interstate exit and in every small 2 lane highway town.  And I can rip off pieces of the plain cheeseburger or nuggets and hand them back to Jackson.  Did I mention he loved cheeseburgers?  Damn you convenient and shitty foods!  Luckily, we didn’t make this a habit, and I started packing lunch and snacks for our trips.  Being prepared definitely helps.  And the fact that fast food is pure crap.

I’m sure you’re seeing the trend here; there were all these things that we were going to do, but we either don’t do them at all, or we loosened up a bit on things.  Being a parent is hard work, and some days, you don’t feel like being a parent!  Well, suck it up, buttercup.  You’re a parent 24/7.  So even though I feel plenty guilty about certain things, like putting his cranky ass to bed an hour early and saying ‘fuck it’ to brushing his teeth because I didn’t feel like fighting him for the umpteenth time (wiping their noses is a fucking NIGHTMARE!), or letting him watch *gasp* 3 different episodes of a cartoon because I just want to sit and drink my coffee in peace or play Spider Solitaire, the fact of the matter is, he’s well taken care of and healthy.  He’s happy.  I take short cuts sometimes (hell, I take short cuts a lot sometimes) and I shrug certain things off, like the peas and carrots not being organic or the fact that there is no consignment shop within 100 miles of us, so we single handedly keep Amazon and Carter’s in business.  But I stopped caring so much about some of those things.  I try harder to make sure that I play with him on the floor, take him outside when it’s nice, snuggling him more, and just letting him be a kid.  I stopped trying so hard to plan and control, to try to be Super Mom, and just relax and enjoy my little boy.  He’s only little for so long.

Mother is a 6 Letter Word

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Mother is a word, and it is a title, describing so many things.  The word mother carries a lot of weight, but it carries even more as a title.  When we think of a mother, we think of the woman who gave birth to us, raised us, loved us, was our support, our cheerleader, the person that would always be there for us.  To some, this is a person that they never knew, never had, or will never have.  To some, this person doesn’t exist.  I have a mother.  She raised me. 

But I no longer have a mother.

She didn’t die.  She is alive and well. 

But I don’t have a relationship with her.  By choice.

I have never been particularly forthcoming about my relationship – or lack thereof – with my mother.  If I know you well and we are close, then you probably know a little about why I don’t speak to her or have a relationship with her.  Very few know the whole story.  But that is because I choose not to live in the past.  I haven’t spoken to my mother in 7 years. 

I used to be angry, I was hurting for a long time.  I had many questions: Why didn’t my mom accept the person that I was?  Why didn’t my mom try to get to know the real me?  Why did my mom do this or not do that?  Why didn’t my mom love me unconditionally?

A mother’s ultimate job is to love their child unconditionally.  This means that no matter the person their child becomes, they are to love them no matter what.  A mother teaches, and does the best job she can in raising a person. 

My mom ruled with an iron fist, it was her way or the highway.  She controlled every little aspect of our lives as a family.  But I am not one to be controlled.  I fought my mom’s control from day one, and I think this is why she didn’t love me.  She could not control me and, ultimately, could not deal with this.  My mom had a complicated childhood, and she was not shy about saying so.  But she lived in the past, and played the victim.  No one’s childhood is perfect by any means, and we all have shit that we went through.  But she blamed everyone and anyone, and it was always someone else’s fault.  I grew up in a home where the floors might as well been littered with egg shells.  I could do nothing right in her eyes.  She found fault in almost everything I did, and would always accuse me of doing something TO HER.  I “pushed her buttons”, as she put it.  If I used the wrong vacuum attachment, I was pushing her bottons.  If I forgot to wipe some crumbs off the kitchen counter, I pushed her buttons.  If I looked at her wrong, I was pushing her buttons.  My mom read quite a few “self-help” books by a particular psychologist, and she took these books to a whole new level.  Suddenly, we were all screwed up in her eyes.  Our “inner children” were “wounded” and we needed to “heal”.  These words became her mantra, and it was all we could do to try to deal with it.  Suddenly, every little thing we did that was wrong in her eyes was because our inner children were trying to get attention.  Every action resulted in her overreaction, and a 3 hour lecture about how WE were messed up and needed help in healing.  The older I got, the more I fought this way of thinking.  My mom would cry, and tell me that I was hurting HER, breaking HER heart, stressing HER out, making HER angry.  She was the victim, and it was always OUR fault.  As I became a teenager, the dynamic between us became even more tumultuous.  When my little brother ran away one early Saturday morning, it was my fault.  When my mom and I fought over the fact that I wore the same pair of jeans twice in a row, she kicked me out of the house because she couldn’t “deal with me”.  This became a common occurence after we moved to Utah when I was 14.  My mom would make me leave the house.  While I was hurting that she wanted nothing to do with me, I was also glad to be away from her.  School was a reprieve, and I gladly left the house every day.  My mom constantly grounded me, keeping me under her thumb.  I had no social life outside of school, so school was it for me.  I wasn’t allowed to be involved in anything outside of school and home.  My mom screamed and yelled, she slapped me, she destroyed my things in my room, she took everything away from me, all as “punishment”.  I was rebellious, I didn’t want to be controlled, and for this, I was punished.  I wasn’t a perfect kid, there’s no such thing.  But my mom couldn’t figure out how to handle a child that refused to be controlled, and for this, she didn’t love me. 

She kicked me out for the last time when I was 17.  By the grace of some very loving people, I had a place to live. I was privileged to have some wonderful people in my life that helped me.  I had parental figures there to guide me, and give me the love that I had wanted my whole life.  They accepted me for who I was, and who I was to become.  Because of these peoples’ love, I became the person I am today.  I made plenty of mistakes along the way, but these people never stopped loving me and supporting me.  I did not call anyone “mom”, but I didn’t need to.  Even when my mom came back into my life at the age of 21, I knew that I would never get her love.  And when I finally realized this, I cut all ties and moved on with my life.  I grieved the loss. 

Now that I am a mother, I realize how hard being a mother is.  I feel no ill will towards my mother.  I look back on the good memories I have of her, and I keep those close to my heart.  I realize that nothing is all good or all bad, and that my mother had issues she never dealt with, and that she is who she is.  I have accepted that I will never have a relationship with her, and while it still saddens me from time to time, it does not anger me.  But it has made me determined to raise my son with as much love as I can give, the unconditional love that every child deserves.

10 MORE Things I’ve Learned About Motherhood So Far

Parenting is definitely a ‘learn-as-you-go’ type of job.  There’s really only so much you can prepare for, then natrual instinct and crying and rocking in a corner take over.  No one has all the answers, because every kid is different.  When someone asks for our input, all we’re drawing on is our own experience.  And with a 9 month old, while I feel like I’ve learned a lifetime of knowledge, I really haven’t learned jack shit.  Every new development brings even more learning curves.  So here is a list of 10 new things I’ve learned about motherhood thus far:

1. Kids will do things when they’re good and fuckin’ ready.  There are these nifty little things called “development charts” that get passed around to parents.  They show you what your child SHOULD be doing at certain ages.  They go month-by-month.  All these charts do is make you feel like your child is either developmentally behind or “not normal”, or make you feel like a super shitty parent.  But my friends, these charts are nothing more than a general guideline.  Some kids crawl at 5 months, some skip it altogether and go straight to walking.  Some kids talk early, some don’t talk until they’re 3 years old (ahem, Jim).  Some sleep through the night at 3 months old because, well, you’re fucking lucky because your kid likes to sleep.  Some (such as mine) are fucking hungry at 3am.  Kids will do what they want, when they want.  Babies are just a pain in the ass like that.

2. When a baby is teething, they’ll chew/bite/grind their teeth on whatever they can find.  And the drool.  The constant flow of clear liquid coming out of their mouths 24/7, soaking everything in their paths.  Please note: don’t play “Airplane” with your kid while they’re leaking drool like a sieve.

3. The television is not an awful thing that will rot a child’s brain.  Well, let me re-phrase that; television is not a horrible thing if you let your kid watch a cartoon or two a day.  It can be bad if you let them sit in front of the damn thing all day long.  But when I’ve got a load of laundry to do, a shower to take or a meal to make, it’s a glorious distraction for the kid.  I put on a 20 minute episode of Sesame Street, stick him in his jumparoo, and I’m good to do what I need for 20 wonderful (read: FREE) minutes.  I’m not ashamed of this.

4. Toys that make noise are not the bane of my existence.  If I hear his little airplane toy ask me “is everyone on board?” Or his little piano sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, I know exactly what Jackson is doing.  He’s playing with them.  But if all is silent, we’re in big trouble.  What is he getting in to?  Where did he crawl off to?  Which brings me to #5…..

5. Babies get into everything.  Jackson has knocked over the dog water bowl more times than I can count.  He has knocked over the bathroom garbage and played with balled-up tissues.  He has crawled into our bedroom and onto the dog bed, and I swear, he’s going to poop out a hairball one of these days.

6. I can divide my attention and multitask with the best of ’em.  I can pay attention to Jackson, the t.v., my homework, and anything else happening around me, simultaneously.  I can make dinner, feed Jackson, and talk on the phone, all at the same time.  Unless Jackson is screaming and crying.  Then I have a one-track mind….to make him stop.

7. Baby food is delicious.  Especially the mango puree.  Yum yum.

8. Babies start out crying quietly.  No, really….they start with quiet little cries that break your heart.  Then, as they get older, they progress to screaming.  The kind that makes you cover your head with a pillow and hum to drown it out.

9. Baby wipes can be used to clean up everything.  Literally, EVERYTHING.  Boogers, food, spit up, even the bathroom countertop.  They’re great.  Which reminds me….the Clorox disinfecting wipes are awesome at cleaning off baby toys that I bought used. 

10. Other moms are the most judgemental creatures on this earth.  I’m not sure why other moms can’t learn to accept that what works for one mom isn’t necessarily going to work for other moms.  Every kid is different, and what worked or works for one kid isn’t necessarily going to work for another.  Sure, you can try what other moms have tried, and there are things that are tried and true.  But don’t assume it will (or won’t) work.  Trial and error, my friends.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  You’re going to make plenty for the rest of your life.  Accept it. 

Birth of a Soccer Mom

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Dude.  It happened.  We somehow bought a minivan.  Well, that’s not a fair statement.  We obviously purposefully bought a minivan.  It’s not like it just materialized in our garage in the place of our beloved Prius.  Oh, the Prius.  That glorious, gas-saving, easy-on-the-wallet little computer on 4 wheels.  I really should put emphasis on the word LITTLE.  Once it was time to move Jackson from an infant carrier to a nice, big, convertible car seat (and GOOD LORD are they big and bulky!) , we very quickly and unhappily realized just how small a Prius is on the inside.  Jim and I are not small people.  He’s just a little over 6 feet tall, and I’m only an inch shy of 6 feet and all legs.  How the fuck have tall people been driving 4 door sedans with a child in a car seat, comfortably?!  Image

I mean, look at that!  The passenger side seat ended up being shoved so far forward that I couldn’t even get in the car, and there was no hope for Jim.  What were we going to do if we chose to have another kid?  Kids have to be rear-facing for 2 damn years, so just as one was turned around, the other starts the whole process over again.  Ugh.  It was time to start the search for something bigger.

We immediately started looking at SUV’s.  We knew we wanted to stick with Toyota or Honda, knowing that they got the best gas mileage and were going to run the longest.  But they’re both also really expensive!  We knew we didn’t want a car payment, so we started looking at used small SUV’s.  There was a little more room in them, but not by much.  And we weren’t going to walk away without a monthly payment.  Jim being of extremely sound and logical mind (and not being nearly as upset as I was about the possibility of losing my precious hybrid) told me to calm down, and we needed to wait a year or two, when I was finished with school and working, so then we could afford a payment and could get a newer and bigger SUV.  I was not happy about that, but I knew he was right (but I most certainly didn’t tell him that!) so I conceded.

Then, it happened…..I had this brilliant idea!  I knew plenty of people that drove minivans.  Granted, they had 3 or more kids, so a minivan was incredibly logical.  I had only known one person to have a minivan while only having one child (at the time), but she loved it.  Knowing that you can remove or stow away some or all the seats in most models, and having 2 dogs, and that their cost was relatively low, I figured….why not?  I started looking at minivans right away.  I had wanted to have an SUV with a 3rd row seat because I knew that as Jackson got older, he might have a few friends that we might drive around a time or two, and if we had another kid, that number would at least double.  Minivans are big and roomy!  But they also get shitty gas mileage.  And their resale value is shit.  Sure, the insurance would be cheaper because it’s not a rolling computer.  Sure, we wouldn’t have a car payment with the trade in.  But the gas would double (at least), and, well, IT’S A MINIVAN!  UGH!  I NEVER wanted a minivan.  Never ever.  Well, I was fixin’ to eat my words.  Nom nom nom.

So we did our research and test drove a few different makes and models.  We relied on reviews and the opinion of friends, family, the internet, and Click and Clack.  We settled on Chrysler.  We found the perfect minivan at the perfect price  The dealership was awesome and we got what we wanted.  But when it came time to trade keys, I hesitated.  Did I want really want to do this?  Images of mom jeans, Kool-Aid stains, and muddy soccer balls danced in my head.  The gut punch of paying over $50 at the pump to fill ‘er up made me ill.  My future was filled with empathetic looks from other minivan moms as they opened both those sliding doors and the lift gate, loading kids and groceries galore.  Could I do this?  But as Jim installed Jackson’s new car seat and I saw just how much space was left for the front seat, I knew there was no turning back.  Bring on the soccer balls!