When I became pregnant with our 5th child, I was told many many times, “Oh this one will have no choice but to go with the flow!”
And they were right. My 2 1/2 year old son Cash has an incredibly pleasant disposition. The kid barely ever cries and will exuberantly say hello to you a hundred times – especially if you are doing something super important like working on your computer to make a deadline and would prefer if a toddler didn’t help you with your powerpoint presentation.
But here’s what my son can’t seem to remember. I am old and I am tired.
But he is not.
Today I’m sharing a small list of things my son has done over the past couple weeks. Keep in mind, because of Cash’s determined effort to run free and hitchhike across America, our house is a fortress and we keep very close tabs on him. Like if we owed a parrot, the only thing it would know how to say is, “Where’s Cash? Oh there he is. Where’s Cash? Oh there he is.”
But despite our efforts, he still seems to squeeze in some very destructive activities or as he calls them, hobbies. Often when we are cleaning up one mess, he takes the opportunity to create a new one in another location. The kid really know how to maximize his time.
Things my 2 1/2 year old had done over the past couple weeks:
Cleaned our toilet with our kitchen cleaning brushes. Yeah, the ones we use to clean the dishes we put food on.
Threw his shoes (and socks) out the car window which I did not realize until we arrived home. I said to him, “Where are your shoes?” And he said, “window.” So I give him credit for fessing up. I retraced our route and found them because Paw Patrol sneakers aren’t going missing on my watch.
He threw a bunch of throw pillows into a bathtub filled with water.
Somehow opened a bag of grout he found and scattered it throughout the first floor of our house.
Dragged a heavy box over to the alarm system so he could reach the buttons. Pressed as many buttons as he could until the security person came over the intercom and asked if everything was okay at the home. Cash is thrilled at this new discovery that a voice came out of that box. He is planning future conversations!
Poured a half a gallon of milk onto the table. I mean, he initially started pouring it into a glass but then just kept going. It’s not his fault glasses are too small to hold a whole carton of milk.
Washed his hair at the bubble station at the Discovery and Science museum.
Squeezed out an entire bottle of shampoo and then when he heard me on the stairs, pulled out his sister’s Shopkins and played happily like nothing was up at all.
At the grocery store, he dug his fingers into raw pork chop before I could stop him. Raw pork. The kid is apparently not afraid of parasites.
Pumped out body lotion onto our bedspread and rug. Lavender scent if you’re wondering.
He requires us to wrap tape around the clip of his seat at dinner because he can open every clip out there. I tried just fastening the clip backwards and he looked at me like, “Woman, do you really think I’m that dumb?” I can say with confidence he’s not.
And finally, he just threw our landline phone into the tub. Which as you would expect, does not help a phone work better. But the upside, he didn’t electrocute the twins who were in the bath at the time.
So what can you do for me?
- Send me a bottle of wine (obviously I need it)
- Or share your own crazy kid story so I know I’m not the only one out there.
- Or reassure me that this is all a sign that Cash is going to be a future President some day.
- Maybe all of the above.
It’s a school day. Your kid wakes up and doesn’t feel well. But how can this be? You have things to do. You have appointments. They have school work. And important testing or maybe not important testing but they are testing something. You’re sure of it because you attended 6 minutes of the PTA meeting. So they must go to school. So you turn to your child and say….
Oh I’m sure you’re fine. You’re just sleepy. Shake it off.
Okay, what hurts exactly? Let’s sprinkle some magical fairy health dust on it.
What? You no longer believe in magical fairy health dust? I know for a fact they make it over there at the Department of Health and Human Services and that the Surgeon General himself whipped up this particular batch.
You do seem a little droopy. Let me take your temperature. Where is the thermometer?
Found it under the US Weekly from June 2014!
Okay it says your temperature is 67 degrees. That doesn’t seem right. Is this in Celsius? How old is this thermometer anyway?
I don’t need a stupid thermometer. I gave birth to you so I can tell your temperature by feeling your head. Feels like 98.6!
Look your clothes for school are right here. Let’s see how you feel once you put them on. The feel of cotton can do wonders.
Let’s get some breakfast into you. Nothing perks you up like a bowl of cereal with no milk. Why won’t you put milk in your cereal? It’s so much better that way. Okay, eat your dry cereal.
Honey, pick your head up off the table.
You’re going to miss your playdate if you stay home!
Being healthy is just about having the right attitude.
This is the first day of the rest of your life!
Wow, that’s a lot of snot.
Here’s a packet of tissues.
Hustle hustle hustle! You don’t want to miss the bus.
Why are you lying on the couch?
Let me get these shoes on for you.
Wait, are you snoring?
I’m starting to think you’re actually sick.
Are you trying to tell me something?
Fine, I guess you’re staying home.
My husband has been many places.. including Europe, the Middle East and Cuba.
You know where he hasn’t been? Colonial Williamsburg.
You know why? Because his parents knew how to shut down kids who weren’t behaving.
As the story goes – when my husband was about 10 years old, he and his siblings were supposed to take a family trip to Williamsburg, VA. But due to poor behavior (and I’m sure after many threats), the trip was canceled.
Yup. Done. You’re not going. Go unpack. It ain’t happening. For realz.
When I heard this story, I thought to myself – damn, those parents are my heroes. I admire what they did because most of us are more champions of the empty threat than letting kids suffer the consequences of their behavior.
When it comes to children, it’s often so much easier to say yes, than no.
I recently went to a museum with my children. One of my tween daughters was being super cranky. One of my 5 year olds was throwing fits. I think the others were reasonably well behaved but it was hard to know since I was drowning in the other two’s dismal behavior.
I threatened that attitudes needed to improve or there would be no TV that night. There are only three things that my kids truly care about… iPhones, TV and dessert. Who knows why TV popped out of my mouth but it did.
The behavior did not improve. So no TV for the two offenders.
Later on, they asked, “Can we earn our TV back?”
I agreed they could. My 5 year old set and cleared the table and wiped down the counters.
My tween helped me put away a lot of laundry.
Each of them got to watch a TV show that night. Was I too soft on them? I don’t think so.
They made some mistakes during the day but they were able to turn things around. And in the end, isn’t that what we want to teach our kids? It’s okay to fail. But then you get up and try again. You strive to make amends. To do better.
But sometimes there is no earning back. There is no compromise. The answer is just no.
And then as a parent, you brace yourself for the backlash.
It could be no to the bright orange puffy snacks at the grocery store which results in a tantruming child. It could be no to a social media app which means an onslaught of anger from your tween or teen. But you hold your ground.
Because kids are an unending fountain of wants. So saying yes (when you really want to say no) does not shield you from the next child request. Better to stick with your gut, ride out the emotional storm and then move on.
I remember as a kid, I wanted a monkey. To me, it seemed like a perfectly reasonable request and I could not understand why no one was getting me one. I must have asked my parents a million times and unbelievably, they did not buy me a monkey. WHY WAS NO ONE BUYING ME A MONKEY?!!
As a teenager, I had given up the monkey dream and knew I could only be happy if I had a Suzuki Samurai. They weren’t very expensive (for a car) and I was more than happy to get one secondhand. But despite my desperate pleadings, I was told no. Not safe. A tin box. Buy one yourself when you’re an adult.
I. WAS. MAD.
So of course, as soon as I graduated college, I showed my parents! I bought a Suzuki Samurai and rode around with the wind in my hair and my orangutan Clyde in the passenger seat.
Okay, I didn’t. Because who the hell wants to take care of a god damn monkey?! I did eventually buy a Jeep Wrangler but I would never have let monkey butt touch that smooth leather interior.
My point (which is surprisingly not about monkeys) is – despite the fact that kids like to torture their parents with constant begging – no is just sometimes the very best answer you can give.
We recently got a bunch of boxes delivered to our front door. I immediately took action by ignoring them and leaving them outside. But my husband Rick was concerned someone might steal them.
Given that I have left our minivan unlocked in front of our house for 2 1/2 years and no one has had the decency to steal it, I wasn’t worried at all.
But Rick was concerned for good reason. His news station, CBS Miami, has been reporting on thieves who like to “go shopping” on people’s porches. Especially now that Valentine’s day is approaching.
How dumb are these criminals targeting Valentine’s Day packages? Are they really hoping to clean up with a his and hers pajama set and scented candles? And these Miami criminals ended up stealing some poor kid’s medicine which is way worse than stealing someone’s bacon scented massage oil (yup, real thing).
Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking about what I want for Valentine’s Day and I came up with the following ideas:
- Minivan detailed
- Doorknob replaced on front door.
- Leaves swept out of garage
- Photos organized
- 3 baby albums made for children who are no longer babies.
You know I may be confusing Valentine’s Day with a To Do list.
In case you think the magic of Valentine’s Day is gone, let me reassure you it is still alive. At Old Navy.
I stopped into the store so that I could exchange something and so my 2 year old son could push down a few mannequins and climb on their fake dog.
Look if you put a mannequin dog in your store, expect people to climb on it.
(Can anyone see the word “mannequin” and not think of Andrew McCarthy? Me neither.)
Anyway, while we were there, I started talking to a sales associate named Kimberly.
Turns out Kimberly fell in love with this boy Tommy when she was just 14 years old. It was her first love. He ended up moving away and they eventually lost touch. Kimberly got married, had a child, got divorced.
She says, she never forgot Tommy and thought about him every single day. So she recently tracked him down. Like old school tracking – she did things like leave a note at his brother’s house since the brother still lived in the area.
And when she finally got to see Tommy again, it was like nothing had changed between them. Although she said he had lost some hair and put on a bit of weight, the spark was very much still there.
They have now been together for 6 months and she wears an ID bracelet that says “Tommy 1977.” It’s the year they met and first fell in love.
Because sometimes life is just that sweet.
You know what I love about the internet?
I mean, in addition to porn.
Finding creative ideas.
Last week, I was in charge of decorating one of my kid’s doors for teacher appreciation week. I don’t know how teacher appreciation week works at your school but at ours, we bring something in every day.
Like first it’s flowers, then it’s fruit, then it’s $5 gift cards, then it’s BMW’s. I don’t know. Whatever they tell me to bring, I send it in.
Because these amazing teachers spend 6 1/2 hours a day with 20 children. I’d never last. By 8:47 AM, I’d tell the students that school was canceled due to my mental exhaustion at listening to them all talk at the same time and that they had to go home.
Given how hard these teachers work, I wanted my kindergarten door to look amazing but I had no creative ideas. So I just went on Pinterest and within in 2 minutes, I had a bunch of possibilities. And this is what I did. (Teacher’s name edited out.)
Before you start telling me that I minion’ed the hell out of that door (which clearly I did), I’ll share the sad news that I did not win the door decorating contest. Some other door was the big winner and their class got an ice cream party.
Strange how the parents put in their blood, sweat and construction paper tears and it’s the kids who are the ones eating the ice cream, right? The prize should go to the parent and be a 50 minute massage with Rex, the hot cabana boy.
Anyway, a few days later, I was staring down the 100th day of school. My kindergarteners needed to come to school with 100 things attached to their shirts and no, it couldn’t be stains.
Again Pinterest! And here I am, armed with a glue gun, attaching Skittles to t-shirts…
After 17 hours (okay, maybe a little less), they were done!
Cute right? Although I’m not sure Harlowe’s shirt looks like necklaces (as intended) but my tween daughters really handled the design of that one so take it up with them.
The best part of these shirts is that Skittles with glue residue makes a great school snack.
My next project is a homemade absolutely nothing. It’s time to put the glue gun down.