The Party Hat

Every parent has found themselves in a power struggle with their kids. Sometimes it’s over when to go to bed, what to wear to school, not being able to do something before their room is clean/they brush their teeth/set the table, not being able to have a bowl of sprinkles for breakfast and a cupcake for dinner.

The parent draws the line. The kid digs their heels in. You are at a standstill. Sometimes ending in a win/win, sometimes ending with the parent at their wits end and the child in tears.

Yeah, it happens.

For me, the power struggle was with a party hat.

party hat

That’s right, a party hat. The cone shaped birthday party hat with the elastic that goes under your chin. That kind of party hat.

Having a birthday hat means we had a really fun day at a birthday party, including a lot of cake. Naps and quiet times were missed. Fuses were short. Patience was thin. Ability to tolerate anything that revolved any type of effort was at 0%.

And let’s not even talk about how the kids were doing.

Enter the party hat. Mahlie had brought a few hats home and she came up to me and asked me to put it on for her.

“Oh Sweets, you can put that hat on yourself!”

“No I caaaaan’t….It’s toooo haaaard!” This is paired with dropping down onto her knees and burying her head into the couch.

“Just let me see you try. C’mon.”

“Noooo….just do it for me!” she whines, flailing her arms and legs as she rolls about on the floor.

That is a lot of drama over a party hat. I should just put it on for her and we’ll all move on with our afternoon, right?

Except that is not what I did.

“Sweets, why don’t you try yourself first.”

Enter spawn of evil, red face, fists clenched at side, speaking in a voice I can only imagine came from the bowels of somewhere unpleasant: “I already TRIED in the OFFICE like A MILLION TIMES, you JUST DIDN”T SEE ME!!!!”, fists pounding the sides of her angry, angry body.

Okay, let’s just get that hat on her and end this angry little tirade.

Nope. Didn’t happen. Instead:

“Well, how about you try one more time with me and I will help if you can’t do it.”

Well, that about did it. She took her little hand and whacked that party hat clear across the room.

“That’s it, party hat is finished and you need to go to your room.”

And that is how my daughter ended up in time out for not being able to put on a party hat.

Worst. Mom. Ever.

Except here’s the thing. It’s not really about the party hat. It is about me knowing my child and KNOWING she can put that damn party hat on by herself.

I know, I know, I know- perhaps not the time to teach a lesson on persistence and never giving up, when one is low on reserves of energy and coping skills.

BUT….

Around 5 minutes after her time out was finished, kisses and hugs had been given and all was forgiven, Sweets is skipping around the kitchen, smiling from ear to ear.

“Hi momma!”

She keeps coming into the room, skipping around with a huge smile on her face.

Finally I notice: She’s wearing the party hat. The party hat she put on all by herself. Which is why she had the huge grin. Which made me have a huge grin.

Because really, it was about a lot more than just a party hat.

 

Have a great crazy day!

 

Where Does The Time Go?

I got Mahlie’s school picture back this week.
I looked at it, sat down, looked at it some more.

Gone were the pudgy cheeks.
Flyaway hair was replaced by hair pulled back in butterfly clips.

My little girl was…. just that. A little girl. No longer a baby or a toddler.

There are boxes of clothes to be handed down to her sister. Cute outfits, dresses and leggings barely worn, outfits she wore to Christmas and school pictures.

I reluctantly put them in a box, labeled and stored in the garage until her sister can fit into them. I am consoled with the fact that they will be worn again.

And then I look at the boxes and boxes of 12month-18month clothes. They are labeled and stored for….. who?

Every time I go into the garage, I ask the same question, “are you sure we should donate these? We don’t want to hold on to them?”

It is a different answer in my head every time. For my husband, it is unwavering. There was a time when 3 was the magic number. But time isn’t slowing down and unfortunately my birthday’s keep coming. I was no spring chicken when I had my first and second. And while Halle Barry has shown everyone you can rock being an older mom, there are definite set backs.

We now sure our magic number is 2. Most days I am fine with this decision. Other days, the finality of it strikes at my heart and I waver. And I go out to the garage and look at the boxes of clothes and ask the question again.

I think of the sleepless nights and evening tantrums. Yes, donate.
I think of the weight of a sleeping baby on my chest, the smell, oh the smell! of that small baby head. Maybe just hang on to them a bit longer.

Then the girls run out, Mahlie scoots by with her sister closely behind. They are laughing and screaming as only little girls can.

Pi comes running out, chasing them.

Things are pretty perfect. 2 is a great number. I get back to sorting and arranging the growing number of boxes with baby items in them.

The bassinet that I kept by my bed with Sarah until she was 4 months old. The dress she wore for her first day of day care. The Halloween costumes for Mahlie’s first and 2nd Halloween. The Christmas dresses. The musical crib toy. My eye tear.

“Hey Pi, come here, I have a question for you…..”

At this very moment, there is a shriek. Mahlie comes running and screaming. Sarah is running around to the back yard, Mahlie’s lovey firmly in her hands, squealing in laughter. The dog takes this moment to breach the front door and go running towards the neighbor’s yard. Pi looks at me, looks at each girl, to the dog, wondering where to go first.

“Never mind!”

I get out the tape and seal the boxes.

 

Have a great crazy day!

“A Book With No Pictures?? NO WAY!”

“NO WAY! That’s BORING!!!”

That is the response I got when I showed Mahlie the new book I got her, “The Book With No Pictures” by B.J. Novak.

She loves, loves, LOVES books. We read together EVERY and I will find her asleep next to a pile of books in her bed in the morning.

She also sees ME reading every day. Not on my iPhone, not on the computer, not on a kindle or nook, but real books, the ones you hold in your hands and turn the pages.

One evening she asked me, “Doesn’t reading books with no pictures make your brain tired?”

While reading at night does often result with me falling asleep with a book open on my lap, that is more the result of kids running me ragged all day.

So when I got out this book with no pictures, she was skeptical.

But then I started to read it, and the response from her was gut-busting laughter.

Not believing your kid will like a book with no pictures? Watch below:

B.J. Novak is brilliant. And this book is FANTASTIC. I urge anyone with younger kids to run out and get this book or order it by clicking on the picture below.

The Book with No Pictures

 

Enjoy every last one of the 1,000,000 times your kid will make you read this.

Have a great crazy weekend!

Proud Of My Baby Bump

Oh, the news was a-swirlin’ that Jennifer Garner, actress and wife to Ben Afflect, mom to 3 kids, was pregnant again because of her very apparent “baby bump”.

On the Ellen show, she did, indeed, confirm that she has a baby bump. The audience cheered, but then she clarified that her baby bump was not because she was pregnant but because she has had 3 children and that “baby bump” was here to stay.

Best answer ever.

I get asked, almost 2 years after my youngest was born, if I am pregnant more often than I would like. It makes me look down at my belly and think “do I really look pregnant? Does my belly look that bad?”

And the answer is no. The answer is that people are rude to EV-AH comment on anyone’s body shape unless they are giving them a high-5 and the compliment “you look great, girl!”

I need to employ Ms. Garner’s answer as my own and PROUDLY answer, “why yes, it is a baby bump and my babies are 5 and almost 2!” We need more women to confidently and proudly state that their post baby bodies are beautiful. We need less people to ask stupid questions to women that don’t have “flat stomachs” as if the only explanation to that “bump” is that they are pregnant.

In a society that draws way too much attention to a woman’s physique and sets up unrealistic expectations for how one should “look”, I want to change that outlook for my daughters.

The other day my oldest was in my room as I was changing and looked at my belly, laughed, and said, “you have a fat belly, mommy!”

My first instinct was to say, “that’s not a nice thing to say”, I instead had her come closer.

“Put your hand on my belly”

She puts her hand on my belly and giggles.

“It’s feels pretty comfy, right? That belly was your home, and your sisters home, for a long time. And to be your home it had to grow to give you enough room. And when you were born my belly got smaller since you didn’t live there anymore. But it will always be a bit bigger and look like it was a baby’s home. And I love that.”

Having had struggles with eating disorders in my teens and early adolescence, this was a pretty big deal for me. In years past, the comment that my belly looked fat would send me into a spiral of bingeing and purging. Now, I have accepted myself. I have a healthy relationship with food, a much better body image, which I hope to pass on to my girls. I know all too well the challenges my girls face with self-esteem, body image, and trying to live up to society’s unrealistic expectations of what they should look like.

I plan on giving them the best start I can, and that comes with letting them know I find MYSELF beautiful, baby bump and all.

Have a great crazy day!

Fearless

Nothing will get a momma going more than when her child’s safety is at risk. We have been trained to think “safety first!” since they popped out of our bodies.

We’ve been told to watch the soft spot and hold their head. Could there be anything more frightening than thinking of what could happened if you don’t watch that soft spot and aren’t careful of their head when you hold them? The thoughts are terrifying!

And then they start moving and even though they are more in control of their head, they are now in danger of bonking it on just about every hard surface and sharp corner you haven’t baby proofed.

With Mahlie that was the fireplace. It met her head and then she met with ER doctors. She’s got a scar she is pretty proud of. Other than that, she’s been pretty bump and bruise free. Oh wait, I take that back. She fell smack dab into the wrought iron fence around a kids playground, which resulted in 2 huge knots on her forehead. That was on my husband’s watch though, so I’m not counting it.

But Sarah? That girl, she is fearless and her forehead is taking the brunt of it.

Since the beginning she was trouble. At a well visit I was told by her doctor that I might want to get her head checked because she thought her soft spot was closing too soon. Then she handed me a script that said SKULL X-RAY STAT!

That led to some anxiety, but all was fine in the end. Except her noggin was a bit flat in the back. You know, she was the second child and I’d put her down and kind of forget about her. So we were counseled to take her to see about a helmet to make sure her head formed correctly, but in the end decided to wait a bit longer and then things turned out pretty fine. I mean, it still isn’t perfectly rounded, but her hair covers it up.

In hindsight, we should have taken the helmet. Not for her head formation, but for protection. That girl is FEARLESS. She runs with abandon, not looking where she is going. She follows her sister in climbing and jumping, without  consideration to her abilities and the possible consequences.

The girls forehead has met with more walls, door frames, table corners and cement floors than one would consider possible. I don’t think she’s ever transitioned anywhere without falling into something. It’s nothing to do with balance or physical ability- it is her complete disregard for her surroundings. She’s too busy having fun at life to pay attention to the things in her way.

While it is anxiety producing for me, she is having a blast. Like this past weekend- she was introduced to a trampoline for the first time. When Mahlie first went on a trampoline I had to be with her and she didn’t like it when other people were jumping and she’s cry and want to get off. She likes to know how to do everything correctly right off the bat, which makes learning new things a challenge at times. But once she gets it, there is no holding her back.

But Sarah,  Sarah is FEARLESS. She was jumping, falling, bouncing right from the get go…and didn’t want me there with her.

While Mahlie is our cautious one, our rule follower, Sarah is likely to “throw caution to the wind”.  I watched her with a sense of pride, and a sense of dread, thinking of what the future holds for us. What I do know is that just like jumping on the trampoline, we’re in for a lot of ups and downs, falls and triumphs, while having fun along the way.

But I might buy a couple helmets just to be safe.

How To Drive Someone Crazy

I am a pretty laid-back, easy going person. I let things roll off my back, turn the other cheek, always have a smile on my face…I’m pretty even keel.

But right now? Right now I am about to lose my shit because beep.

By “beep” I mean a constant “beep…..beep…..beep….beep….beep” of an alarmed door that clearly has it in for me.

I’ve posted on Facebook how the alarmed door near my office was on the fritz last week and the intermittent “beep” was about to send me off the deep end.

It’s still going. Doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

How do I feel? You know that guy from “The Shining”?

I feel sorta like that.

You know what I feel like doing to this wacked out door?

Ever watched Office Space? Where they take the copier out to a field and give it what for?

Or that time in Modern Family when they can’t find where the beep is coming from?

Ty Burrell made it funny. This is not so funny. Even less funny is the fact that yesterday that scene actually played itself out at my house. A smoke detector had a low battery but instead of fixing it, my husband put it in the garage so he couldn’t hear it.

WTF??

Then he was out running errands and I was tearing my hair out trying to find the damn beep. I just can’t get away from it. All beeps and no silence makes Christie a cranky momma.

Please someone, send help. With a crowbar and a baseball bat.

Have a great crazy day!

 

Adventures with Mom and the Harley Riders

Originally posted on My Special Kind of Crazy:

My mom and I are close. We are go out to lunch and gossip close, call each other 5 times a day close, finish each others sentences close. We are take-vacations-together close.

We are drive-cross-country-and-back-yes-that-is-7,800 miles- close.

I kid you not. One of my favorite vacations EV.AH was when I drove cross-country with my mom. I had just bought a new car- like BRAND SPANKING new, not already has 45,000 miles on it new. And one evening, late, after Christmas Eve dinner and possibly a couple bottles glasses of wine, I told mom we should TOTALLY drive cross-country together.

She was totally on board.

We spent the next several months planning our Northern-route there and Southern-route back. We would be stopping in Manhattan Beach, CA visiting my brother and his wife. My dad would fly out and meet us there. This was like a family bonanza vacation.

Doing a little bit of…

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