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Life with a “Threenager”

I read an article the other day called “10 Signs You are Living with a Threenager.” If you aren’t familiar with the term “threenager,” just picture an irrational, raging, unreasonable, infuriating teenager inside of a tiny three year old body. Yup. Writer Kristen Hewitt hit the nail right on the head with this one. And after reading her article, I am most definite that we are embarking on the threenage years. God help me.

When my son was about 18 months old, I feared the approaching, so-called terrible twos. He was always such a sweet baby, but he was showing signs of stubbornness and persistence even then. I thought for sure we were totally screwed. But to my surprise, my sweet baby turned two last February and became this awesome, hilarious toddler that had so many funny things to say, and for the most part, was pretty easy to handle. He was still young enough in which he loved me more than life itself but old enough for me to be able to take him to do some really cool stuff – we spent our summer together playing outside, swimming, riding bikes; we even took him to play mini golf for the first time. It was a pretty awesome time. And it was somewhere during these enjoyable months that I became bat shit crazy and had the bright idea that because my son was so cool, we should definitely have another child. (Slow head shake).

Fast forward several months later. Mommy is currently six months pregnant and Grey is about three weeks shy of three years old. And it’s happening. My lovable, happy-go-lucky boy has slowly turned into an independent, bossy, know-it-all, relentless threeanger.

Here’s the moment I realized that age three was most definitely going to be more challenging than age two. He woke up from his nap, like any other day, asking for juice. Fine. Totally normal, besides his slightly demanding tone. I poured the kid a cup of OJ and handed it to him, which was followed by full on, toddler-crazed tantruming, ear-splitting screaming, and some pretty impressive flailing around. I’m pretty sure my jaw hit the floor as I watched what was happening before my eyes. After several minutes of deciphering the high-pitched shrieks, I realized that apparently, I had chosen the wrong cup. That’s right – all this insanity over the wrong fucking cup. Let the games begin.

What’s amazing is that these episodes are often mere minutes of possessed preschooler behavior before he quickly returns to his typical, easy going self – which is sometimes even more terrifying than the actual tantrums.

And tonight was no exception. My happily playing three year old turned into a total banshee at the mere mention of bath time. I’m so mind blown by the castastrophe that occurred that I won’t even go into the details, but picture my three year old attempting to trash the shit out of my bathroom while I stripped him and quickly tossed him into the shower just long enough to soap him up and drag him out. The neighbors probably thought I was attempting to torture someone in my tiny bathroom. Seriously, I was just trying to wash the Play Doh out of his hair, god forbid. Somewhere during this outrageous episode, I told him he wasn’t allowed to watch a TV show before bedtime due to his insane behavior, which just further infuriated his tiny threenage soul. After saying that, I had to chuckle to myself. I had just grounded my kid for the first time and he’s literally three years old. I’m so screwed.

After several similar incidents over the past few weeks, I came across Kristen’s article and it hit me. This is it. Buckle up everyone. Not only are we entering the threeange years, but in just four short months, there will be a newborn in this house as well. Say a prayer for me.

My Brief Blogging Break

So over the past two months, you may have noticed that I’ve been a little MIA from the blogosphere. I’m sure many of you were really concerned that I finally fell over the edge of the mommy mountain and decided to give up blogging AND parenting all together due to the out of control chaos involved in raising children. Or maybe you just assumed I’d finally checked myself into rehab due to the over-excessive, toddler-induced wine drinking that takes place around here on a regular basis. Don’t get your granny panties in a bunch. I appreciate your deep concern, but no need to worry. I haven’t thrown my child to the wolves. I’m not stuck in a permanent pinot grigio hangover. I’ve just been pretty damn busy, and I’m sure you can all relate in some way or another. So let me catch you up to date.

I know I’ve bored you to death with the topic of kids and careers in the past. I’ll try not to get to long and drawn out about it again at the moment. But, let me just say, kids + careers = chaos. I’m going to try to make this long story short. I’m a certified teacher by trade and I worked in the field of early childhood education prior to having my son. After he was born, I made the decision to stay at home for a year and then attempt to transition into a position in the school districts. In case you aren’t from New York State, I will fill you in on a little secret. Getting a teaching job in this area has pretty much the same odds as winning the lottery, getting struck by lightning, or getting pregnant with quintuplets naturally. It’s damn near impossible. So in September, I started working as a substitute teacher and then eventually took a full time teacher aide position in hopes to get my foot in the door.

Well, I got my foot in the door all right and then had the door slammed several times (leaving me with a figurative sore foot and a disheartened outlook). In the past two months, I’ve gone on six job interviews for various positions and haven’t yet secured a full time teaching position for September. As of right now, I’ll be returning as an aide in the fall. Which is totally fine, of course, but I was hoping for my own classroom.

Now besides the fact that I clearly believe that I am the most amazing, dedicated teacher on the planet, I also believe I deserve a position solely based on the amount of work that goes into trying to search for a job while raising a child (and working full-time). Just attempting to use my laptop to complete job applications with a child in the house is challenge. If you are a parent, you get what I’m saying here. My toddler actually believes that every electronic device in this house belongs to him and serves no other purpose than the play Thomas the Tank Engine videos on YouTube. So trying to convince him to give me a few minutes to write a cover letter hasn’t gone over very well. To be honest, I have no fucking idea what I’ve even applied for because I’m trying to move so quickly while working on the computer, attempting to finish an application before a computer coup d’é·tat organized by the toddler occurs.

Then, of course, there is the actual interview. Printing resumes, creating folders, coordinating a babysitter. It’s exhausting to think about. And trying to get out of the house on time in a freshly pressed suit without being attacked by greasy fingers and dog hair is pretty much like a mission straight out of the motherhood matrix.

Considering the amount of effort it takes to get an interview scheduled and actually get there in a presentable manner, I should be handed a position just based on the fact that I showed up.

Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. And with all of the effort I’ve been putting into finding a teaching job, I was forced to take a little time away from my website. But here I am, back at it. I’ve decided not to let the job search get me down and to continue to work on the things I enjoy – like blogging and drinking wine. Oh, and parenting, of course.

So stay tuned. Lots of tales about the tireless toddler are on their way.

The Real Meaning of “Getting Mugged”

The first thing I can hear as I awake from a drowsy state is the steam spiraling out from the top of the machine. Oh, and my toddler screaming for me over the crackling of the baby monitor, of course. The water seeps through the grinds and I can hear the sweet sizzle of my first cup slowly dripping into the pot. The thick aroma of the caffeine spreads throughout the house as my husband and I begin our morning routine of madness.

Amidst packing lunches, popping Eggo’s, and picking outfits, we sneak a quick moment to take a sip from our favorite mugs. Coffee – every exhausted parent’s small savior.

I carefully prepare our travel mugs, filling each with the perfect proportion of cream and sugar, so that my husband and I can enjoy a second dose of the delightful drug during our separate commutes to work.

I make sure to pour my husband’s cup a little higher; a thank you gift for driving the toddler to daycare every morning. With that, our day begins.

I climb into my car and take a deep breath, enjoying the peacefulness of solitude. I turn on my iPod and revel in the fact that I can listen to something other than “The Wheels on the Bus” on repeat. I slowly pull out of the driveway, mentally checking off a list, ensuring that I’ve locked up, fed the dog, set the alarm, and so on. I am waiting at the end of my street for the traffic to clear when a shiny, metallic object on the side of the road catches my attention.

I recognize it in an instant. The silver of the mug. The St. John Fisher College logo. It’s my husband’s travel mug, laying right there in the gutter, pouring his precious caffeine into the street.

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Here’s how it happened:

While attempting to strap the toddler into the twisted belts of the car seat, he carelessly set his coffee mug on the bumper of his truck to free up a second hand. Having successfully prevailed in the car seat-buckle-battle, he swiftly (and proudly) jumped into the driver’s seat, trying to make up for lost time.

As he pulled onto the highway, he reached for his mug, looking for a sip of that strong serum that was sure to soothe him after a fast-paced start to the day. It is at this very moment that he realized his error. It’s a devastating blow to any overtired parent. A coffee mug casualty, right there in the road.

It’s certainly a depressing way to kick off your commute. Maybe you’ve even witnessed a similar tragic event: A mother’s travel mug flies off the rooftop of a minivan packed full of kids on the way to school. A cup of Starbucks sits sadly on the bumper of a sedan (with three cars seats lined up side-by-side in the back) before slowly sliding to the pavement as the father in the driver’s seat steps on the gas. Here’s my advice: Don’t let it happen to you. Find a cozy cup holder for your coffee and avoid the dreadful consequences of getting “mugged.”

 

5 Things that I Wish I Had Known Before Becoming a Parent

A few weeks ago, a friend suggested that I write a post sharing “what I wish I had known” before becoming a parent for all those people who read my blog that might not yet have children. It sounded like an awesome idea, but I have to admit that I struggled with it. In a nut shell, here’s what I wish I had known: EVERYTHING. Parenting is a seriously overwhelming undertaking and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what information would have helped. However, there are a few things that I wish I had better understood and here’s my attempt at trying to share that with you.

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1.) Parenting is Mentally Exhausting: It’s common knowledge that parenting is physically exhausting. I won’t even bother boring you with the lengthy details. Waking up with a newborn is the most tiring task you will ever endure. If you are as lucky as I am, then the exhaustion will continue right on into toddlerhood. I’ve had a few parents that tell me that their toddler sleeps until 10, and honestly, I want to punch them in the face. Unfortunately, my kid is an early riser. 6:00am is now considered sleeping late in our household. But just like everything else that comes along with parenting, you get used to the exhaustion. Your body adjusts. Being tired is just the norm.

But what I was really unprepared for is the mental exhaustion. Having a newborn requires being on high alert at all times. You are constantly checking on your child. You analyze every facial expression, every odd movement, even the color of their poop. When you finally get them to sleep, you’ll spend your time glued to the monitor, making sure you can hear them breathe. I thought this mental exhaustion would pass, but then my child became capable of moving and I was constantly chasing him and childproofing things and making sure he didn’t fall down the stairs or smash into the coffee table. Once he became more stable, I again thought this stage would pass, but then he learned to talk and he wants to converse with me about everything under the sun and ask me 4000 questions for the entirety of the day. Here I am, at this very moment, thinking AGAIN that the mental exhaustion will pass, but then I know at some point soon he’ll be in elementary school and I’ll spend my mental capacity organizing his sports schedule and forcing him to complete his homework every night. It’s probably safe to say that I will be mentally exhausted for a very long time. At least until he’s married, I’m sure.

2.) You Will Have No Idea What to Expect:  There’s really no efficient way to prepare for parenthood. And no, having a puppy is not at all like having a child. As a dog lover and owner, there’s a chance I uttered that phrase before I became a parent. It is true; a puppy may require you to get up now and again at night to let it outside to pee. However, a puppy won’t latch itself to your breast and suck the life out of you for 45 minutes at least three times a night. Additionally, you can’t just open the back door and let your newborn out into the yard to take a shit and then conveniently lock him in a crate while you head out to run a few quick errands.

You can enroll for all kinds of classes about how to care for a newborn, but that doesn’t entirely guarantee that you won’t put the diaper on backwards during the first mid-night change in the hospital. You can read 14 different breastfeeding books, but that doesn’t ensure that you will be able to breastfeed successfully for the minimum of 12 months, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. And you know what? That’s totally fine. Parenting is a learn-as-you-go kind of undertaking. And as unprepared as you feel, don’t worry. You’ll figure it out.

Similarly, I can’t say that having one child has prepared me in how the hell to handle having another one. I’m guessing that the transition from one child to two will be just as insane (if not more so) as welcoming the first child into our family. But like I said, I’m sure I have no fucking clue as to what it will really be like until we get there.

Come to think of it, it’s probably a good thing that we go into parenthood without really understanding what is about to go down. Otherwise, we might just be smart enough not to have children at all.

3.) Parenting Doesn’t Change You: When you hit a milestone birthday, like 21, 30, or 40, people always ask things like, “So how does it feel?” or “Do you feel older?” And the answer is this: “No, dumbass. I feel the exact same way that I felt yesterday.”

Similarly, I think a lot of people assume that becoming a parent will change you. Let me fill you in here. Just because you carried a baby around in your belly for 40 weeks doesn’t mean that in the exact moment your child enters the world, you become a more responsible, more knowledgeable, more capable person prepared for raising a baby. Surprisingly, you are the same clueless, naïve, inexperienced person you were the day prior to giving birth and it will take many months (or years) for you to actually feel like a parent. On the day we brought my son home from the hospital, my husband and I sat in the kitchen eating lunch like normal. Then, we laughed and laughed at the hilarious, weird fact that there was a newborn sleeping in the next room. And not just any newborn, OUR newborn.

In addition, just because you enter the world of parenting doesn’t mean that you ultimately want to give up your pre-baby hobbies, like drinking wine or getting your nails done (though you may do these things much less frequently). Depending on your personal interests, becoming a parent doesn’t mean that you can’t still be a marathon runner, or a career driven woman, or someone who enjoys some alone time now again. You don’t have to replace your monthly book club meetings with mommy and me classes or your weekly date night with your husband for catching up on laundry and a good night’s sleep. You will still be the same person with the same hobbies and interests as you had before you had a child. It’s totally acceptable to still make time for those things (and very healthy, too) and you don’t have to feel guilty about that.

4.) It Doesn’t Get Easier: Every time I see a new mother struggling, I immediately feel the natural need to try to comfort her by assuring her that in time, it will get easier. However, I have to stop myself. The truth of the matter is this: it doesn’t actually get easier, ladies. But don’t get discouraged. Let me explain.

Every stage has its challenges and its perks. Having a newborn is a total pain in the ass because you’re up all night and the breastfeeding can be really tough. Then again, newborns are pretty portable since they will pretty much sleep wherever for long stretches of time. Now that my son is two, it’s so much easier because he’s a little bit more self-sufficient, but at the same time he is sassy and stubborn and energetic almost to a fault. I’m sure that when he’s a teenager, it will be so nice to have finally passed the needy newborn thing, but I bet waiting up all night praying to God that he’ll make his curfew without crashing his car will be super stressful. So here’s the deal. It doesn’t get easier, but you get better at it. You get better at managing the chaos and anticipating the challenges. You get better at staying organized and being prepared. You learn to stay patient and to handle your anxiety. Parenting is a lifelong process and it will always be challenging, but just like all the other parents in the world, we will be just fine. With that, I’m going to go refill my wine glass before I continue on here.

5.) It Doesn’t Always Come Naturally to Mothers: Many people assume that women are born with a natural maternal instinct that immediately kicks in as soon as they become pregnant. One person actually told me that women become mothers when they get pregnant and men become fathers when they meet their baby. Here’s a more realistic version of that statement: A woman becomes a mother when the baby is born because she doesn’t have a choice and she is the only person who can provide breast milk at 2:00am. A man becomes a father when his wife finally threatens to divorce him unless he starts helping with the baby.

Additionally, they say that women begin nesting even before the baby is born because of this natural motherly instinct. The truth is that not all pregnant women want to take on the task of researching and registering for 4000 baby items and washing bins of baby clothes, but that shit has to get done before the baby is born and someone has to do it. It doesn’t automatically mean that she is more prepared or more “ready” than her husband.

On the same topic, I’ve heard a lot of people talking about the instant motherly bond during that skin to skin contact right after the birth of a baby. I only know my own experience and I’m hoping you won’t judge me for this, but I’m not exactly sure I felt that “instant” connection. Here are the honest thoughts that went through my head immediately after giving birth and they occurred in this exact order: “I’m so thankful my son is here and healthy. It feels SO amazing to have that weight of a massive baby out of my body. I AM VERY HUNGRY.” I didn’t cry tears of joy or feel like I had become a mother instantaneously. And you know what? I think that’s perfectly fine. Maybe it took me a few weeks (or months….) to settle in to my new role, but I don’t feel guilty about that. I think it’s normal and honest to need some time to adjust. In my experience, it turns out that parenting was not a “just add water” kind of concoction and that’s totally acceptable.

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All in all, there’s nothing that I (or anyone else) can say that will prepare you for parenthood. Plus, everyone’s experience is totally different. I’m kind of an anxious, frazzled hot mess in general so taking on motherhood has been an adjustment for me. But trust me ladies, if I can do it, you can do it. And in the mean time, after our babies are born, we can drink as much wine as we need. Thank God for that, right?

My Toddler’s Construction-Themed Birthday Party

For some mothers, throwing a birthday party for a child is like an annual excuse to pretend that she is an event planner, a graphic designer, and a crafting queen. She spends hours on Pinterest months before the occasion, carefully choosing a theme and planning the beginnings of the party. She’ll pin thousands of pictures of gorgeous cakes and hand-made décor that she can’t possibly recreate herself, although she sure as hell is willing to try. She’ll order customized invitations and maybe even attempt to print perfect little address labels and stick them with birthday themed stamps. She’ll insist on doing it all herself, in an attempt to avoid spending an absurd amount of money at Party City on cheesy birthday signs and tacky games for the kids to play. When it’s all said and done, she’ll take 400 photos of her work and over-share on every social media outlet available. It’s annoying, but you can’t help but think she did a damn good job and consider attempting to create something comparable for your own child next year.

And this year, my friends, that crazy mommy was me. So here they are – all 400 photos of the construction themed party we threw this weekend for my son’s second birthday. I hope you enjoy them and I apologize in advance for sharing them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and any other social media site I come across in the next few weeks.

I did find a ton of ideas on Pinterest and used a lot of free printables as well. I’ll post links to the sites where I found this stuff in case you want to use it, too! Enjoy!

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I found an awesome blog, called How to Nest for Less, that had links to free printables for invitations and decor. This was the image for the invitation provided on the blog’s website. I used Pic Monkey to add the text on the invitation. You can find all of original printables here. Definitely check out this blog – it had some amazing stuff!

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We found cheap hats at Party City and labeled them with the kids’ names who were coming to the party in lieu of favor bags.

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We bought Caution tape at Lowe’s and used that and streamers to decorate the dining room. I used free printables from Birthday Express to make the signs hanging from the chandelier. We printed them on glossy paper and matted them on black card stock.

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 I used the free printables from the blog I found to make the birthday sign hanging here. Then, we picked up two cones for about $10 a piece and attached a few balloons.

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I used a black plastic table cloth and duct tape to make roads for the kids to drive trucks on. Looking back, I wish I had used a piece of black cloth so that I could have saved it! They had a blast with this.

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I grabbed a big plastic bin from my basement and fill it with a $4 bag of gravel from Lowe’s and a few trucks and shovels that we had around the house for the kids to play in. This was the biggest hit! I also borrowed orange cones from my mother and cut a few yellow plates for a ring toss game.

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I made chocolate cupcakes with orange frosting and used some chocolate sprinkles to look like dirt. Then, I made cupcake toppers from the free printables (linked above).

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I found a cheap four-pack of dump truck candles at Hobby Lobby.

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We used the Caution tape in the doorways, on the banisters, and around the windows for some added decor.

Overall, I think it turned out AWESOME! Unfortunately, the problem with putting this kind of effort into my son’s birthday is that by the time he’s five, I’m going to be all-partied out. I’ll probably just book some overpriced venue like The Jump Club to plan the party for me – cake included, of course. And if we ever do decide to have a second child, I’ll be so tired of kids’ birthdays that the poor kid will be lucky to get a party at all.

For now, I”m just going to revel in the fact that we threw a pretty kick ass construction party, if I do say so myself. 🙂

 

The “Do We Call the Doctor” Debate

As moms, we are obligated to worry about every tiny sniffle, red mark, or red rash that appears on our children. It’s what we do. No matter how serious or minor it may be, we can’t help ourselves. We worry about it. We scrutinize the symptoms, we take photos when possible, and then we start consulting with anyone and everyone for their opinions (including our own mothers, our mom friends, our sisters, our online support groups, our Facebook friends, etc). And after we’ve exhausted all of our resources, we being the ever exhausting, “Do We Call the Doctor Debate?”

This is precisely the chain of events that occurred on Tuesday night when my husband took Grey upstairs for bath time and then began yelling for me from the bathroom. From the tone of his voice, I was imagining that my son was bleeding on the bathroom floor or drowning in the tub. That’s another thing mothers do. We imagine the worst. We can’t help it. (FYI – Raising kids is seriously stressful). But anyways, it turns out Grey had come down with a rash on his backside. And right then and there, I took photos of my son’s bare ass and then texted them to my mom and my sister for their opinion. Yup. Just another day in the motherhood.

And so it began. The Debate. Do we call the doctor? I go through the same thought process every time I find myself in this situation and it almost always goes like this: Should I call the doctor? Is it that serious? Will they think I’m crazy? They’ll probably just tell me it’s viral. Is it worth bothering the on-call physician at home for something little? Do I care if these people think I’m crazy?

I really want to be that laid back mother who doesn’t give a shit about anything and could stay calm even in the craziest situation (if that mom even exists, that is), but I just can’t. In the end, I always end up calling the doctor. And as I’m describing whatever ridiculous health issue I’m concerned about, I always end up sounding like a total nut case and realizing half way through my spiel that cradle crap is probably not a pressing issue and doesn’t warrant a phone call to the pediatrician on the weekend.

A few months ago, my son fell and hit his head on the hardwood pretty early on a Saturday morning. After assessing the massive bruise and finally convincing myself that this was definitely an acceptable situation to bother the doctor, I made the call. It went like this.

 Is he bleeding? 

No.

Is he still crying?

No.

Is he vomiting?

No.

Are his eyes dilated or is he losing consciousness?

Um…. No. Shit. I probably should have Googled this before I woke you up at 6:00am on a Saturday….

You get the drift.

So, back to Tuesday night. The Rash. After consulting the opinions of my Mommy Army and before making another obnoxious phone call, I decided to do a little research myself. As it turns out, Googling health symptoms may not be the best idea either. If you type in “toddler rash on back and buttocks” into your search engine, which I am NOT recommending, I can almost guarantee you will lose your lunch. It’s like a health symptom horror movie. You may need to call your OWN doctor to help you recover from the post traumatic stress disorder you are about to endure from viewing photos of that shit.

Originally, I was thinking my son might have some kind of cold virus that produced a rash, but after my super scientific research (aka WebMD), I was convinced he had something really nasty and scary. Roseola, Coxsackie, Impetigo, Chicken Pox…. What the fuck is Herpangina???

So what do you think I did?? I’ll give you one guess. I called the on-call doctor. Want to know how that turned out???? They didn’t call me back. HAHAHA. Maybe you only get a certain number of on-call phone calls before they just start ignoring you. But seriously, here we are two days later, and the rash is still present. I swear to God, not only am I going to make an appointment and take him into the doctor tomorrow, but I am going to give someone some serious shit for not calling me back. I’m sure they won’t think I’m crazy at all.

And for your information, I was going to include one of the bare ass red rash photos I took because I think it’s totally ridiculous and hilarious that those are seriously on the camera roll of my phone right now, but I decided to spare you. So, you’re welcome.

Oh and one last thing. The next time your spouse pisses you off, just Google “toddler butt rash” and leave the window open on their laptop. Sure way to ruin their day.

The Parking Lot Show Down

I’m walking out of the grocery store, in a full sweat, cart overflowing, toddler squirming, trying to locate my keys while attempting to keep my kid from jumping out of the cart. It’s a Saturday morning, so the grocery store is absolutely packed. I only managed to get an amazing parking spot since I arrived here at the ass crack of dawn (or so it seems) and it’s gotten busy during the crazy amount of time I’ve spent trying to complete this errand. As I’m walking the short distance to my car, I can’t help but feel as though I’m being watched. I turn around and notice that a car is slowly creeping behind me while I’m pushing my cart, probably looking like the motherhood version of a bag lady, still sweating and struggling to end this god awful grocery shopping chore. I realize that the car’s blinker is already turned on when it finally hits me – this person is going to follow me and wait for my parking spot.

Clearly, this driver doesn’t have children because it’s obvious they have no idea how much time and effort I’m about to spend loading my entire trunk full of groceries and then attempting to fight the wild beast into his car seat.

I’m annoyed for several reasons. I was already feeling rushed, knowing that my toddler is a ticking time bomb, set to go off as soon as he finished the last of the snacks I packed. Now I’m feeling the added pressure of trying to hurry up so that this douche bag can have my parking spot. Plus, after taking a look around the parking lot, I notice that there are plenty of other spaces (just not nearly as close to the entrance as mine). But really, it’s not raining, it’s a gorgeous day, and this lazy Mother Effer is making me feel the need to rush even more than I already am, just to save  himself a few extra steps to the door?

Well, I hope that this guy’s time isn’t as important to him as his precious energy because it’s going to be at least 15 minutes before I am even thinking about backing out of this parking spot. And not because I’m just trying to be annoying or purposely slow (Ok, maybe a little….) but because it’s seriously going to take me that long to get myself organized.

I finally locate my keys and begin loading the 100 bags of groceries into the trunk of my car. On a side note, how is it possible to need this much food for a family with only one small child?? What am I going to do when he’s a teenager??? But I digress. All while I am loading the car, I am singing and entertaining the kid to keep him from losing his shit out of pure boredom. I can’t load him first because I have to walk 10 parking spaces away to put the cart in the little corral. I bet the driver who’s waiting for my spot is one of those people who doesn’t even put their cart in the corral out of pure laziness. I take my time loading the car and walk my cart down to the corral, toddler in tow. I pick up my son and walk back to my car, shocked that this person is STILL waiting for my spot. I realize at this point that I left the box of diapers on the shelf underneath the cart, so I walk ALL the way back to the cart corral carrying a 30lb kid and grab the damn box. (Now you are starting to understand why I’m  in a full sweat and why I consider grocery shopping a full fledged workout).

I get back to my car and realize that my son’s diaper is leaking. I lay him down in the back seat, change him, and then begin strapping him into his carseat, which is no easy feat.

Seriously, this person is STILL fucking waiting??? It’s impossible. He could have finished his shopping by now. But at this point, I guess, he’s committed. He’s waited this long. He is NOT giving up now.

As I walk around to the driver’s seat, I catch a glimpse of the driver. It was a man. Go figure. Only a middle aged man who prides himself on getting the best spot possible would wait this long. Or maybe a teenaged girl who doesn’t mind talking or texting on her cell phone for 15-20 minutes while she waits. Or people who don’t have kids in the backseat, I suppose.

The point of my story is this. Stop being lazy. But if you really feel the need to stalk someone walking to their car in order to get a good parking space, you should probably follow someone who doesn’t have kids (unless you have 20 minutes to spare).

 

5 Adjectives to Describe Toddler Behavior

At almost 21 months old, I think it’s safe to say that my son has officially crossed over into toddler territory. (Lucky me). During the past few weeks, I’ve done some very informal, unscientific observations of my child. I’ve determined that there are five adjectives that can pretty much sum up my toddler’s crazy behavior.

toddlerecard

 1.)    Impulsive – “Ready, set, go!”

Yeah… My kid’s idea of a good time is climbing three stairs and then attempting to jump off. I’m sure you can guess how that turned out. Unfortunately, my toddler lacks the “think before you act” part of the brain. His thought processes go something like this: “run, jump, throw, scream, hit, repeat.” It amazes me that not only does he know he’s not allowed on the stairs, he has been injured on them before. After a child does something that causes them injuries, I’ve heard parents say things like, “Well, you won’t do that again, will you?” But, you know what? They will do it again. And again. And again. And again.  Because they are toddlers and they are impulsive and they don’t give a shit that they got hurt the last time they tried it.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Jumped off the stairs, got a boo boo. Jumped off again, got a boo boo. Jumped off again, got a boo boo. Yup. Insanity.

 2.)    Irrational – “Cookies?????”

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting really tired of making multiple meals that don’t get eaten, followed by giving in and letting the kid eat toast for dinner because I’m too tired to give a shit at 5:30pm after a long day. So, my genius idea was to let the toddler choose his dinner. I mean, I get it. He’s a human and has little preferences. If I let him pick, maybe he’d actually eat it.

And do you know what he asked for?? Cookies, obviously. This was followed by a fifteen minute knock down drag out about not getting cookies for dinner. The tantrum, the tears, the whole nine yards. Totally irrational behavior over the simple fact that I denied his cookies-for-dinner request. Maybe I was the irrational one for thinking this kid was actually going to ask for something legit, like pasta and broccoli. Silly me.

3.)    Emotional – “Mommy, makeup for me?”

My son loves my makeup. At this age, he wants to do whatever I’m doing. So, naturally after watching me apply my makeup every single morning, he wanted to give it a try. After saying no a million times, I finally gave in one morning when my husband was traveling and I was late for work. I didn’t think he could open the compact (but then again, I always underestimate this kid). I let him hold my bronzer and a makeup brush so that I could at least throw some cover up on my massive, dark circles and some eye shadow on my overtired lids. After ten minutes, he looked up at me and I knew the sunkissed glow on his face was definitely not natural. And that was the end of allowing him to hold my makeup.

The following morning, when he asked for the bronzer, I had to say no. Not only is it totally ridiculous for a 21 month old boy to be covered in makeup, but that shit is expensive. The look on his face was incredible. You would have thought I told the kid that I threw out every toy he owned. He was legitimately hurt and sad that I wasn’t going to let him use my makeup. It was the saddest cry I’ve ever heard. The only thing worse than an overly sensitive emotional toddler is a PMSing teenage girl who just got dumped by her douche bag high school boyfriend. Just another reason why I am not having girls, FYI.

 4.)    Possessive – “MINE!”

The toddler started daycare a few months back and learned the importance of being able to scream, “MINE!” I can’t blame him. You’ve got to hold your own when it comes to fighting for the good toys. It’s like the toddler toy version of survival of the fittest.

In order to deal with him screaming “MINE!” all the time, I attempted to teach him to say, “My turn, please.” His language is limited at 21 months old, mind you. At a play date yesterday, I saw him snatch a toy from his friend and scream, “MY TURN PLEASE!” in a raging, near tears, I’m-not-sharing-my-shit kind of voice. He looked at me, pleased with himself, like he was proud that he used the words that I taught him (albeit he screamed them while snatching the toy). Not exactly what I was going for… Looks like we need a little more work in the possessive department.

 5.)    Aggressive – “Hit!”

As an early childhood educator, the more politically correct side of me would not call a child aggressive. Just more…. “hands on.” But let’s be real. Toddlers are sometimes aggressive. Not in a vicious way, but when you only have about 30 words to choose from, sometimes hitting is a much faster, more effective way to make a point.

The thing with the hitting is this – I can’t help but find it hilarious that this tiny toddler thinks hitting a 100lb dog is going to sufficiently prevent the dog from stealing the fruit from his snack plate. I’m pretty sure my constant giggling at his attempt at aggressiveness is probably only encouraging more hitting….

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As an early childhood teacher, I am totally aware that all of these crazy behaviors are completely normal and age appropriate. That doesn’t make it any more hilarious and challenging to handle, though. I’m already looking forward to Greyson turning three years old. But in the mean time, if you have a toddler that’s just as “normal” as mine, my advice is this: stock up on the wine, mamas. They don’t call it the “terrible two’s” for nothing.

 

 

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