Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kids Say The Darndest Things

Things that I have learned since becoming a mother...

  • If there is something that you don't want repeated to or about anyone, don't say it in front of your child. Because it will be repeated. If you MUST say it in front of your child, do NOT tell them "Don't repeat this" or "Don't tell anyone I said that"... because they will.
  • To a child, blood is never thicker than water. They will tattle on you for accidentally dropping the F bomb or screaming a curse word when you stub your toe on something that felt like it very well may have broken it just as soon as they'd tattle on the kid that sits next to them in class for yanking on one of their pigtails.
  • Kids are very willing to shout out "I love your boobies mommy!" in the middle of a crowded airplane without so much as batting an eyelash. They need to be taught that it's not something appropriate to do, or else they will continue. A lot.
  • Unless it's a matter of life or death, it's not really necessary to correct a child's pronunciation of something every single time they say something incorrectly. It will result in a "no it's not, it's...." argument about 99.9% of the time and will only end in your frustration, and the child still thinking they're right.
  • No matter how many times you say to a child, "You're not going to like it" when they ask you if they can have a taste of what you're eating, they're not going to believe you. And they'll ask again to try it anyway. Promptly resulting in a "Ew, I don't like that" as soon as they've put it in their mouth.
  • Children, even small ones, have remarkable memories. So if you're bribing your child so they'll do something, or you're bluffing... be prepared for them to call you on your bluff. So if you tell them "If you behave you'll get a toy," and then you walk out of the store without said toy.... they will remind you that they have, in fact, done what you've asked, and now it's time for YOU to hold up your end of the bargain.
  • If you're child asks you to sing them a lullaby or read them a bed time story, it will never be "just one please". It will always be "sing/read me another one" as soon as the "just one" has been compelted. And the "just one more" is always going to be "just one more" right after that as well.
  • If your child is afraid of caterpillars or fireflies... chasing them with said bugs does not cure them of their phobia... just sayin'.
  • You will generally carry grudges against people who hurt your children's feelings longer than your children will. It's ok to let go. If it doesn't bother your baby anymore, you don't have to let it bother you either. It won't kill you.
  • Sometimes just taking your children "for a ride" seems like a good idea. But you end up having to bring a portable DVD player, plenty of movies to choose from, crayons/coloring books, toys, and lunch. Which is pretty much everything you'd have at home. So the ride to check out scenery then becomes pointless. As they're not looking.

Just a few tips I've picked up along the way. I'm sure there are more, but I'm battling a migraine and my brain isn't functioning at optimum level. So with that, I bid you adieu.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Reach For The Stars

Everyone should have ambitions. Even if they are truly unattainable and you're only setting the goal for fun.

Ok, let me rephrase...

Everyone should have practical goals. Ones that can be reached and then surpassed if the goal-ee (goalie? :-P) so chooses. But everyone should also have goals that are just completely out in left field and you know they're never going to happen but it's freaking fun to wish for. Ya know?

A lot of mom's I've talked to tell me that their goals and ambitions have either changed or disappeared since having children.

But why?

I mean, changing I can understand. But to have none at all? How is that possible.

You're telling me you don't strive for ANYTHING more than what you have right now?

I understand if you are happy with your life. If you are satisfied and content with everything that you currently have.

That's where the crazy ambitious probably-never-going-to-happen things come in.


I'll tell you what some of my goals in life are (crazy and otherwise).

1. To have wall to wall bookshelves in at least ONE room of whatever home I own in the future filled with fantasy novels. Seems like a silly ambition, but it's attainable. And it's been one of my "dreams" for a long time. I love to read. I love to read fantasy. I'll never own a house large enough for its own library, so the shelves will suffice.

1a. This is kind of an aside note.... I used to want my own fantasy book shop... but then I realized I could never sell the books. I'd want to keep them all. Hence, the library or bookshelves instead.

2. To be a photographer for National Geographic. This one that kind of falls in between the lines of attainable and out in left field. I'd have to have the money for the right equipment (right now all I have is the camera) and I've have to put together one killer portfolio. It's do-able, but with a lot more work on my part. Fair enough.

3. To meet Johnny Depp AS Captain Jack Sparrow. :-) There's not really a whole lot that I need to add to that.

4. To publish a childrens' story. Which, might also be attainable as I've already written 2 (and go figure, it was RIGHT after the entry I posted in here where I said I'd NEVER been able to come up with my own... my Lydia asked me to tell her a story and I was too comfortable to go get a book so I just made one up, and then did another one for my Alanna later that day) short ones, but again, that's the kind of goal that requires a LOT more work on my part. And a lot more research as to how to complete the process and what my next steps would be. Not really effort that I have the energy to put out right now.

5. To own a vintage toy shop. This is one of the crazy ones... I wish I could have a toy store, sans magical elements obviously, like you see in the movie Mr. Magoriums Wonder Imporium. I mean, how cute are the toys! And how SIMPLE. Toys that actually require YOU to use YOUR imagination. Toys that are timeless.

6. To play the roll of an unsub on the show Criminal Minds. Why the unsub? I don't know. It just seems like it would be an interesting roll. And I've got a wicked crush on Dr. Spencer Reid.

7. To learn how to play ALL of Moonlight Sonata on the piano. I can play the first bit of it, but I've never been coordinated to get the part where my right and left hands are playing one thing, and then my pinky finger has to go off and do it's own. It's just not as talented as the rest of my phalanges I suppose.

8. To become fluent in Sign Language. It's such a fun language to learn (I couldn't stand French after the first year and Spanish bored me... sorry) and I love learning it along side my kids.

And my newest ambition which might also require quite a bit of time, as I don't currently have the resources or probably the credit to acquire any type of significant loan...

9. I want to obtain a degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Psychology. I've been out of school for what seems like ages... and I've done NOTHING with what I've learned. At all. And I feel like my brain is rotting away. I want a profession (not just a job) that is actually FORCING me to use even just the smallest modicum of intelligence (and I mean this all aside from the crazy patience and knowledge and sense of humor and strength it takes to be a parent, that's in a class all it's own.... what I mean is I feel like my mommy brain has taken over the rest of my brain too.... and I want some of it back to use for myself :-P if that makes sense)

So I've got some completely "wtf" stuff in there right? Right. But that's ok. Even if I never achieve it, it's fun to think of it. Like when you're a little kid and you dream of being a faerie princess. Can you actually sprout wings and fly? Probably not (I know, I've tried). But it's fun to imagine the possibilities right? That's all I'm saying.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pink And Frilly

I am not. Just for the record.

But am I the only one? I've never been girly. Ever. Always been a tomboy.

Case and point, that's me on the left.... Fila shirt and breakaway pants with basketball shorts underneath...

In fact, the first and last spread of time that I routinely wore make up "oot and aboot" was the end of 8th grade through the beginning of 9th. I've had my nails done ONCE (as in acrylics), and only ever had 2 manicures (once with a broken finger due to a slapshot to my pinky playing roller hockey no less). NEVER gotten a pedicure. Not sure I want people touching my feet.

I don't think I've ever really had a "girls night out". I have yet to ever purposefully watch ANY of Sex in the City. I'm not interested in the slightest in Desperate Housewives. I don't read books abotu the struggles of motherhood or tips on empowering women. I learned how to french braid by watching videos on Youtube (I can now do a fishtail braid too... just sayin).

I don't own a curling iron or rollers. I can't even USE my hair dryer anymore because I kept it under my sink which, luckily for me (note sarcasm) decided to leak and got everything in the cabinet wet, and I prefer not being electrocuted when I'm going to dry my hair. The last dress I bought I believe, was in the 10th grade. And it was one I could wear tennis shoes with. In fact, the very first pair of heels I bought for myself? I wore to a memorial service and then gave away. I can't walk in them. My feet just won't let me.
It took me a while to realize that our kids are what we make them.

I didn't like frillies and lacey things. I wasn't a fan of pink. After about the 5th grade the thought of playing with Barbies made me nauseous. So my oldest dressed in shorts and tshirts. Or skorts that she could run and play in. She had flip flops and tennis shoes and wore her hair in a pony tail (remember, I JUST recently (circa 2008) learned how to french braid). And I recall mentioning here last month or the month before that for the longest time, I refused to let her touch ANYTHING Barbie.

I subconsciously (ok, so maybe a little bit on purpose) was trying to turn her in to a literal mini me. And she wasn't. She hated dirt. She was scared of bugs (even the cool ones with the flashy butts (yes, I know they're fireflies)) and caterpillars. She loved dolls and having her hair done (everything but the brushing). She constantly played with the glittery makeup that my neices had every time we went over there.

It took me a long time to remember that dresses don't make you prissy. Having your hair done doesn't either. You can paint your nails and it doesn't automatically make your fingers inoperable for anything but putting on makeup (which I still hate).

I had a little girl who wanted to be a ballerina (2 of them now). She liked wearing big poofy skirts and lots of costume jewelry (the only jewelry I've ever worn constantly were my wedding ring, earrings and (this doesn't really count, as it's not real jewelry) seashell necklaces).

I don't have to turn my kids into smaller versions of myself. I can still be a tomboy while dressing up my girls.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Operation BirdHouse

So I bought a Bird House kit from Walmart last week during my adventures in grocery shopping. It was only $10 and it came with all it needed to be put together and decorated. Which was really only the little wooden pieces for the house, paint, and a paintbrush. Don't need glue or nails or screws or anything. It comes with little wooden pegs that make the pieces fit together (although not without a small battle to force them together). Perfect child occupier for at least an hour. Maybe more. I can't remember how long Lydia and I worked on this one.
I used to be the type of parent that said "Lydia/Alanna... watch mommy while I do this" and I'd hog up all the fun. Because, well, I don't know. Just because I'm weird and I can't help it. Alanna's Wild Rumpus Vest was the first project that I didn't try and do myself. I know.... smack the back of my hand with a ruler and call it a day.
Von BirdHousen though.... I did my side, and Lydia did hers. I even let her add some to mine. Which, let me tell you, was a big accomplishment for me... I'm a perfectionist. Just sayin. And I was fairly surprised at how well she did with the paint. She dipped it in water and paint and wiped it off with the papertowel before changing colors like a champ. Apparently purple was her favorite.
It was fun. It's kind of a dreary day outside. Gray clouds, lots of skeeters and black flies (which I still think are gnats, but everyone tells me there's a difference)... not very conducive to funness if you ask me. So we had to make our own fun for the day. Even with all the splashing and mixing of colors it's still really cute. She takes after her mama in the artistic ability department.
Operation BirdHouse: Mission Successful.

What's Gonna Work?

I apparently watch WAAAAAAAAAAAY too much television with my 2 year old.
I work for TMobile customer service and we have different color codes for the way call volume is for certain periods of time. If we have a few hundred people calling in at one time the code is called "Team Work". Basically means everyone mans their battle stations and has to be on the phone.

So last night and tonight we're in code "Team Work". And alllllll night I'm singing in my head "What's gonna work? TEEEEEEEEEEEEAM WORK..."

Whenever I have to get a Mandarin interpreter on the line for a customer who's not comfortable enough with their English, I'm picturing in my head a little cartoon girl with a big head and little ears and animals that talk and throw tantrums.

And the worst example yet ...

I fell asleep on the sofa this morning before having to get up and go to work. Lydia was watching LazyTown, and I was still somewhat conscious I suppose because I could hear the TV. I started dreaming that Robbie Rotten was trying to make out with me. It. Was. Gross. I knew I was dreaming and I kept trying to like... mentally slap myself awake... but I couldn't. What's worse is he was dressed up like a friggin doctor with one of those stupid things on his head that looks like a mini satellite dish.

This cannot happen again.

I watch way too many kids' shows.
Anyone else have any funny stories like these? Please someone tell me I'm not the only one.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dishing It


Ok, so Amanda over at Serenity Now - A Mommy's Solution To Staying Sane is hosting a Dishing It party. What is a Dishing It party you might ask? Well being that Father's Day falls in the month of June, this months party is all about the scoop on Dad's.

I know I know.... I said the last time that I'd probably never do something like this again because even in person I am virtually anti-social, but I used to go to school with Amanda way back when (I feel so old saying that) and she was even kind enough to bring me dinner one day after I had my youngest so I figured I'd give this one a shot too.

Favorite Tv or Movie Dad: This one is going to be a toughy.... as there are several
  • Dan Conner (John Goodman) from the show Roseanne: He's a down to earth guy that works hard to keep his family afloat but does so, not necessarily tirelessly, but no matter what obstacles seem to throw themselves in his way. And he does it all with a sense of humor.
  • Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) from the movie Taken: He stops at nothing to find and save his daughter who has been kidnapped in a different country and is about to be sold as a "slave". Even though the pair are not exactly seeing eye to eye at the beginning of the movie, that does nothing to lessen the love he has for his daughter and his determination to find her.
  • Arthur Weasley (Mark Williams) from the Harry Potter movies/books: Harry is not his child. And yet he treats him as if he were his own son which is something poor Harry never got to experience before.

What's the best thing about your dad? He's selfless. He might be more quiet than a lot of other dads I've met, but he would do anything for any one of his children, biological or not. And their children for that matter. When I was little, he was the kind of dad that would sleep on the floor in our bedroom if me or my brother had a bad dream or were scared of a thunderstorm or something... just to make sure we could sleep through the rest of the night.

What's something you enjoyed doing with your dad when you were a child? My dad would play board games with my brother and I. All kinds of board games. No matter how silly and mindless they might have been. And if he didn't really enjoy it, he never showed it. And he always took us to get Tropical Sno on summer days that were way too hot. Despite the myriad of flavors everyone else always chose to try, my dad would always say "I think I'm going to try something new this time" and then ALWAYS get rootbeer.

Tell us a funny story about your dad. This might be one of those "you had to be there" moments, but I will never forget it.... and I will never let HIM forget it. He was reading to me one day from a book about horses and their ancestors (don't remember the reason why, but that's not important). He liked to move syllables around and make jokes about what he was reading... When we got to the part about how they had been GRASS EATERS, without meaning to I'm sure, because he was reading through kind of fast, he thought he'd switch words around a bit and out popped ASS GREATERS instead. Oops. I was only around 6-8 years old at the time but I thought it was the FUNNIEST thing ever. And like I said, I won't ever let him forget it.

So there you have it. My second ever blogging party. Please don't hold the social awkwardness against me for too long. I promise I'll get better. :-P

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Gives Me Hope

Children are amazing. And some of the most selfless individuals and the most inspiring people you will ever meet.

All these were found on the website Gives Me Hope. I encourage you to take a look.

"A little girl was dying of cancer and her younger brother had a match for the bone marrow she needed. The doctors told him it was a matter of life and death. After he had the surgery, he asked the doctors how long he had to live. He thought if he gave his bone marrow to let his sister live he would die - but he did it anyway."

"In 8th grade, there was a girl with special needs in my class. One day while walking home, I saw some mean boys telling her that there was gold in a puddle of mud. She ran over to the puddle of mud and started splashing in it, and the boys laughed as she got dirty. Instead of laughing, another boy in my class went up and started playing in the mud with her. He GMH". proof t hat it's not always the little ones who inspire

"My 8 year old friend, who has had brain cancer for over 2 years, had surgery for a port the other day (for chemo treatment). I asked her if she was scared. Her only response, "Am I going to be able to swim?" The whole ER laughed, including the surgeon. Her positive personality and courage GMH."

"I am 15. Today, a 4 year old boy approached me. He told me I was the most beautiful "lady" he had ever seen. He then asked me to marry him. I said yes and am now wearing a ring pop. A little boy's innocence GMH."

"At the kindergarten I work at a little girl had Leukemia. She drew a picture of herself with her Nana in Heaven. She then explained to me that she'll be there soon, and that she'll grant my wishes and I'll live a until I'm an old lady. She left kindergarten three weeks later. GMH"

"Today, I was walking past the park. I saw a bunch of 1st grade kids shooting on the goalie at soccer practice and cheering for the goalie. The goalie had Down Syndrome. They even cheered him on when he missed. Accepting children GMH."

"I am a third grade teacher. Most kids come in with notes or messages written by their mothers in their lunch sacks. One little girl's dad left, and her mother abuses drugs. But her 12 year old brother never fails to write "I love you" on her brown paper bag. He GMH."

And a story almost completely opposite that just defines the love of a mother - "Today, I was watching the news when I heard a sad but beautiful story. A tornado had went through a mobile home where a mom and her three kids lived. They found the mother over a mattress where her three boys were put under for safety. The mother died to save her kids. Mothers who are selfless in the last moment of their lives GMH."

"This morning, I found out who was mowing my lawn every week since my husband died. It was my 12 year old neighbor, Ophelia. Her family is also suffering from financial problems. She has done this every week, on her own, without asking for anything. Her kindness GMH."

"Today, on the crowded bus, an elderly lady got in with crutches. There was nowhere to sit, but a little girl, about 4 years old, got up out of her seat for her. Kindness no matter what the age GMH."

"Today, I watched a news about a six-year old girl who was burned from a fire that started in their home. Her face and her right arm were badly burned. She could've been saved from the burns if she didn't come back to the burning house to save her 3-year old brother. Her courage GMH."

There are so many more stories on that site that were just completely incredible. I just wanted to share a few with you.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Knight in Shining Armour

Does it take a lot to play make believe with your kiddos?

If you've got empty wrapping paper rolls and duct tape you can create a sword to duel with. If you've got some sheets or towels you can tie them around your shoulders and be super heroes. Pillows and couch cushions make the best forts and castles. Toilet paper rolls can be turned into telescopes or binoculars. Shoeboxes make great doll houses. Heck, if a cardboard box is big enough, it can be colored and decorated to be like a log cabin.

Kids don't require the best toys. Or the newest. They don't need them. Sure they might want every pretty colorful thing they see on the shelves in stores... but they don't need them. Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

Sometimes I think we worry too much about what everyone ELSE has gotten their kids.... or what everyone ELSE thinks about what WE have gotten for our OWN kids... that we forget they don't need any of it. Again, I realize all the new stuff is fun to play with, and yes, my kids have lots of toys... but whatever happened to all the other stuff.

When I was younger, my brother and I used to make paper bag masks using nothing but paper bags (duh), glue, and construction paper. We tried to make our own clothes once (my tshirt I made was an epic fail, my brother actually got to wear his one time). My mom and I even made our own hair clips and jewelry out of plastic that we had to melt, then shape, then glue together. We used to go on family trips to the battlefields in the area. Those battlefields were only 5 minutes away from my house, but being little it felt like a whole lot longer. We'd go "hiking" in there for what seemed like hours. Looking at all the trenches and trees.

We put puzzles together and played board games. At lunch we'd have picnics on a blanket in the living room. My nephew, my brother, and I could play hide and seek in the house for HOURS. Or we'd play knee hockey in my brother's room. My brother and I cut milk jugs in half, put dirt in them, got some worms, and planted vegetables or flowers or tree seeds in them. My grandparents used to play card games with us and gave us plastic trinkets as prizes. My parents, my brother, and I would take trips to historical landmarks or sometimes just take drives around and listen to silly songs the entire trip.

Lydia has got what seems like hundreds of toys. Ninety percent of them don't get played with. Ninety percent of THAT ninety percent she doesn't even know are THERE. It's just stuff people bought because it looked like fun. And all it does is take up space. I got both of my kids electronic kitchens for Christmas in 2008. Alanna got a Disney Princess kitchen and Lydia got an Elmo kitchen. I can probably count the number of times they actually played with them they way they were inteded on one hand. ONE HAND. It's nuts.

Kids don't need toys. Toys are fun to play with. But seriously... if they didn't have toys.... they would find other things to occupy their time. It's not a necessity to have the latest and greatest thing. Lydia likes to build towers out of toilet paper. And use my DVD rack as a stage for her My Little Pony show. And those ponies? All belonged to her sister or came in a McDs happy meal. I didn't have to buy her a single new pony. And guess what... she doesn't care.

I feel like we are stifling imagination and creativity in our children these days. We get them things that take all of the work out of playing. If that makes sense to anyone.

You can be a knight in shining armour without paying for anything more than tinfoil.