Parenting Dilemma #432

Imma cook sumfin yummy for you.

Kids don’t come with manuals, and situations for which there are no set rules pop up with some frequency. As a favor to you, I am here to give you a leg up on your own parenting by sharing some potential dilemmas. This provides you an opportunity to discuss with your co-parent/mother/therapist ways in which you might handle the same incidents should they ever happen to you. Thank me later. Believe me, you will want to.

Situation #432- Unsolicited Sharing.

Smallest son approaches you with finger outstretched. On said finger, you find the bounty of his most recent (oh, dear Lord, you hope!) nostril-mining expedition. And he is offering to share it with you. Do you:

a) Scream loudly, remove the prize with a tissue and bathe both child and yourself in Listerine

b) Admonish your child to never, ever, ever pick his nose again, that’s disgusting!

c) Recognize that your child is very, very generously offering you a treat he was planning to eat himself and thank him, while quietly removing offending nugget with a tissue.

d)) Pretend you don’t understand what he is saying and offer some fun-bubbles and a good hand-wash

e) Crawl under the bed and hide, hoping beyond hope that he doesn’t wipe it on the new curtains

There is only one wrong choice, and the very thought of it gives me the screaming willies. I couldn’t bring myself to even offer it as an option. So what do you do? Don’t even bother to check Dr.Spock or the Baby Whisperer, because they have neglected to cover this particular situation. Discuss and get back to me.

My Mom-iversary

Only three of these are mine, but I'll claim the fourth one, too.

Tuesday was my oldest child’s birthday. She is 14. It was a monumental day for me, too. It marks the anniversary of the day I became a mom. I remember it well. Not really. A big portion of the day is a huge blur. What I do remember is the terror that clutched my heart as I realized I had created this little creature, and now I was responsible for keeping it alive. I was a different parent for her than I am for the two boys. Experience teaches you things, if you are paying attention. I was very, very intense in those days. I was terrified to make a mistake for fear of screwing her up forever and ever. I now realize that we all gift our children with our own special brand of crazy. Perfect isn’t necessary. We just need to be good enough. Here are a few things I have learned over the years.

1) Choose carefully the clothes you want to give birth in. You will never, ever wear them again. Ever. Ever. Seriously. Some stains are just not meant to come out. Took me three babies to learn this.

2) Baby fingernails and toenails grown at the speed of light.

3) Tiny fingertips bleed like a son-of-a-pup when you cut the nail too short.

4) Biting off your baby’s nails isn’t bad parenting.

5) No toddler ever died from eating mac and cheese 6 meals in a row. Off the floor.

6) Too many sweet potatoes will make your toddler turn orange. Like an Oompah Loompah.

7) Pediatricians find it very funny when panicked mommies rush in their orange toddlers thinking they have jaundice.

8 ) Toddlers fed too many sweet potatoes take about a week to resume a normal hue.

9) Babies usually say “Da-da” first, but that doesn’t mean they will call him in the middle of the night. If they do, it is because they are expecting transport to the Mothership. As in “Da-da! Come here right now and take me to Mommy!”

10) A baby may not eat broccoli for love nor money, but you better put the cat food WAY out of reach.

11) Don’t buy clothes that you mind getting stained (for you or the kid). That is where the grape juice will land. Every time.

12) Buying second-hand clothes doesn’t mean you are a bad parent.

13) Use the date stamp feature when you take pictures of the kids. You’ll forget how old they were.

14) Carry a little notebook and write down the funny stuff as soon as they say/do it. You’ll forget it.

15) Review your little notebook often.

16) A child can grow up to be a productive member of society without ever once having gone to an enrichment program.

17) Crumbs in the butter never hurt anyone.

18 ) A gummy smile can melt the heart of a grown man.

19) A grown man whose heart is melted by a gummy smile is often worth hanging onto.

20) Not everyone is cool with you sniffing your child’s behind in public.

21) Think before you act. If you grab that booger out of your little one’s nose, it is helpful to have a plan for where to put it.

22) Toys with small parts breed when left in the living room floor. The same is true for pennies and cat hair.

23) You might not be overwhelmed with love for the baby the first week or two. It’s hard to love something so scary. It will come.

24) When you head out on that long road trip, you will regret not putting off toilet training for another few weeks.

25) Each child will be your favorite. For different reasons.

Going Organic Can Be Hazardous to Your Mental Health

Not a bunny cracker.

My kids have always loved goldfish crackers. From the moment the little cheesy bits first crossed their lips, they could sink a pond of fishies in nothing flat. I didn’t know how good I had it.

Squishy is, shall we say, an unenthusiastic participant in the whole eating process. At the age of one year, he should be taking in a considerable amount of calories through solid food. Yeah, not so much. Why bother to waste time eating during the day when he can simply make up for the caloric deficit by nursing all night long? We finally reached an uneasy truce in our food war. He agreed to sit in his chair 3 times a day and play with the food I offered him, and I agreed to quit shoving spinach at him. He would eat and I could sleep.

We decided recently to start adding some organic items to our shopping list, slowly replacing unhealthy stuff as our budget allowed. One of my first purchases was a box of Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies. BIG mistake. They are not like normal food. I learned this when I opened the box and could not quit eating the things. Then I offered them to Squishy. Second big mistake. Now it is all out the window.

At first, we thought it was cute the way he held out his little hand for a cracker, then stuffed it into his other hand and asked for another. Or how he yelled at us if we approached his chair and pretended to eat one. We’re not laughing anymore.

From the moment he first held one in his hands, Squishy has been a different kid. At a year old, his speech is basically unintelligible. That does not mean, however, that he does not communicate. On the contrary. He can make his wishes known in uncertain terms. When he is hungry, he pulls a certain purple box out of the recycle bin and parades around the living room. If I don’t take the hint, he tries to climb into the cabinet to get the goods himself. If I sit him in his chair and offer him anything but a bunny cracker, I can expect to have it dropped unceremoniously on the floor.

He is holding me hostage, this child of mine, threatening to slowly allow himself to starve to death if I don’t produce a crunchy little cheesy lagomorph (it’s a word. Look it up). And there’s not much I can do. Trying to communicate with him is like conversing with the Tasmanian Devil, but a lot less gets accomplished. I am at my wits end once again trying to get this little critter to EAT. All the things he once let pass his lips no longer meet with quality control.

I got a call from a lawyer this morning. Apparently Squishy is willing to reopen meal-time negotiations. It may be cheaper in the long run to just give him the stupid bunnies.

Do Me a Solid

This has absolutely nothing to do with my post, but I like this picture.

Some people use horoscopes to predict their day. Others check to see what kind of stuff they have in their schedule to get a sense of how things are going to go. For me, it’s much more simple than star charts and Franklin planners. My day hinges on poop.

Not my own, let’s be clear. Although at my age, who can deny that a good one can be a very satisfying start to the day. No, it’s more serious than that because it is totally out of my control.I am, of course, referring to Mr. Squish.

My day is always better if I can get my work done early in the day. Once I hit “save,” I am free, and it’s a glorious feeling. My ideal schedule is to get my work finished, take Squish somewhere fun to play, come home for lunch, and start on my second project while he takes a nap. Sounds easy, right? And it totally can be, but it’s all up to Squish.

I cannot work when he is running around. I find myself stopping every 5.3 seconds to pull him off the couch/cat/counter, and it’s hard to concentrate. If I can get him to sit still for 30 minutes, I get on a roll, the creative juices can flow, and I can at least get enough traction that I can finish my work after I spring him. And that means Bob the Builder. I know. I am a terrible parent. I let my kid watch a bit of TV. <insert judgement of my parenting here>

But here’s the rub. In our house, there is no access to the wonders of a claymation construction worker until tiny person produces a poop.  And not just any poop. It has to at least appear to be the day’s work. Can we do it? Yes, we can!

Our rule is not as weird as it sounds. My young toilet-trainee had lots of accidents while watching his show because he found Bob too riveting to answer the call of nature. Since the institution of the poop-for-Bob policy, Squish has had 2 accidents. It works, and we’re sticking with it until it doesn’t anymore. May that day never come.

The tricky part is getting it done. Most days, he’s like clock-work. He gets up, he asks to potty, he poops out a present, and my work can begin. But then there are the days where he doesn’t want to, where he isn’t, um, moved by the spirit. Those days are special. He offers a non-committal shrug and says “It not workin’ today.” Those days go something like this:

“Do you want to go poop?”

“Naw. I fine.”

“Go play for a few minutes while Mommy does her workies.”

“Mommy, my scooper is broken!” (accompanied by dramatic wailing)

“Baby, that’s a puzzle. It’s supposed to come apart. Let Mommy finish this really fast”

“Is my room clean? I cleaning my room.”

“Squish, that’s the closet. Get out of there! Do you need to go poop? Poop for Bob?”

“No. No poop today. Dis Daddy’s coffee?”

“Don’t drink that!”

“I hungwy. Need brekfuss.”

“Sweetie, you just ate. Are you sure you don’t need to poop? Watch some Bob?”

“No, I fine. I gonna feed Feebee.”

“I already fed the dog, pumpkin. Give me that. She can’t eat all of those!”

“I frow dis away. Dis trash.”

“Baby, that’s my checkbook. Get out of my purse, and get that out of the trash!”

And on it goes until:

a) Squish gives up and produces a dook, or

b) I give up on my deadline and take Squish somewhere to burn off some energy so that maybe he’ll actually take a nap.

Today we were lucky. It’s only 9am, and it’s all taken care of on both ends. We’re going to pack up and go to the zoo to celebrate. It’s been a productive day. For both of us.