Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dinners out with The Baby

Have you ever tried to take a 2 year old to a restaurant? Have you felt like you looked like the most inept parent in the world? No? Well I have. I'm think we are going to stop eating out so we can just live in a happy place where The Baby eats his dinner while simultaneously running a muck and smearing said dinner on every available surface. It's just easier that way.

The other night Lineman and I went to dinner with The Baby while the Things attended a class. We had time to kill and were starving. Most of the time dinners out are happy times. This night I was reduced to a hysterical mess and all I could do was laugh at the fact that I suck at parenting.

We go into the restaurant and are seated at a booth. This is great because The Baby likes booth seats. We were provided a booster at The Baby's insistence. Here is the thing, he won't sit in it but when the blond hair, blue eyed boy wants something he gets it. The booster is set on the booth seat next to me and he promptly gets pissed. Did he ask for this? YES. Does he want it now? HELL to the NO. That just gets in the way of all the jumping and movement he needs to do. Like, right now. I try to calmly ask Lineman to take the booster to his side. This signals to him that The Baby is the boss and we are just going to have to deal with whatever the monster wants.

Then, since we are sitting at a table in an establishment that serves food, The Baby requests his dinner. He doesn't want to wait 15 minutes for it to be prepared, he wants it NOW. Ok, we got this, appetizer. Also, after watching his antics the waitress offers teddy grahams from the back. I must have been too poor for sit down restaurants when Thing 1 was young because having teddy grahams offered is new to me. We politely decline because The Baby will just throw them because they are not a french fry (pronounced fwench fwy). I get a milkshake and offer the baby a taste. First he is leery of this offering because this is not his normal drink of water, but he goes for broke.

                        Oh, wait, what is this mom? Where have you been hiding this treat all my life?  Now it                         is mine. No, mom, you may not have any of your milkshake, it now belongs to me. Oh                         you want a taste? No, or I will scream and make you look like an asshole.

Copy that, no more milkshake for me. But there is no screaming and it's looking like we might just get to eat our meal without a breakdown. Oh wait, nope, spoke too soon. The food is not getting to our table fast enough so now he needs to run around freely. Oh, we don't want to let him do that? He will scream and make it look like we have zero rules. Toddlers are just so much fun. We let him run, within reason, for about 1 minute. Then he runs to the other side of the restaurant and stands near a wall creepily watching a lone patron eat their meal. Lineman wrangles him back to the booth. After a very stern talking to about staying in the seat he seems to be fooled.

Food arrives. Thank god, this will keep him still. It worked for about 5 minutes while he ate only fries. After he has finished all the fries and nothing else, he starts trying to get down. No, I know I let you get down a few minutes ago, but now you need to stay put. He seems to give in to reason. But that was just a trick. He then proceeds to "drop" a crayon on the floor. Now he must retrieve the crayon or everything in the world he knows will be wrong. Got it, get the crayon if you promise not to scream.
                       Mom, you must see this under the table place. It is wonderful for playing. I am happy                           and will not be a jerk. Just kidding, I now want to run around.

In his defense we let him under the table knowing what his plan was. He is no dummy. He had a plan and we knew this but we were desperately trying to scarf down our dinner so we could get the hell out of there with only minimal shots to our parenting egos. So Lineman and I use our legs to create a barrier so he cannot crawl out from under the table. This was a futile attempt because he spends 5 minutes working through our legs and finally ending up out where freedom exists. I was laughing so hard I thought I might pee myself. We get him back in the seat to repeat the process until we are done eating. We ate in record time and asked for a check. It was about then that I smelled it, Oh great, poop to complete the dinner from  hell. I ran the baby out to the car for a diaper change and left Lineman to deal with the aftermath and the check.

We made it out alive, if not unscathed. Our egos are recovering but we will luckily have plenty of opportunities to repeat this process on vacation. At least no one will see us again so when our child acts like a heathen we can still muster up some dignity in public.

Exhaustion and insanity

So the Things are going to be starting school pretty soon. Thing 1 starts in a week and Thing 2 starts in 2 weeks. As we are beginning preparations for school to start I am feeling overwhelmed. What happens when I get overwhelmed? I have a brilliant idea. We should go on vacation. Now, I know normal people don't do this but Lineman is going to be home and I have to strike while the man is home if I hope to schlep my children on a vacation before school starts.

I came up with a brilliant idea for a 8 hour drive to the coast. Sounds easy enough, except that The Baby (now 2, YIKES) grew out of the whole sleeping on car rides thing. He now only sleeps if he is so exhausted he would voluntarily nap, aka never. And having that DVD player in my super cool minivan, I call her Cristal because she is champagne colored goodness, is awesome. But with awesomeness comes the drawbacks of fighting over which show is going to continue in a loop for possibly a year. The Baby is the ultimate ruler of the DVD selections and if I hear Inside Out one more time my brain might explode. So I am stressed about the drive that will be commencing in less than 48 hours. How do I entertain The Baby while simultaneously not losing my mind? New movies will be purchased and I'm hoping said movies are entertaining enough to keep all three children happy for all 8 hours. I'm living in my happy dream land where this is not going to be a cluster fuck but I'm enjoying the day dream.

Then I have to think of how crazy life is going to be after vacation. I normally start "Back to School Boot Camp" at least 2 weeks before school starts. Since we are running around like crazy trying to prepare for vacation I am seriously lacking with boot camp. Normally as summer winds down bed times begin to mimick those we adhere to during school months. This year all bets are off. I have warned Thing 1 that after vacation, boot camp starts. The glare I got was completely expected. My poor almost 11 year old is just going to have to deal.

I also have to think about Lineman leaving again. He's be home almost 2 months and thinking of going back to phone conversations and single parenting is daunting and sucky. I just want him home all the time, but alas that is not our life. I will think about this after vacation... or never if I don't have to. Anyway, along with vacation and school preparation we are preparing the backyard for a hot tub. After installing a magnificent deck and dreaming of an outdoor kitchen, Lineman's dad informed us that he was getting a new hot tub and his old model could come live at our house. Ummmm free hot tub, YES!!! All the work to level the ground and dig up sod we just laid and move sprinkler piping.... not so much. But in the end we will enjoy it so why not add that to the ever growing list of things that might kill me before they are finished?

Updates to come on vacation and The Baby's acceptance of such crazy notions as sitting in a car seat for 8 hours to come. Happy almost school year everyone!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Author Name Change

Some of you might be wondering about my blog author’s name change. See my children thought it was a great idea to start their own YouTube channel with my Google account.

Here’s the thing. I don’t really care if they have a YouTube channel. Lineman is very against a YouTube channel so we were somewhat deadlocked. Obviously our children whined to their father and eventually he approved a channel, unknown to me at the time, but only videos he approved could be posted. But our children, who are like all children, were obviously smarter than we were because they had already started their channel on the sly. Without mentioning it to mom and dad.

Weird Right?

They didn’t have Google accounts because they aren’t old enough for that crap, so they just used my account, the same one I use to log them  onto YouTube. Yeah yeah, don’t be Judgy McJudgerson’s ok. I let them watch stupid videos because sometimes I’m lazy and don’t want to listen to the constant whining.

Anyway, they had posted gaming videos that were not approved. So Lineman had me remove them. I was cool with this. But now I find out that I can’t change my google name back…. What? Yeah 3 more months of my name being the Gaming Bros. And really, that name? Give me a break. So here I wait to get my name back. And wondering if I AM going to let them get a google account to prevent this from happening again. Or maybe I’ll keep the name.

Maybe, just maybe, they will have a successful YouTube channel and they will be able to save all that money they earn to pay for a decent college. A girl can dream...

The Big Kids are on Vacation

It occurs to me that I haven’t written in a while. My life has been so batshit crazy it’s amazing I survived. First there was tax season which is a task of will on its own. Then I embarked on the crappiest knee surgery journey ever…. Still recovering over a month later and now the Things have gone on a vacation to visit grandparents that live in North Dakota and last night there was tennis ball sized hail. That may be an exaggeration by Thing 2 I’m guessing it was more like golf ball sized hail, but there was a tornado warning….. A FUCKING TORNADO WARNING. NEAR MY CHILDREN. I was at the grocery store about to lose my shit as I learned they were “hunkered down” in the garage in grandpa’s pickup while grandma watched for tornado’s out the window of the house…. Does this seem like a relaxing and fun trip to you? Me neither. Anyway, the tornado did not happen and they survived. I’m learning to cope without my big kids being home but it’s hard. Here is a list of the negative and positive things I’ve noticed with them gone.

The downside of not having the big kids home.

  1. Thing 2’s whining is a pain in my ass, but he was normally whining about chores he had to do whilst home. He is gone so there is no whining but I have to do the chores….
  2. Thing 1’s ability to calm The Baby. The Baby thought it was ok to stay up until Midnight then weasel his way into mom and dad’s bed. Thing 1 could have thwarted this very bad idea but he was gone, hiding from A FUCKING TORNADO.
  3. The overwhelming sense of loving them while watching them sleep. They can be total jerks but when they are sleeping I seem to forget that lecture about thinking things are owed to them. I look at them while they slumber and think of all the wonderful things about them. Except they left me alone with Lineman and now I can’t enjoy the loving them while sleeping thing. Because The Baby is not interested in sleeping.
  4. Their smiles when I sneak them treats. Lineman and I argue like we are 5 year olds and sometimes when he fails to listen to my reason I will do what I wanted to do in the first place, I just sneak it past him until the next day. Like that time our big kids left us and Lineman said no electronics where to leave the house with them, and then I slipped a tablet into Thing 1’s bag. When I confessed the next day Lineman was ready to listen so all was good in the world.
  5. They had to feed the animals and now I have to. I feel like Noah sometimes even though we only have 2 large labs and a cat. When the big kids are home, they feed the animals, when the big kids are gone I feed the animals. I have enough chores, I need my small slaves to return to do my bidding.
  6. I miss having conversations with them. My big kids are finally at an age that they are fun to be around and they have normal conversations. They’ve even talked about girls and politics. I miss having those conversations now that they are too busy for us.

There are also some positives to having them away from home.

  1. My house, once cleaned, pretty much stays clean without much effort. It’s awesome.
  2. When bedtime for The Baby rolls around there isn’t an alarm going off for my big kids to play with him in a very frenzied manner just to hype him up. The baby gets no outside stimuli prior to bedtime which should make bedtime easier. So far that theory isn’t working but its early days.
  3. There is minimal whining. And sometimes silence when The Baby is sleeping. It’s true bliss.
  4. No one is peeing on my new sod.
  5. There are no longer “friends” hanging out at our house all the time. Don’t get me wrong I like the boy’s friends, and I even like being the hang out house. But the grocery bill was getting damn expensive feeding a neighborhood of preteen boys.
  6. I only have to find a sitter for 1 very cute baby instead of two stinky big kids and a baby. Not that we go out, we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves.

I am glad they are growing up and having adventures without me there but damn it, I want my kids to come home. A little over a week and counting…

Friday, February 5, 2016

Step Parenting Is a Hard Gig

It occurs to me that being a Step Parent is really hard. I love my step son, Thing 2. And I’m fairly certain he loves me. I haven’t had a fight with him in about 2 weeks, he has been at his mother’s house for this 2 weeks. When he comes to our house and Lineman is home he is the devil’s spawn. I’ve determined that when Lineman is home Thing 2, who is a very big daddy’s boy, tries to keep all of Lineman’s attention. He hates that he has to share his time with his dad with people like me, Thing 1, and The Baby. He wants ALL the attention and when he doesn’t get it he tends to act out. Most of his anger comes out as attitude and normally that attitude is directed at me.

I get it, I’m the evil step mother. I can own that role in his life as long as he knows that while he thinks I’m a bitch I also love him deeply. I’m trying desperately to teach him how to be a respectable person. Someone I can look at when he’s older and know that he learned from what I taught him. I make him do chores, what? Yeah I’m a bitch like that. He is a smart chore completer too because he can always manipulate Thing 1 into doing the hard chores. I let this go on for a while because I figured that eventually Thing 1 would get tired of doing to hard chores. That did not happen, Thing 1 just did the chores because his brother told him to so I finally stepped in. First, I don’t like seeing Thing 2 manipulate his brother. Second, Thing 2 can be very lazy and I will be damned if one of my sons sits on his ass while I bust mine to keep our house in order. Third, Thing 2 won’t always have his older brother to take the hard chores so he needs to learn how to get them done without his brother’s help.

So Thing 2 and I continue this dance. He hates me most of the time, except for when he loves me. When Lineman is gone he loves me a lot more because he isn’t trying to get his dad’s attention. When Lineman is home he loves me sometimes, when I cater to him, and that’s about it. He especially hates me when I have to punish him.

There is some advice I’ve received from my parents that actually made sense and I have kept in the back of my mind as my sons have grown. “Get your bluff in early, when they are older you need that bluff to carry your punishments down the road.” This is the best advice I’ve ever gotten. I have bluffed my ass off with Thing 1 and it’s worked. If Thing 1 wanted to he could resist punishments but I have him convinced that because I’m his mother, I win, every time. This theory is still a work in progress with Thing 2. We have a constant power struggle and I have to call on Lineman more than I would like to put Thing 2 in his place.

The biggest struggle is the one that really matters. I struggle to get him to recognize me as a parent. His mother is really easy to work with so as a group we all have input on Thing 2 and how his life should go. He doesn’t ever have to call me “mom” because I didn’t carry him in my body. He does have to respect me and my rules. Most of the time he does respect me, but the older he gets the more disrespect I get. It’s hard to love a child that you didn’t choose and one that could, in reality, not be yours forever. I love Thing 2 like he was my own but I also know that if Lineman ever left so would Thing 2. I’m fairly certain this will never happen but everyone is certain until it does happen. Anyway there is my rant on being a step parent.  It’s damn hard work, but I think in the end, it will all work out. Somewhere deep in a dark corner of Thing 2’s heart he will always love me and the things I’ve taught him. He will love that he knows how to do laundry and clean the bathroom, or at least his future wife will love that I taught him those things. He will love that I was always there for him no matter how big he screwed up. He will love that I challenged him to do things he wasn’t interested in. He will love me because I love him. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Toddlers and Medicine Don’t Mix

It’s an age old struggle of mom’s fighting the good fight to help their children feel better. Doctors are good at what they do and we try to follow their instructions to the letter… until you have a toddler. You see, toddlers have opinions, LOTS of opinions. They even have differing opinions from the doctor. The struggle is real.

The Baby was diagnosed with acute pneumonia (also a double ear infection just to round things out). We caught it early and began a pretty strong antibiotic to kick it out of my sweet little angels lungs (and ears). The problem word in that sentence was antibiotic. The Baby is against medicine. When he was teething it took the Tylenol like a champ. Sometimes he sucked on the syringe to get the last drops of the sweet nectar. Now that he is one and has an opinion on EVERYTHING he has decided he doesn’t like taking medicine. He has decided that no matter what his mother tries he is NOT going to take the medicine. Because his mother obviously can’t be trusted, and what she says is medicine might actually be poison.

At first I was trying to be sneaky about the medicine. I have yet to kick his bottle to the curb because that thing makes him really happy and I really like it. So I tried to hide the medicine in his bottle like I do with the Ibuprofen. The Baby is a smart little thing and rejected this bottle. I even put a little bit of chocolate syrup in the bottle to mask the flavor, but he was not fooled. Baby- 1 Me- 0.

I tried mixing the medicine with chocolate syrup and giving him a shot. He refused. Baby-2 Me-0. So I tried giving him just chocolate syrup from the syringe to get him used to it. He rejected it. I then got really sneaky. As I was feeding him dinner I would wait until he opened his mouth for the next bite and squirt a little of the medicine in his mouth. This worked for about three bites. Then he wouldn’t take his eyes off the syringe and he decided he needed to feed himself because I could not be trusted. Baby-3 Me-0. So I put the medicine in his dinner. He decided he was done eating. Baby-4 Me-0 I tried to forcefully inject the medicine in his mouth and he spit it out. There were tears and it sucked. Baby-5 Me-0.

Yesterday I hit my breaking point. We started the medicine debacle on Friday and through the weekend he maybe ingested about 1/20th of the medicine he should have had. He was pulling at his ears and I knew I had to figure this thing out. I found a solution and it made me feel like the worst mother ever. Lineman is gone so I had to devise a plan to force my child to take his medicine. I laid him on the floor, and then pinned him down with my body, then I have to pry his little jaw open while he fights with every fiber of his being, then I have to stick the syringe in the back of his throat and plug his nose while I get the medicine in his mouth so he is forced to swallow it. Baby-5 Me-1.

I hate doing this to my child. He cries and looks at me that I am the worst human on the planet. We have had two successful medicine doses since last night. He is supposed to take this medicine for 10 DAYS. I have to give it to him twice a day for another 7 days. Which means for the next 7 days I will have to repeat the process of forcing my child to take medicine. If toddlers were just reasonable people I could explain that taking the medicine is going to help him feel better and the less he fights the easier it is. But toddlers are not reasonable people. They are crazy lunatics that cannot be reasoned with. I sincerely hope that he will realize that I have to give him his medicine, but of course he will not realize this. He will think that I am a terrible person that is making him drink something that tastes really gross for my own sick pleasure. I am dreading the next 7 days. This medicine better damn well work or I am going to have a breakdown. 13 more doses, 13 more doses, 13 more doses.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

If You Don't Have Children, You Shouldn't Give Parenting Advice

We’ve all been through this scenario. A friend, that hasn’t carried a child, given birth, or tried to keep said child alive gives us advice on how we should parent our child. Normally I give this person a sweet fake smile and move on with my day. Normally this person is not one of my friends or family members. Yesterday it was a family member and the more I think about the interaction the angrier I become. I should let it go and chalk it up to stupid people saying stupid things, but I can’t.

The Baby is a very particular child. When he doesn’t like something or is displeased he makes this sound “ah.” No big deal right? The withering glare and the short one syllable was cute at first. I understand that he doesn’t have a vocabulary yet so he had to find a way to show his displeasure. The older he gets the more serious he is when he makes this sound. Don’t let the sound fool you, he means serious business and it’s normally said loudly followed by the glare. Now, I’m at the point where I need to get this under control.

Normal babies don’t do things like this right? But of course every baby is different and for mine, this is what he does. I try to let it slide but being yelled at by an 18 month old is rather demoralizing. I was regaling a family member with our very scary ER visit the other night where the baby’s fever spiked and we took him in. He was diagnosed with acute pneumonia so I’m glad we went in but there were some unpleasant experiences in the ER.

The Baby HATES new people. He feels secure in his small circle of people he knows and isn’t looking to branch out. As soon as someone touched him in the ER he began wailing. Like someone was cutting off a limb when in reality it was a sticker on his toe. He got so upset by all the new people that he cried until he puked all over me and my mother. I ended up wearing some pretty sweet paper scrubs in lieu of the vomit drenched clothing. Believe me, I was one stylin’ momma. Anyway, during this ER visit a chest X-ray was taken and a very nice paramedic came in with a stuffed moose to try to calm the baby down. What this gentleman didn’t know is only a certain kind of Teddy Bear is allowed in The Baby’s world. I seriously have purchased 6 of these bears in varying sizes to avoid the inevitable loss of a favorite object. When the paramedic handed the moose to The Baby he went “ah” and threw the moose to the floor. Luckily the paramedic did not see this or I would have had to crawl under the hospital bed to hide my shame.

When the X-ray results were read they determined it was pneumonia, gave us antibiotics, and sent us on our way. As I told this story to a family member, who by the way does not have any children, she said “does he get disciplined for acting that way? You better get that under control before he gets older” and she used a very judgy tone that got under my skin. He is 18 months old. What would you like me to do? Lock him in a room until he thinks about what he’s done? Toddlers don’t understand reason and logic. Because if they did they’d be pleasant wonderful creatures that never acted out. He doesn’t know he’s being naughty he’s just expressing how he feels. I didn’t say anything, but word to the wise, if you don’t have children it’s a good idea not to give parenting advice to someone who does have children. And yes I’m aware I should get this under control. Her evaluation of the situation was not incorrect but for her to deliver it was insulting. I’m not an idiot and I obviously have a little more experience parenting children than she does, 

Anyway, believe me or don’t believe me. If you don’t have children and are doling out parenting advice to your friends or family that do have children, we’re all rolling our eyes inside. And we cannot wait for you to have a headstrong child with less than ideal character traits. Parenting is the hardest job you will ever try to do and the entire time you think you are failing. We don't need others judging every decision we make as parents. We don't need advice on our wild child and how to tame them. I actually like that The Baby is so headstrong. He drives me crazy some days but I know that he will always know what he wants and no one will stop him. And I mean no one! He challenges me daily and though some of you are thanking your lucky stars he isn't yours, I'm thanking my lucky stars he is mine.