Saturday, December 20, 2014

On the List

"A COMPUTER?!" Santa repeats, his voice booming with slight belief over the perfectly white walls prepared just for this event as our son justifies his wish at a decibal only a FBI agent could pick up with special tools.

I'm not sure what the little one asked for but I'm certain it had something to do with food.

So yes, the Big wants a computer for typing and a fort. Already having heard the wish of a computer the month before despite flipping through hours of ads of shiny new toys, we were lucky to find the grandparents were ready to part with their laptop, the perfect gateway into typing for a Kindergartner. Does it have a mouse and Word? Check. Check. Oh and in pristine condition along with its original box? Even better. See, there IS a reason Mom keeps all those boxes and instructions...

Now the fort, that's another story. True if I was one of those fabulous moms that shopped for the perfect sized sheets and hardware and made blueprints to rig up the ideal hideaway, this would be a breeze, but instead I'm the type of parent who shops on Amazon. Thanks to our awesome friends who gave the Big an army fort for his birthday, I knew there was a market and wa-la, this little number showed up on our front door. Move over, Pinterest.

In addition to his Santa stash, we're bringing it back old school style with a Spirograph and Light Brite. Fun for everyone, huh? In complete disclosure, we got him through a Children's Mercy visit the other day by letting him open one early. Ahem - the Spirograph is a huge hit. And don't forget his favorite late night reading: an encyclopedia.

And though the little one will only be enamored with whatever his brother gets, where the elf is and the tissue paper, he will find a Scuttlebug, pop-up toy, stuffed dog and some Go Go action gear under the tree.
The Mister has the Ninja blender something or under on his wish list (he turns up the volume when the infomercial is on to make a point), a GoPro, some fancy coffee maker, a Fuji camera that costs more than our mortgage and a variety of other items that require a small loan. Gah knows what we can pull off here, but he certainly deserves it.

The parents are very finicky and request nothing or simply return it. Easy enough?! Dad desires a FitBit and luckily my MIL is a woman who knows what she wants (smart TV and some warming items), so is easy to shop for. DIL only requests a family pic, brother wants some headphones, and SIL adores almost anything you snag her. Done and done.
As usual, my list is a mile along and features a diversity of items in various price ranges, from anything from R&F anti-aging products (hello-I am turning 35 soon), to perfume, workout gear, mommy-worship items, to anything with a monogram. The more surprising, the better!

There's a few days left - what's under your tree and share your wishes this year!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Crazy for Ol' Navy

They're back at it, with darling stuff at next to nothing:

Some bright fair aisle for celebrating the holidays
Some sassy leggings for under a long tee or LBD

Comfy vest that also keeps you warm

Soft sleepwear for your lady of leisure moments

Pixie pants to modernize any top - pair with flats or heels

A sweater almost so ugly it's cute - and comfy
Workout gear you can sweat in time and time again
Some of these items came home in a plastic sack at just six dollars! And none of the above were more than $20. So if ensems are on your list for next week, whether it's for that family photo or stuffing yourself on Christmas ham, swing on in to your nearest location. I can almost guarantee you'll find a few items there that will make you crazy for Old Navy!

Monday Momfessions: December 15 Week

Before you ask, I have no idea where I've been the last two weeks. Can I use the excuse I'm a mother of two boys five and under and just started a new job? Please?! Anyhoo, here's what's been going on in our largely imperfect but kind of awesome household:

1. The Little calls me "MIKE!". Not just Mike, but "MAYEK!" In even sadder news, he calls my mother-in-law's gremlin looking dog "mama."

2. Since December 1, each morning begins with: "SH*T: did YOU move the elf?!" followed by lots of fumbling and weird excuses to return a child to his bedroom while the other parent awkwardly scrambles to make up excuses and move the damn thing. The concept is genius in managing behaviors over the magical month, but creates a new layer of stress for the family barely making it day by day anyway. Oh, Shelfton. How I love and loathe you.

3. When the Little eats, he does it with gumption. I'm talking hand raises, chair dances and all out moans of delight. We keep trying to catch it on tape, but he turns into a possum each time we try. A small gathering of strangers literally stopped to watch his eating show the other day. I tried to charge them for autographs, but they weren't buyin'...

4. The Big has started randomly cursing in context. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

5. The Little one has learned to escape his diapers. Although teensy round cheeks are adorable, cleaning rugs is not. Our animals aren't even doing that to us yet. Keep it on your bits, champ. He's also developed a habit of perching his hand in the back of his diaper (similar to the guys' frontal resting spot), which can at times result in some not so clean hands. This is worse than nail biting, people and I don't think they make any fancy marketing items to break this.

6. Last week's Mix 93 morning show interviewed listeners for their gross and weird habits. If I had gotten through, Rocket may have been disgusted to know that I must fetch all boogers from kids noses. It doesn't even matter if I know the child. And not the icky sticky kinds, but bats in the cave. Neither child is ever going to forgive me for this and may already be dodging my hugs thinking I'm going in for one.

7. I think building forts is kind of hard. Especially when a certain five year old has so many rules. I literally purchased a fort making kit from Amazon the other day. But you know how I am with directions, so this too could go down fast...

8. Another kindergartener taught mine that you are to kiss your parents long and hard on the lips. In providing instruction that parents were more of the pecking kind (while I was wiping off from the surprise attack), I had one of those moments that goes "ISN'T THERE A BOOK FOR THIS? OR WHERE IS YOUR FATHER?"

9. I've converted both boys into Swifties. Hit the west side if you want to attend one of our dance parties or get a solo karaoke performance of "Shake It Off" by Lawson.

10. This may be too deep for the Monday thing, but I'm not doing anything well these days. Especially for the kiddos. There's far less playing, far more trying to keep up with it all and exhaustion all around. Gotta turn this ship around.

So what shenanigans are happening in your home, my mommy friend?

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Boy and His Keyboard

Happy birthday lawsoni
Ilove you
I play with my friendsiamarockstar
I play with my brother
Iam   awesome
My brotheris awesome
Iam cool
Iam big
But  my brother is little
And I ambig
I love my brothersomuch
I lovemymom
I love my poop

One can only imagine what he'll come up with next on his typing adventures if Santa really does bring that laptop, huh?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Loving Liam

"I don't understand it. Why does everything with him have to be so...hard?" I asked of my girlfriend, tears pooling in the corner of my lids as my voice choked out the words, laced with incredible amounts of guilt.

It was one of far too many conversations I'd been having with loved ones lately, contemplating better ways to parent, strategies for wrangling a strong-willed child and how to get back to appreciation vs. frustration, fatigue and misunderstanding. This was a new place for me, and I didn't like it. For me. For him. For our love. For our relationship. The stories I told, the words used to describe his behaviors and the frequency in which I turned into a mom I hardly even knew weighed heavy on my heart. It was time to turn it around.

All 10 pounds of Liam came screaming into this world and for more than three months, never stopped. For nearly 12 hours a day he was cradled in colic, his dairy allergy still undiscovered married with the mystery that is the "disease." Today, with 19 months under his belt, the hours of unrest are far fewer, but still more frequent than the average. Half toddler behavior, part of what he's born with and a portion of growing into his own, he's finding his voice through aggressive movements, loud screams, significant tantrums, using only the word "no," and fighting every battle and bribe that's available. By definition, he's a strong willed child. He's hard. He's a fighter. He's tough. He's a lot of blood, sweat and tears. He's shocking. At times impossible. And even trickier: he's smart with it all. The examples and routines we run through daily to illustrate this are endless. Please join me and my friend A in our texting war regarding what our toddler is crying about to learn more...

But you know what else he is?

Absolutely charming. A momma's boy. An incredible sleeper. A learner. A smiler. A bright-eyed, handsome little one. A kiddo with a million, gut-splitting hilarious expressions. A dancer and fan of music. HEALTHY. Growing. Surprising us with little miracles daily. A lover of running through the halls in his fast shoes. Curious. Bright. An adoring brother. A big fan of eating and milk drinking. A dog advocate. A friend. An excellent high fiver. An avoid book reader, complete with counting anything he can among the pages. In fractions of seconds, a warm snuggler. Fearless. Trusting. Able to hold his own with the big kids. A baller. A joyous screecher. A strutter. An entertainer. A picker-upper. A lover.

In short: he's awesome.

And he's my boy.

And I wouldn't change him for anything.

So go ahead, momma. Whether you have a "strong-willed" one or not, be real about it. This stuff ain't easy. And you don't always have to be grateful or think about how quickly it will all go. Sometimes, it just plain sucks. And that's ok.

And then there's those moments where suddenly all the junk in between no longer matters. The first time he says "I wuv you," (today!), when he masters the stairs, the moment he seeks your tall legs for comfort, the quiet of evenings with just you, the faux stars above and a book, the look and squeal he gives you when you walk in the door and all the other magic in between. THAT'S the space I'm going to work harder to live in. Frolic in. Cherish in. And the rest? I'm going to work harder to love it too.

Because I love you, Liam, for all you are and all you're meant to be. May you feel that in every inch of your soul. I will carry you. Stand up for you. Fight for you. Sweat for you. Embrace you. Try to understand you. And love you. Unconditionally. For I can't think of anything else that's more important than this, for you...

I love you and am thankful for every last inch of you.

Children embody what is best in life. They live in the present moment. They are part of its exquisite bloom. They are pure potentiality, embodying vitality, emergence, renewal and hope. They are purely what they are. And they share that vital nature with us all and call it out of us as well, if we can listen carefully to the calling.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'...

"Wait, what?! You’re on that one,” my husband firmly stated, clutching a colorful invitation stamped with a large roller skate. Visions of slow jams, backward gliding, neon lights and terrible carpet flashed before my eyes. That feeling of exhilaration from a song dedication, holding a boys’ hand for 10 seconds, and giggling with girlfriends while you compared skate poms flashed through my head. And with that, I said:

“I’m in.”
For these great inventions, yet another genius use for PVC pipe.

Before the big day, most of our car rides consisted of a zillion questions, ranging from the difference between roller and ice skates, what the floor was like, how hard the task was and my plans to be engaged with the event. For me, there were inquiries also, like: “how the hell will I survive this 100 pounds larger and 15+ years less coordinated?!” Needless to say the anticipation of THE FIRST SKATE PARTY was in full effect.

Entering the non-descript door, the smell of carnival food, warm bodies, and plastic prizes greeted us. Immediately transported to the 80’s/90’s, the patterned carpet met my vision, the brown skates with orange wheels exactly as I remembered and a crew of workers that looked like they could have been the same as the ones I once feared for skating through the middle at the Omaha rink. In short, it was a weird version of awesomeness.
Big L was immediately on the move, ready to take on the feat, growling at me for the pace of tying up his skates, then immediately trying to find his footing as they slipped from beneath him time and time again. Not knowing if his heel had even made it into the skate, I tried my own legs with the four wheels beneath, finding it surprisingly familiar but more painful than what I remembered when I was 12. And with that…

We were off.
Then we were back…

And thank goodness Big L wanted to use it for a crutch, because gah knows mama needed it too.
From there it was a blend of determination, groin-splitting falls, lots of laughter, keeping up with the competition (aka his classmates in attendance), rescue missions, cruising, sweat and tears.

At the point I was dismissed because “he doesn’t need me and can do it on his own” (knife to the heart), I contemplated the following learnings regarding this skating soiree:

1.     There are muscles, tendons and gah knows what else in your rear and feet you never knew you had, that can be discovered with skating.
2.     The theme music will longer be Madonna or Chicago, but rather tunes that remind you of Kim K’s latest photo shoot. You may also have a long pause when you discover your child may know Gangnam style song, including the moves, along with Megan Trainer’s “All About that Bass.”
3.     I wished I had once again invented the simple PVC pipe puzzle pieces with wheels on them.
4.     Serving as the rink DJ may have to go on my list of “worst jobs ever” list.
5.     Scratch that: the skate distribution and cleanup guy is the worst job ever.
6.     Speaking of guys – who was that one hot one working there and why?!
7.     This activity is not for the weak of heart. Or core. Or legs. Or arms for that matter.
8.     Proper attire is acquired: the stretchy tank, loose sweater and crack baring jeans (not by choice, but by fit) were NOT the answer.
9.     Stopping is not a learned skill – it must be practiced. Or improvised.
10.  There is still a place for glow accessories. The rink is one of them. Fourth of July and Kenny concerts are another.
I could go on, but I think you get my point.

Needless to say, it was a memorable afternoon and an activity I’d do with my Big again. In fact, he’s got LW on the list to ask this weekend. We’ll see if her Mom is yet recovered…

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ – a throwback activity good for the whole family.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Why My Toddler is Crying

"Get this one: my toddler is crying because I gently picked a piece of lint off his back," my girlfriend said, taking her turn on our weekly banter on why our near two year old sons were on the brink of meltdowns.

Here's a look at today's submission from our household:
He's crying because he'd also like to lay in the dog kennel.

Shame on me for considering that this would be the moment our neighbor or DFS would come by, even though he'd likely be happier doing this than surrounded by toys in his very own playroom.

Other events from this week include: irritated he couldn't sleep UNDER his crib, the fact I was trying to apply jeans, that his brother looked at him with a half-smile from 30 feet away and that we were serving applesauce at dinner. Oh - and that I didn't wear the red shoes on his asking.

So,what's your toddler frustrated with today?