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Friday, October 26, 2012

"That mom"

There are two instances in which a woman can be labeled “that mom” Type one describes a mom who has it all together.  Her house is immaculate, she’s doesn’t understand the idea of a post-partum muffin top, she always looks photo-ready, her children are happy and polite and she has a healthy glow of tanned skin, despite it being nearly November and flippin freezing.  Then there’s the other kind of “that mom,” type two.  This is the frazzled mom who feels confident in her clothes if her favorite hoodie, the one that’s long enough to cover her butt in yoga pants, is clean enough to wear, her hair is in a ponytail and makeup hasn’t even crossed her mind for days or weeks.  Her children run circles around her and scream and cry at the most inopportune times and sometimes she loses her cool.  We’ve all seen “that mom.”

Most people can likely admit that they’ve been annoyed by either type of “that mom” at some point for one reason or another.  I’d guess that most other moms would be annoyed with the kind who have everything together, and most other people’s annoyance is toward the tired mom with the whacko kids.  The only thing worse than being trapped in close proximity to the type two mom and her kids, is BEING the type two mom. Trust me, I know.

I had the brilliant (note the sarcasm) idea of agreeing to treat Molli to McDonalds today.  I had her in her high chair at home and was getting ready to give her one of her usual lunches when she asked, very politely, for chicken nuggets.  I acknowledged that I appreciated her saying please and told her that sure, we can go to McDonalds.  Super mom that I am, (er, occasionally pretend to be) I started the car, packed the diaper bag, dressed the kids and found a hoodie that covers my butt in my yoga pants. (That should have been my first hint, I’m a type two temporarily pretending to be a type one.)

Anyway, off we went.  My sweet angel held my hand in the parking lot, said thank you when I fell prey to her polite request for chocolate milk, and turned into a beast when I set her food in front of her.  I should have known things were going downhill when Gavin immediately woke up angry and Molli avoided the high chair with a request to go potty (I can’t say no to potty in public, it’s too risky). I’ll spare you the details, but just know that it involved a lot of flopping around in the booth, demanding words, bossiness, and very little eating.  I was appalled at the sudden change in her attitude.  As though we were not offensive enough, Gavin chimed in with his opinion of being restrained in the car seat with increasing volume until he was on my lap. After about ten minutes of back and forth arguments regarding a blasted chicken nugget, I packed up the happy meal and announced that we are going home, and shot obligatory apologetic glances at a handful of people who were not doing a good job of staring inconspicuously.

I filled my arms with all our junk, a crying baby and a whining toddler and high tailed it toward the door.  A kind lady stopped me as I was leaving and offered me some words of encouragement.  I couldn’t hear all of them over the noise of my offspring, but they were essentially praises for my discipline, perseverance and obvious love for my children on an “off day.” My guess was that she too, was once a type two mom and took pitty on my situation.  My hunch was confirmed when she opened the door for me, offered to help me to the car and told me “keep it up, we’ve all been there.” 

I tightened both kids in their car seats and within forty-five seconds of driving, Gavin was sleeping and Molli was deliriously staring out the window. My sweet angels had returned.  Here’s hoping they stay a while.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's potty time!

Potty training:
I’ve heard stories from both ends of the potty training ease spectrum.  Some people get all worked up and it turns out their kid is potty trained in like 5 minutes and they never have to worry about diapers or accidents ever, ever, ever again.  Others battle potty training for like 12 years and the kid is still in diapers at night.  Or something like that. Basically, it seems like there are extreme success stories and failed attempts.  I figured Molli would fall somewhere in the middle, and I was right. 
The End. 

No, it’s not the end, otherwise this would be a very pointless blog post.  I was right though, she is falling somewhere in the middle.  Here’s our potty training experience so far…
I got Molli an Elmo potty for Easter because if anyone can motivate Molli to change her whole world, it’s the little red furry guy.  It was kind of comical at first because I didn’t realize there were different settings on the potty.  Pressing Elmo’s hand, like a high five, prompts him to encourage Molli’s bodily functions in English, Spanish and French.  If you want to learn to say “It’s potty time, with Elmo!” “Congratulations!” “Great job” “You did it!” etc in these languages, this is a great product for you!  Myles saved the day and our Elmo potty is now only English speaking.  However, the jovial encouraging phrases became much less exciting when Molli would sit on the potty with her leg against Elmo’s hand and he’d repeat the same phrase over and over, loudly.  YOU DID IT! YOU DID IT! YOU DID IT! *See footnote*

Anyway, when I got this for her, I knew she wasn’t quite ready for potty training, but thought it would be a good idea anyway.  We kept it in the bathroom and she liked knowing it was there, even it was just collecting dust.  Eventually she started going on the big potty before bath time and it was exciting!  We praised her but kept it at that for quite a while. 

For her second birthday I got her some big girl, princess panties.  She loved them but wasn’t ready for them right away.  

We started by keeping her in a diaper and taking her to use her Elmo potty regularly.  We may or may not bribe her with an M&M each time she goes.  After a week or so of this, she decided to go #2 in her potty and she took full advantage of my excitement, setting the stakes for what a poopie is worth- two M&Ms and a marshmallow.  She may end up with diabetes, but at least she will be in panties! 

During this whole process she spent a lot of time pantless, naked, or nearly nude.  

Once she was going pretty much exclusively in her potty we transitioned to big girl panties full time during waking hours and while at home, then I got brave and took her in public this way.  (Now THAT is motivation to make errands quick!)  These days she is always in panties and has had three small accidents (at home) and two borderline accidents. (One real and one borderline happened yesterday, oops.) 

I think she’s right on target for where she needs to be and I’m SO proud of her!  Being a mom has brought the weirdo out in me.  When else would flushing poops enlist a celebration?  I can’t imagine any other time of my life involving this many M&Ms, reminders not to go potty in panties, or daily bragging of these things when her daddy gets home. 

I can’t say she’s totally potty trained because I still put a diaper or pull up on her when she takes a nap or goes to bed, but we are getting there.  WAY TO GO!

*Upon researching what the other phrases are, I discovered that many other parents share my complaint of this potty being very loud and somewhat obnoxious if the “high five” feature is abused.  The company is nice, but even nicer is that I learned that there’s an off switch. Hallelujah!

Friday, October 5, 2012


I don’t know what complete parenting failure looks like, but I do know what it feels like.  We’ve had quite a day.  It started off so fantastic, I felt like super mom.  I got up early and managed to run, shower, get ready and eat breakfast before either kid woke up for the day.  It was so nice to have those things under my belt before our day as a family started.  “Me time” is hard to come by these days.  And by that, I mean, it doesn’t exist. 

We started our day together with a play date.  Molli’s best little friend came over to play, but instead of playing, she put on a beautiful performance full of drama and emotional meltdowns.  She’s generally not so emotional, but the combination of having a cold, sharing toys and being in “that stage” was the perfect setup for a whole bunch of correction, discipline and learning opportunities, if you will. 

She couldn’t handle him playing with any of her toys, especially the little people she calls her “guys.”  Molli’s guys are, without a doubt, her favorite toy and everybody’s eardrums are at risk if objectionable hands come near them.  Everything was “mine” and she made it very clear that Carson was not allowed to play with her cash register, fake ice cream, certain dinosaurs, or absolutely most definitely not her guys.  At one point I was seriously concerned for Carson’s face as I saw the intensity of her anger skyrocket up her body and out her ears.  She turned red, her eyes and mouth widened and her hands came up as though she was witnessing something deplorable and she tensed up, shaking with anger.  Eventually Carson had enough and put his shoes on, ready to leave.  I can’t say I blame him.  My blubbering daughter was not being kind or listening. 

That pretty much set the tone for the day and I can’t say I handled her attitude gracefully.  I did my best being patient with her, understanding that she doesn’t feel well but I’m pretty sure my parenting left something to be desired today.  It was one thing after another and I became the stereotypical nagging mom.  I generally do my best to structure my sentences in a positive manner; rather than saying NOT to do something, I’ll try to tell her what I DO want her to do. Unfortunately, I’m sure that many of my words were not gentle and probably exhibited the amount of patience I had left.  Rubbing salt on the wound, she did not seem to even be phased by my discipline.

Eating away at my patience even more, Gavin has been needy and a rotten sleeper.  I don’t know exactly was his deal has been but today was filled with a fair amount of crying.  As sweet as he is, crying is one sound that can grate away at anyone’s very soul.  It’s so hard to hear and no be able to fix. On top of the crying were Molli’s incessant demands, on repeat.  If you know my daughter, you understand that she has only one volume and she’s a big talker.  Noise, noise, noise! I prayed for patience with both kids all day and I just barely made it through without having a meltdown of my own.   Sigh

If my life ran on a grading scale, today I would receive a failing grade for making meals, cleaning the house, doing laundry, looking nice, creative engagement, effective discipline and being a welcoming wife to my husband.

I cannot be the only weary mom, I know that, but I’m ending the day feeling worn out and unsuccessful.

I know my kids love me and want me around, no matter how badly I failed. Tomorrow is a new day, so lets hope it goes much better!