Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3…

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Urpling struggles with her communication skills at times. Some of it is her ability to enunciate words…but even more of it is an inability to understand basic concepts we are trying to explain to her. It didn’t seem to be a big deal at first, until we started dealing with meltdown after meltdown simply because she didn’t understand what we were telling her. This is in addition to the typical flood of three year old tantrums we were already experiencing. So we finally decided that it was time to have her checked.
Our local school district will do preschool screenings periodically throughout the year for kids whose parents feel need some extra help. As a former teacher I have been on the other end of this process so it was interesting to come at it from the perspective of a parent. Interesting and far more emotional. Here is my beautiful girl, and I want everyone to see how precious and amazing she is. But at the same time I want her to get the help she needs so I want them to see the problems we had been seeing at home. Definitely some conflicting emotions going on there.
The teachers were awesome! They gushed over Urpling and how sweet her manners were and how adorable she was. They sat down with me and assured me that I had done all I could at home, that I was very in touch with her needs and struggles. So they managed to both encourage me as a parent while still letting me know she needed help. I am truly grateful that they made the experience fairly painless.
So now Urpling will be going to preschool. I will no doubt be emotional on that day as well. But I have hopes that now we will work towards being better able to understand each other.

Parenting Logical Fallacies

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Logical fallacies are all around us…especially in the realm of parenting. Here are a few I’ve come across in my relatively few years of parenting.

If I am frustrated with my kid it means I think they’re bad. (They could just be REALLY annoying right then. Good people can be REALLY annoying…it doesn’t mean I think my kid is the next Honey Boo Boo)

If one way of parenting worked well for me than everyone must parent that way. (Cause every parent is exactly like you…every kid exactly like yours…and every home has the same floor plan…”etc. etc. etc”…which you totally need to say like the king in “The King and I“)

Even better, this worked for me, so I must make sure that all my friends, family members, people I meet in the street must be corrected for not doing it that way. (see previous point)

A happy house means no one ever cries. (Everyone needs a good cry sometimes..if not I’m pretty sure we would explode)

The kid with the messiest placemat is the messiest eater. (just check their lap sometime and you’ll see what I mean)

If I don’t devote all my free time to my kid, I am ignoring them. (the world doesn’t revolve around them…it’s good for them to be reminded of that occasionally if you ask me. Besides, this youtube video is REALLY funny…)

Babycenter reaches the most people so it must be the best place to get advice. (I don’t have any problem with Babycenter itself…just the moms on it who seems to have no problem ripping each other apart on the faceless Internet)

If I work hard enough I will figure this parenting thing out. (Hang in for the ride folks…right when you think you have a hang on things the rug gets ripped out from under you and off you go again…)

Have any of your own? Post them in the comments, I’d love to see them!

Technology Bytes

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Yes, I am aware that the title of this post is a pun…a terrible, groan worthy pun. Just wanted to acknowledge that outright. I have a love/hate relationship with technology that almost mirrors the love/hate relationship with my kids. That is to say, I love it when it works, and will spend insupportable amounts of time using it…checking status’…sharing a funny photo…or some random quote from one of my kids. The world must experience my wit, and they must experience it now! It is a time drain…but without the benefits of the positive memories my kids give me when they suck my time. But when it’s not working, I feel an overwhelming urge to do something highly damaging and irreparable to it. Luckily, my kids are too large to throw across the room, but my iPad and other pieces of technology are not so lucky. (Kidding! Even if my children were throwable sized I wouldn’t throw them…I mean, then I’d have to go fetch them and the therapy costs later in life would no doubt be astronomical.). I have never actually thrown anything breakable (although more than a few pillows have indeed felt my wrath) but this weekend made me want to.

Perhaps an explanation is in order. I have had the same video camera since Sasquatch was born and it has served me well. In the technological family, it has been my good kid. It works well, does what I need it to, and is relatively easy to use. But, combine it with my hubby’s Mac and we run into a problem. But here’s the bizarre thing…we’ve had this Mac for several years and it too has served us well. Not only that, but I have downloaded numerous videos and pics from the aforementioned video camera onto the Mac. So there should be no problems doing this again this weekend! Just do what I’ve always done. Except…inexplicably…it doesn’t work. None of the video files from the camera are recognized on the computer. As we research this problem online, we discover something odder…apparently the two were never supposed to have worked together. Everything we’ve read points to the two being incompatible. But for whatever reason, for the past couple years the two had decided to overcome their differences and work seamlessly for us. Until this weekend where they had a falling out and no longer were speaking. We found a mediator (handbrake) to help but the videos come out fuzzy. I’m ready to throw in the towel and let our camera retire with some dignity but Sir Smiley refuses to admit defeat. So peace talks will continue until they are reconciled to each other. In this day and age you think downloading some videos and burning them to a disc should be relatively simple…that the complexities would only enter with editing software…but no. Of course not. And this, folks, is why technology bytes.

Valentine’ Day

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Yeah, so the title is extraordinarily uncreative. But my brain is feeling uncreative and I didn’t feel like forcing something that would look both uncreative, forced, and quite possibly corny. Corny to the point of making you cry. So I went with blatantly uncreative. Aaaaaaaanyway….today is Valentine’s Day. I have also heard it called Single Awareness Day. I have watched the gamut of various Facebook postings ranging from pictures of fabulous flower, chocolates, and other gifts…to gushing on other’s Facebook walls…to rants about the evils of Valentine’s Day. I have to admit I don’t take huge issue with Valentine’s Day. This is coming from a girl who never dated at all until she was 21, and that aside from her husband only dated one guy for a few months. Valentine’s Day was not usually spent with a significant other. That being said, I did get gifts and have fun. My dad was awesome at sending us a little something for the ladies in his life until we were more seriously “attached”. In college huge groups of us would go out to the local Baker Square and hang out every Valentine’s Day. When I got a job as a teacher I would get all kinds of goodies from my students. To me it was a day to show anyone you cared…not just whomever you were dating/engaged/married/whatever else.
I can see how it would start to bother someone who is single and doesn’t wish to be. I also get that stores and companies totally cash in on it. But what holiday don’t they? Maybe we should rant about birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. But each of these holidays has some good points…celebrating others. I honestly can’t understand the idea of taking offense to a holiday that is all about demonstrating love for each other. It certainly shouldn’t be the only time we do. But you have bigger problems than a silly holiday if that’s the case. But seriously, to say “I HAVE to show love to my spouse! The nerve!” I look forward to any and every chance to show Sir Smiley how important he is to me. Valentine’s Day is just another chance to do just that and I’m hardly going to complain. By the way…I am not offended by people who don’t like Valentine’s Day, anymore than others should be offended that I hate coffee (don’t get me started).
So to Sir Smiley…you rock my socks off! To all of you, Happy Valentine’s Day! May you spend it with the people you love…whether it be with friends, family, kids…with a cheap dinner at home or an expensive dinner out and about. This is a chance to show them you love them…make it one of many.

The Pizza that Told it All…

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Sir Smiley received a call about a motorcycle accident on a busy road…at night. Upon arrival he sees a skid mark, a pizza box, and something liquid spilled on the road. About a hundred feet away there was a motorcycle, someone lying on the road covered in a blanket, and someone in a motorcycle jacket sitting on the curb next to blanket person. The person covered in a blanket is alive, and blinks her eyes when questioned. Sir Smiley asks the apparent driver of the motorcycle if blanket person was wearing a helmet. He responds by saying, “Who her? I don’t even know her.” So then Sir Smiley inquires as to whether blanket person was riding on the motorcycle. He responds with, “I was just coming from…sushi.”

It now appears sushi man and blanket person are useless in determining what actually happened. Sir Smiley turns to the now gathering crowd and asks if anyone had seen the accident. Everyone says no and leaves. So now he’s left with a pizza box, a crashed motorcycle, sushi man, and blanket person. There is also a strong aroma of alcohol and some broken glass that appears to be from a bottle. Blanket person is still clutching a handbag which has a partially consumed, intact, “forty” in it (a forty ounce bottle of booze).

Blanket person and sushi man go to the hospital whereupon they are patched up and ultimately survive. In the meantime, Tat and Sir Smiley are left with the motorcycle and the pizza box.
Sir Smiley walks to Tat’s car to chat, and Tat jumps out and exclaims, “I got it!” He then tells Sir Smiley the saga. The pizza box in the roadway contained fresh, warm pizza from the restaurant across the street. Highly intoxicated blanket person, with “forty” in hand, purchases dinner and attempts to walk home, crossing the street midblock…in the dark. After successfully crossing seven lanes of traffic with only four feet to go, she is struck by the motorcycle…leaving the tell-tale pizza behind. She is able to hold the forty for a split second longer but loses grip fifty feet down the road. The bottle smashes on the road, splashing sushi man and blanket person prior to their landing fifty feet later.

The moral of the story: Frogger, pizza, and alcohol do not mix. But at least the cops will know what happened…even if you don’t.

A Conflict of Schedules

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In case you didn’t know this…I’m married to a cop. They don’t always have the usual workdays. In fact, Sir Smiley’s schedule is pretty much the opposite of everyone else’s. For the past five years he has worked what we call second shift. So basically the early afternoon until late at night (11 to midnight or so usually). For the past two to three years he has not only worked second shift, but he has worked second shift on Fridays through Mondays. Our weekend is the middle of everyone else’s work week.
None of our kids are in school yet so there are some positives to this. First off is the fact that when we go on dates, all the places are empty. No packed movie theaters or hour long wait at a restaurant. We also have three whole days off together, in the middle of the week. We can go to the park together when it’s empty, and no dealing with rush hour either. We can have a nice leisurely morning together too.
But there are some aggravations. First of all, everyone else operates on a totally different schedule from us. Church functions, friend’s parties, and basically all social gatherings tend to happen on a Friday through Sunday rotation. Meaning if I want to go to the church potluck, I have to pack up three kids, haul them around, and then keep tabs on their actions by myself. This past Sunday it was a Super Bowl party. Even the NFL is plotting against us. It led first to Sasquatch screaming that she had to puke, only to stand over the toilet and belch loudly. While she announced, “I guess I don’t have to puke”…King Toot sneaks behind me and dumps some poor kid’s phone in the toilet. Three kids is too many for this poor mom to keep track of alone. (BTW, I think King Toot was plotting that for weeks and finally saw his chance and went for it). Also, my kids didn’t get the memo that daddy works late so they should sleep in. No matter what, they are up by 7 am. So I have a husband crawling into bed around 1 to 2 am and then kiddos getting up at 6:30 or 7. It feels like it’s been years since I have had a decent night of uninterrupted sleep. Usually it’s four to five hours at a time…tops. Finally, there is the fact that he’s gone during the worst times. Basically, Sir Smiley is home spending time with the kids in the mornings. You know, that time of day when they are all well rested and fed? The happy time where they all play so nicely together and for a brief moment you feel like you’re living in a Rockwell painting? But then comes lunchtime. The kids are screaming at each other and/or you because they are both hungry and tired. Coincidentally this is right when Sir Smiley needs to head out the door. So I get to try and get him out the door and all three kids fed and settled down for a nap. But then comes the witching hour (see my post here for more details). Six o clock rolls around and I’m trying to cook for them all, and feed them (while they pick at anything I make them…and I mean ANYTHING), give them baths, pick up the house, get kids to bed etc. He’s at work, so I’m doing all of it solo. Not to whine too much because I’m not a single parent…I do have help. But this is my blog and so I get to whine about what I want. All I can say is, if you are a single parent and your kids are still alive…you are a superhero.
All in all though, I’ve been doing this a while and eventually the odd way of life became the norm. He actually works early in the morning until the afternoon tomorrow and will be home for dinner. It’s thrown me off and I’m not sure what I’ll do with myself. But now that I think about it, we scheduled dr appointments in the morning because that was when he was usually around…so either way I seem to be doomed. Now to try and keep three kids from touching anything in the waiting room because who knows what germs are on those things and we have finally gotten over a long string of colds. Piece of cake (*long pause followed by hysterical laughter).

An Explosive Situation

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No parent has ever, nor will ever, raise a child and not experience the blow out diaper. It can become so commonplace that you start to develop various methods for dealing with it. Notice the wetness and test the air to see if it’s number one or number two. Then start to pile up the wipes and carefully cleanse any flesh that is exposed. Then begins the extraction of the affected articles of clothing. Now most blowouts tend to go in one of two directions…up or down. If it goes down, most of the mess is dealt with in the precleansing process. The edges of the pants may be soiled and some extra cleaning after the pants are removed may be necessary. But if it goes up, surgical precision is needed to prevent the mess from spreading like the plague. Roll the baby on his/her side and roll the onesie or shirt up underneath so the mess is contained in the clothing and doesn’t smear up their back, neck, and into their hair. Then you must clean up their back without allowing them to squirm onto their back, getting poop all over the surface they’re laying on. Then you must keep their butt up and remove the diaper. Here is where it gets really tricky. You now have to clean the rest of the mess off your kid…while you try to prevent the various limbs from touching and smearing the excrement where you have already cleaned. Here is where the situation arises where a kid decides the grabbing and touching the affected areas is their new mission and so with only two hands you must contain your child, while holding their rear end aloft, and cleaning their bottom. It is a task like no other. Not to mention the various aromas assaulting your senses. It is the most unpleasant experience a parent will likely face…and is worse when children have stomach issues. Because then this experience occurs not occasionally but multiple times a day.

Like yesterday. King Toot had pooped no less than 5 times in 12 hours and of course one of those times I didn’t notice right away. Instead I pick up my little boy and carry him into the hallway only to notice my arm feels wet…and the smell. Ugh, the smell! I look down to the horror of poop smeared all up his back…and all along my arm! After many exclamations of dismay, gasps of despair, and maybe a little sobbing…I emerge clean. I then yell to Sir Smiley that I had poop on my arm! “How on earth am I supposed to prepare for Bible Study and feel the Holy Spirit’s guidance with the memory of poop on my arm seared into my brain.” As I round the corner I then discover Sir Smiley was chatting with our neighbor across the street. Nothing like following up that horrific experience by then declaring the presence of fecal matter on your person to random people in the neighborhood.