Diaper Mystery

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It’s hot…really hot. So no deep or motivational thoughts today. Just a quick post is all I have energy for.

Changing diapers are a part of life for any parent of small children. I have often heard the joke that a baby has left you a “present” when they’ve pooped. But sometimes there is an added surprise in there when you go to change a diaper. So for kicks and giggles and because I love potty humor (or in this case diaper humor) here is a list of some of the odd things I’ve found in my kids diaper. (note: These are not objects found IN the poop. My kids seem to go through a phase were a diaper is as great a place to store things as a pocket. They did not swallow these things! So stop freaking out!)

– Cheerios – Cheerios (and goldfish) are a staple in our home as far as snacks go. But they get everywhere. They stick to their pants, fall on the floor, and get tracked around. Luckily my dogs love Cheerios and do a decent job of cleaning them up. But often these little bits of yumminess somehow work their way into a kids diaper. Even when they’re wearing a onesie. It’s a mystery I have yet to figure out.
– Legos: including a Lego man once.
– sand and small rocks.
– puzzle pieces
– crayons
– bits of paper
– dog food

Yet they never seem to be uncomfortable. Go figure. For you parents, what’s the strangest thing you’ve found in a kids diaper?

Support Our Cops

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I’m pretty sure that being a cop is the toughest job there is…or close to it. Partly because it’s so thankless. Did you know there is a holiday commemorating fallen peace officers? I sure didn’t…and I’m married to one. Apparently it’s May 15 and was started back in 1962, so it’s not new. I saw no dedications on Facebook, no inspirational memes, no holiday promotion at the local businesses.
Police do not see the good sides of our society. I mean, think about it, how many people are sitting around with their families, feeling at peace with the world…their children are happy, wives respect them, husbands support them…and think “I should call the cops”. Police do not witness those moments unless it is in their own homes. They witness the grime, the grunge, and the dirt of society. A society that, for the most part, either hates, fears, or dislikes them. Who is pulled over for speeding and greets that officer with joy? How often do shoplifters thank the officer for doing their duty?
The military are considered our defenders (for good reason) and have a great respect from many people. The firefighters are considered the heroes at home…who come to the rescue to save you when you’re in trouble. Not to belittle either profession, they have tough jobs. But it is not thankless. Cops are the guys who come when you don’t want them…like the kid caught with his hand in the candy jar. No one likes to be caught doing what they shouldn’t and no one likes to be told they’re wrong.
Then there are the stereotypes. Officers do not actually spend much time eating donuts. (Although they do love the QT for free beverages). In my husbands department, they don’t have time to sit around profiling, entrapping, or harassing people. They’re running around like mad trying to stay on top of the hot calls, knowing they have several hours of paperwork for that day to finish…not counting the hours of paperwork they were unable to complete from previous days. If that ticket isn’t posted in the 24 hours and you’re all pissy because you’re being inconvenienced…think about the cop sitting up for hours past his shift scrambling to finish reports. But still trying to be thorough because if even one word is off the whole thing could be overturned and their work will have been for nothing. Cops are mediators…they come to deal with that couple or roommates that never get along and somehow must diffuse the situation so effectively that they won’t be called back. They are expected to parent our children, as parents who have no idea how to handle their kids call the police expecting the police to have some magical power to control the kids that they themselves cannot. Police enforce the law, which we like until we break the law ourselves (how many of us have seen some crazy driver speeding, cutting people off, etc and hope they get pulled over, but become angry if we get pulled over for speeding?). They are understaffed, their equipment is subpar, and they never stop working hard to keep their streets safe. They seem to never have days off, as there is always some training to go to, some qualifying test to take, some court appearance to make. They come home late, leave early, and need at least one day to recover before they are fully themselves for their families. These are the sacrifices they make, without so much as a thank you.
It’s no wonder they become discouraged. I’ve heard people refer to them as an organized gang. Because gangs are held to a high standard of behavior, dress, and expression. Gangs have to complete detailed paperwork of every interaction, and if someone complains about a gang member’s behavior that gang member is put under intense scrutiny by a completely different department. Because gangs are held to the standard of the law and if they do not meet those standards they are kicked out. Do you sense the sarcasm yet?
This whole long rant is actually leading up to something. I was getting more and more frustrated at how helpless I was to do something to improve this situation. To show cops that they aren’t the mean parent that everyone wants to avoid, but that people do appreciate their protection. So I have one simple request: write your local department. I don’t care if it’s a letter, a post card, and e-mail, or even a sticky note on their door. Just thank them for what they do, and do it regularly. If you see an officer do something to help someone…mention it. Most departments have a section to refer an officer for a commendation. If enough people started to do this, we could start to change the attitudes towards police officers. So take those few minutes to show a little appreciation…and include your kids. Kids should be raised to trust police and respect them…not fear them.

Bathing Children 101

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My children are filthy. Urpling especially seems to be a dirt magnet. You know, if dirt was metallic and could be attracted by a magnet…or if there was a special magnet that somehow magnetized dirt and then attracted it…that would be Urpling. But the other two are pretty dirty too. I meant to give them a bath last night, but as events unfolded we ran out of time. I decided having more to eat than bread with peanut butter and some bits of chips from the bottom of the bag was more important. I digress. This whole experience led my brain down a checklist of ways I “bathe” my kids when they are starting look (or smell)…………ripe. So here it is, my introduction to bathing your children.

1. The Classic Bath: This is the standard bath you usually envision when you think about your kids taking a bath. It involves water in a bath tub, some from of cleaning product (whether it is chemical free, tear free, or scent free) a washcloth or sponge, and…of course…children. You scrub the kids down with aforementioned cleaning products, rinse them off, and then dry them. This process is usually quite lengthy, and everything gets wet. The floors, the ceiling, the counters, the rugs, the mommy. Yet it is still the classical way to clean your children.

2. The Bubble Bath: It’s similar to The Classic Bath, only a step beyond. You add bubbles. This is intended for fun, but I have actually had a child (or two) who found the bubbles terrifying. Not sure what they thought would happen but I suppose if it looks as though something had invaded the water and made it disappear, who’s to say the same thing won’t happen to them.

3. The Shower: This is actually now my favorite. No standing water for kids to poop in, or marinate in all the dirt you were just trying to wash off. Instead, they all splash around, the dirt (you hope it’s dirt anyway), and they all still get clean. Of course, it helps that we have a ginormous shower (wow…ginormous even registers as being spelled correctly in the spell check…how the world is changing) so all three can fit easily in, and we have a detachable shower head which makes hosing them down easier. Trying to grab kids covered in soap and rinse them off is like mud wrestling a giant trout. Much easier if you can spray them down without even touching them.

4. The Sponge Bath (AKA The Washcloth Bath): Sponge bath sounds better, but if we’re honest it usually involves a washcloth, or wet paper towels…or your finger and some spit. Basically you look at your kid and realize they have huge smudges of who knows what smeared all over their faces. Not wanting to look completely negligent (ignoring the left over sucker residue in their hair…it’s not noticeable so long as you don’t try to brush it) you do a quick once over. Rub off the worse spots so they look only slightly dirty instead of terrifyingly so.

5. The Dog (or Pet) Bath: No muss no fuss. You don’t have to do anything, except direct your adorable little puppy to the small ones face. They’ll get the leftover food off in no time and you’re set to go! (Please, please, please….please, insert the sarcasm font here. I really don’t need a bazillion comments informing me how this is unhealthy, disgusting, whatever…this IS, believe it or not, sarcastic. Although the dogs do lick our kids…often…hmmm…)

6. The Conditioning Spray: Whoever invented this is a genius. This is best used in combination with the Sponge or Dog Bath. This spray helps get rid of nasty tangles, and smells amazing. Just coat their hair in it, and they smell like fresh strawberries and their hair suddenly looks presentable instead of like a ball of yarn that escaped, rolled around a field, then tried to reassemble itself unsuccessfully.

So there you have it…just a few of the ways to keep your kids from looking like they live in an abandoned mine in those moments when you have to leave the house. What are your tricks?

Father’s Day…just as important as Mother’s Day

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I didn’t know where I was going to go with the post, but it ended up being a weird combination of a rant and a dedication all wrapped up into one. My apologies for both the length and seriousness. Never fear, I will soon be back to my lighthearted, short winded self soon. But this all started as I was dwelling on Father’s Day. My hubby was insisting that we not get him anything. I had a problem with that, as I felt it was important for the kids to celebrate daddy. (Sasquatch made him a card, and insisted we buy him a football. So that’s what he got.) This got me pondering about the fact that Father’s Day isn’t advertised for as much, have as many displays, or as much attention as Mother’s Day.

But fathers are just as important. A father needs to be involved in his children’s lives. Here is a list of statistics I got from Dad’s World. I’ve only included a few, but I recommend reading the whole list. (the site has references which I have not included here…check out the Dad’s World site for a more detailed list that includes annotations)
-63% of teen suicides come from fatherless homes. That’s 5 times the national average.
-85% of children with behavioral problems come from fatherless homes. 20 times the national average.
-71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. 9 times the national average.
-Daughters of single parents without a Father involved are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 711% more likely to have children as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a pre-marital birth and 92% more likely to get divorced themselves.
-Even in high crime neighborhoods, 90% of children from stable 2 parent homes where the Father is involved do not become delinquents.

This is how important a father is. We downplay it because we don’t want single parents to feel bad. This doesn’t mean that kids who come from a single parent household will grow up to be delinquents or dropouts. There are plenty of successful single parent families out there. But an absent father does put children at higher risk. When there isn’t a dad, something is missing. There are a lot of problems in our society that would start to heal if Dads would step up and do their job (and Dads need not be biological…father figures in general are what we’re missing).

Maybe it’s just me, but society as a whole treats dads as less than moms. We look at it as progress when we see Dad’s more involved…but only if they’re more involved in ways we approve of. Whether it’s baby wearing, going on play dates, staying home while the mom works, supportive in the natural birth process, etc. which are all fantastic. I’m not saying that these are not signs of progress. But when we see a dad coaching a baseball team, or playing catch, or giving his baby a bottle with formula we’re not impressed. Not only that, but have you watched a sitcom in the last twenty years? Often the dads portrayed as bumbling idiots who would be lost if it weren’t for the mother. Most of the show is spent watching the father first ignore the sage wisdom of the mother and try to do it his way…only to realize he’s wrong (as usual) and comes around to the “right” way of thinking. The mother’s way of thinking. (Now, take this with a grain of salt as I don’t have cable and haven’t watched any of the more recent family shows. So please, if you know of some that break this mold then tell me cause I will add them to my list! ) I find all this troubling.

So my question is this, what message are we sending our children and our fathers? We’ll only accept you if you do things Mommy’s way? But this is completely skewed. My husband does things differently then me. But we’re a team. HIS OPINION MATTERS! Mothers need to get over this mentality that it’s “my kid” and we’re doing it “my way”. We insist men bow to our wishes, that if we disagree it’s the mothers opinion that is the default setting. Daddy doesn’t like cosleeping? Too bad. Daddy wants to rock the baby to sleep but Mommy read that one article about self soothing so she insists they use Cry It Out. It’s not that these are bad or good, but it’s insane to take the legs out from underneath fathers, deny them the right to voice an opinion or make decisions, and then bemoan the fact that father’s are not involved.

Step back and watch a father at work with his kids. That’s what I do, and do you know what I see? Magic. Absolute magic. Our kids react to him in a way that is completely different from me. He sees things in a way I never would and if I had been so busy trying to fit him into my mold I never would have been able to witness it. Those times he made me step back and let my kids do something on their own, I got to see them light up with pride in the success of achieving something difficult. The tough choices where we may have disagreed but I trusted him to know and want what’s best for our family. In those moments I have a choice, support my husband and demonstrate the respect for him I want our kids to have, or undermine him and show my kids that his opinion doesn’t actually matter. There is no better way to gut a father then that. Those moments where we disagree and I step back and at least compromise with him…not demand he do it my way…those are moments I want it clear to him and our children that I trust him. That he is essential to this family and we need him.

How about my own dad? I have always had a great respect for my dad, and that was instilled in me by my mom. She showed great respect for him in how she spoke to him and about him. No jokes at his expense, no insisting we do it all her way. They worked together and it made our home one that was deeper and fuller. My most cherished memories ever (not just with my dad, but out of all of my memories) came after I had been “camping” with my grandma at some campground in a tent trailer. I came home and my dad basically told me that he’d show me what real camping was. He then took me to the boundary waters in northern Minnesota. No motorized vehicles allowed, only a canoe, our gear, and a hole in the woods to poop in…and it was amazing. I saw a moose from only a few feet away…while in a canoe. I went down some small rapids to avoid a portage. I was eaten alive by Mosquitos. I saw bears, memorized every kind of bird, and didn’t brush my teeth for days. To this day, they are my favorite memories.

I love my mom, and I think I’m pretty awesome too. But we can’t be dads to our kids. She would never have taken me camping (she still hates it to this day), or let me go down the rapids. She would have fretted about my safety and comfort. I do the same thing. I say to my kids a lot, “That’s a daddy activity” which they know really means, “I’m having a small heart attack and picturing your imminent death as you climb that two foot rock. Daddy will handle this much more objectively”. Our family needs him.

So this is my very long winded dedication to the dads out there. Who are stepping up and leading the way. Who teach their daughters what it means to be truly loved so they don’t fall for the first trashy pick up line thrown at them. Who give their sons strength to stay true to who they are and not bend under pressure. Thanks Dad for all you did to make me the person I am today, and thanks Hubby for all the magic you do with our three kids. I am truly blessed by all the men in my family.

Bucket List

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Bucket lists have become increasingly popular. You hear the idea of them thrown around quite a bit and it got me thinking, what would I put on my bucket list? Ever since I was little, I wanted to teach, get married, and have kids. Check, check, and check. Guess I can die happy. Then, as usual, my brain split off in a few more directions. First thought was, there are some things on my bucket list now that I have already done…but would do anything (or close to it) to be able to do again. You know, like urinate alone…or really use the toilet in any manner in solitude. Nothing beats having “intestinal difficulties” while on the interstate alone with three kids, parking and unloading three small children and racing into Ikea, and then while using the facilities have your 18 month old figure out the latch, fling the stall door wide open and make a run for it (not that this happened to me…but if it had I would hypothetically be thankful that Sasquatch was old enough to run and fetch him and drag him screaming back while I poop in front of some poor women washing their hands.) Being able to walk from point A to point B in my house without tripping over toys, shoes, dogs or small people. Make at least one meal that everyone would eat without coaxing, pleading, bribing, or begging that did not involve some form of cheesy noodle or breakfast food…or anything deep fried. These would all be items that would go on my bucket list.

But the other direction my head went is the idea of having a bucket list of all the things you’ve already done. If completing a bucket list is the key to contentment, then I need only to create a list of things I’ve already done and voila! Instant feeling of accomplishment. Here are some ideas:

To be puked on, pooped on and peed on in the same month.

To be corrected when you write your name down, saying, “No, that’s wrong! It’s spelled M-O-M-M-Y!”

To have an audience that cheers you on after each successful use of the toilet.

To spend a day as Princess Bell, drinking tea and shopping with Princess Rapunzel and Princess Fiona-Dora (who apparently has multiple personality disorder and could never decide who she wanted to be).

Have kisses that are so magical they can heal any wound.

Spend years never sleeping more than a few hours at a time.

Brush several sets of teeth but leave the house and realize none of them are yours…

Feel the rush the first time a baby hugs you, kisses you, reaches for you, or smiles at you.

Participate in an impromptu dance production.

I’m going with this Bucket List…and I will definitely die happy. What would be on yours?

The road to recovery…is long.

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My apologies for the lack of post-age (you see that…took a noun and turned it into a verb with a completely different meaning..cause I’m awesome). But life got a bit busy, and sometimes life just needs living (wow…that phrase was pretty epic. It had a great balance of pretend profoundness and ambiguity…I could be a philosopher. I should write that one down. I just read that to Sir Smiley and all he did was roll his eyes and tell me I was full of it. He doesn’t appreciate true wit.) I first was busy, then was busy and sick. Finally feeling better and it’s making me a little feisty. You’ve been warned.

I’ve noticed a trend. I don’t get sick often…but when I do it lasts forever. I have several running theories…aliens keep infecting me to see how our bodies react, I live over a secret government experimental facility and the gases infect my particular body type, orI don’t eat enough cookies (because I firmly believe cookies will eventually be discovered as the ultimate source of health). But while these are all excellent possibilities, I have this crazy notion it might be related to sleep patterns. As crazy as it sounds, apparently you need to sleep and stuff to get better. But there is an issue with this…while I get a decent quantity of sleep, the quality is probably not where it should be. I tried going to bed early, but the kids always need things until they finally drop off completely around 10. Now they sleep great until about 7 am. But then there is hubby’s weird schedule. The kids drop off around 10 pm…and then Sir Smiley comes home anywhere from 3-6 hours after that. So for the next three to six hours I try to sleep, knowing that my hubby is still out there and that he will be coming home and interrupting my sleep. Then a few hours after he gets home the kids wake up.

But I have also been blessed with the fact that two out of three kids nap at the same time, and the third can play quietly by herself. So no problem…I’ll just get a good nap in to help. Oh, but they only nap well when I don’t need them to. When I do need the rest, they inevitably ALL poop during said naptime. But not all at once. No, they carefully time their bowl movements so that they are spaced every half hour to hour so I don’t actually get to sleep.

So how about when Sir Smiley is home? I mean, I was sick for two weeks…he must have been home at some point! But there is the direct correlation of Mommy’s inability to function and the kids clinginess. Basically meaning, the less mommy can or wants to care for the children, the more they cry and wail for mommy. I remember a moment spending about three hours trying to nap where I’m fairly certain King Toot stood outside the door of my room for two and a half of those three hours alternating between wailing, saying mamamamamama over and over again, wiggling the door handle, and pounding on the door.

Needless to say, it has been a long road to recovery. Praying and hoping I don’t get sick for a long time (or never…why not shoot for the stars?)

Which one are you?

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I had to go shopping with all three kiddos today…twice. Those of you with small children, a good memory, or an ounce of empathy know that this is risky. Kids are like time bombs waiting to go off. Any mom can look at a kid screaming in a store and (if she’s honest) think, “At any moment, that could be me.” It’s not necessarily the mark of poor parenting skills if a kid is having a meltdown. Leading up to my day today, the rant it caused, and subsequently this post was the events of this week. This week has been one of my busier weeks. We were gone all weekend at Comicon (still makes me grin….see post here) and then had a line up of play dates, birthday parties, baby showers, etc. Then to add to it all, I got sick. Apparently quite common when put in a confined area with thousands of people…go figure. At any rate, I have spent most of this week sleeping and feeling like one large bag of mucus…to running around getting things done as fast as possible…to collapsing and again feeling like a large bag of mucus. Today was the first day of semi-alertness where I could accomplish basic tasks for my family. Like buying food for us to eat.
Now, my girls aren’t too bad in stores. They’re old enough to be redirected and understand expectations when explained to them. King Toot is my problem. He is…..strong willed. This is a nice way of saying he is more stubborn than a donkey, and I can’t even get mad since he gets it from me. If he doesn’t want to be somewhere, there is no way you’re going to change his mind. And so it begins.
First I made a run to Costco. Notice, today is Saturday. Being that I stay at home, I like to shop mid week, mid morning. Park close, race through the store, out in twenty minutes tops. Of course today was packed…but as we had a ketchup packet and some crackers left for dinner I weighed the pros and cons and decided crackers with a ketchup garnish wasn’t going to cut it so off we went. (I’m sure that was a run on sentence…but I’m still sick so I could make this whole post one long run on sentence and not really care) To my surprise, my kids were angelic. Two were in the cart (Good gravy, glad I reread this…that originally said car…not cart!) and Sasquatch was helping me push. They never cried, whined, and she never strayed from my side. I was delirious with joy (or fever). So we’re standing there, waiting patiently in this ginormous line, and my kids are quite. King Toot is playing contentedly with my keys, and Sasquatch and Urpling are content with people watching. Again, this is miraculous as we no longer have motion to help keep them calm. Everyone knows, once the cart stops the chances of meltdown increase by about ten million…to the ten millionth power. But nothing. Three happy, quiet children. The line is long and pushes us up to the aisles and we had been waiting for several minutes. During which Sasquatch was tired and so she had bent over at the waist and was swaying from side to side with her rear sticking out. Apparently by doing this she had taken up about an inch more space behind us and was preventing some woman and her husband from getting through. I hear someone say, “Excuse me!” and look up at the same time as Sasquatch. Without me saying anything, Sasquatch says, “Oh sorry!” and straightens up. I’m delighted at her good manners by that delight withers as this woman rolls her eyes and glares at my daughter. I mean really? My first thought was, “You should be glad King Toot has decided he wants to be here right now or a five year old standing an inch too far back from the cart would be the least of your problems!” I was incensed, and felt a certain grim vindication when the line she chose took a lot longer than the others.
Fast forward a few hours and we are now making a run to Walmart for a few other smaller items (things we didn’t want a years supply of). This time, King Toot decided he wanted to hold the bag of carrots, then try to chew the carrots up through the bag, and was very angry that I wouldn’t let him. So he was screaming throughout the store. I have to say this. Strong willed children are difficult to raise. They have a mind of their own that is not easily swayed. They will not agree to something just because you said so, or because you threaten them with time out. No matter how consistent. It needs to make sense to them. But I will also say this, they will be the leaders of future generations. No one will persuade my son to do something he feels isn’t right. No peer pressure will sway him, no promises of riches, or threats will change his mind. If I stick to it, if I can patiently guide and shape him, to take time to show him what’s right and what’s not…he will change the world and no one will be able to stop him. A true hero!
But all that brought me little comfort as my son screamed his echoing, piercing, angry scream throughout the store. But instead of glares, I got looks of compassion. One of the store ladies came up and gave all my kids a balloon. I may not be a fan of rewarding screaming, but her compassion was good enough for me. She didn’t judge, she tried to help. My son stopped and I was able to finish shopping in peace and my girls were so delighted that they thanked the lady over and over and gushed over their beautiful balloons the rest of the trip. The balloons are tied to their beds so they can look at them while they sleep and it warmed my heart.
So my question is, which one are you? Do you roll your eyes and glare at the sick and frantic mom for the slightest infraction? Or do you show compassion even in the face of the most awful noise on the planet? Because of that clerk my day ended well…even though I’m sick.