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?

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A Guide to Why Babies Cry

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My son has reached that wonderful stage of life…almost 18 months. Now, to the outside world, this is one of the BEST phases ever. They’re just so darn cute! They imitate what people do, but in a way that just makes you melt. They blow kisses, wave hi and bye, and hug each other, and make it all seem worthy of a hallmark card. Their babbles are starting to take on a new tone…or many. They can babble with inflection now so it sounds as though they are actually having a conversation with you…except you have no idea what they’re saying (maybe that’s not really different from most conversations). Basically, they are big balls of cuteness, oozing charm out of every pore. But don’t be deceived. We veteran parents know the truth. Terrible twos? They start now! It’s that perfect combination of self awareness (i.e. I want to do what mommy/daddy/sister/brother/random passerby is doing, or I now see objects in high places and want to get them, or I wonder what happens if I do this?) a desire for independence (I want to walk the mile across the parking lot by myself at a .5 mph pace and no I don’t want to hold your hand) and a need for some dependence (I can’t get the macaroni on my fork, can’t get the fork to my mouth, still poop and pee my pants, etc). It’s the combination for the perfect storm that lasts well into their threes. And so brings meltdown after meltdown. King Toot is this and then some. He is drama, drama, drama. He favors the classic tantrum where he will lay down face first and kick his hands and feet. He seems to scream and cry constantly and it’s very hard to figure out why. You think it’s because he’s not getting his way and then he sprouts a fever…or a few teeth…or poop. Then you realize maybe he isn’t a complete brat. So I’m making my own list of why kids cry. To aid in interpreting.

Are they drooling profusely? They might be teething…or hungry…or thirsty. Try a smattering of things to fix this and then give up and let them cry while you cry (or scream) into a pillow.

Is their face red? They might be working on a nice present for you in their diaper and their little sphincters are struggling…or maybe they are developing a fever and getting sick…or maybe they were out in the sun too long and were sunburned…or maybe it’s because they’ve been screaming for ten minutes without pausing to breathe…Try a smattering of things to fix this and then give up and let them cry while you cry (or scream) into a pillow, while your other kids keep poking you.

Are they sweating? Maybe they are too hot…or they have a fever…or they really got their little hearts pumping with those acrobatic kicks and flailings as they were fighting off the nail clippers. Try a smattering of things to fix this and then give up and let them cry while you cry (or scream) into a pillow, while your other kids keep poking you repeating, “Mom!” over and over again.

Are their clothes wet? Maybe those four cups of water they had finally hit them all at once and the diaper couldn’t handle the load…or maybe they found the dog bowl again…or their sister’s cup of water…or the toilet. Either way, they’re uncomfortable now and indignant that you haven’t changed them.

Do they have bruises or lumps on them? Probably from last week, but if you recently heard a loud crash they might have been trying to scale the bookcase again while you were trying to pee. Try a smattering of things to fix this and then give up and let them cry while you cry (or scream) into a pillow, while your other kids keep poking you repeating, “Mom!” over and over again until you finally yell at them to please leave you alone.

No noticeable symptoms? Their back might itch where they can’t scratch it, or they haven’t been able to figure out how to achieve world peace, their sisters won’t share the toy they’re playing with, the sun is too bright, their clothes are too blue, the water is too wet, the floor is too hard, someone looked at them at 1:53 which is clearly unacceptable, or they still haven’t gotten the new scooter they wanted. Either way, just baton down the hatches…it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. Try a smattering of things to fix this and then give up and let them cry while you cry (or scream) into a pillow, while your other kids keep poking you repeating, “Mom!” over and over again until you finally yell at them to please leave you alone and throw them all into bed. My motto no matter what time it is…it’s bedtime somewhere.

Nanny 911

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Wow, I just noticed it’s been a week since I posted anything. I wish I had some either awesome or shocking excuse for why I haven’t written…like aliens landed in my backyard and gave me my own Rosie (from the Jetsons) or wild horses stampeded through my backyard (which would also be an awesome excuse to explain why our yard looks the way it does…I wonder how much stampeding horses cost?) or even the normal parenting joys of projectile vomit, tantrums, or the ever present poop. But alas even the most mundane of excuses escape me. I just have been preoccupied with other areas in my life and forgot to blog. But I now know my calorie consumption for the week, have reached level 50 in Candy Crush, actually made a homemade meal that included vegetables, read countless stories to my kids, even played a few rounds of Candyland with my kids, and have discovered a new show on Netflix…Nanny 911 (Wow, did you see what I did there? That amazing and seamless segue into my topic for today? I didn’t even plan that…I’m just so smart my brain plots a course for me without my knowledge…at least that’s what I’m gonna tell myself.).

Nanny 911 is quite a show. I love it. Here is my take on why. First of all, I confess it makes me feel better about my own situation. But probably not for the reasons you’d think. I used to watch Supernanny ages ago and I always felt a great sense of superiority to these clueless parents and their renegade children. But now the relief comes from a different area, it comes from a sense that I’m not the only parent who struggles. If I’m truly honest with myself, I watch these families and think…I’m like them. I’m like the lite version of them. They’re just a more dense and concentrated dose of the tantrums, crying, fits and screaming (not too mention the kids behavior).
Also, in this show we see there is hope. I watch this family become transformed simply through consistency and maintaining calm and think…I could do that! It fills me with a renewed sense of hope that those bad days we all have are not the end (yes, even those perfect Mommy’s out there lose their cool…unless they had their emotional center surgically removed). I rejoin my family with a new resolve to do better myself. Definitely not a bad thing.
Finally, I want to go hug my kids. Because no matter how difficult they may have been that day, they have never been as concentrated a dose as those kids were. So I thank my lucky stars that, while there are moments I feel close to insanity, they are constantly outweighed by the moments of adorable, melt your heart, cute big eyes, hilarity that makes my world revolve. So in tribute to those kiddos and those moments…here are some of my favorite pics to capture it.

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Einstein’s insanity, a literal thorn in my flesh, and catastrophic poop

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I was going to just have this post be a journal about my weird day. But the first incident was so long I decided that was plenty. I do have a notes section that summarizes the other fun (insert sarcasm font here) I had today. That way if you could really care less, it makes skimming so much easier.

But for the sake of brevity (well, not even that so we’ll just say for the sake of keeping this from turning into a thesis) I’ll just focus on the incident. The incident that happened after lunch. I head to the Y and drop the kiddos off at the daycare area so I can go pedal on a bike for a while. I’m in my zone, pedaling away for 25 minutes when I hear something. Now, I am no expert at lifting weights, but I do have a basic understanding of how it works. So I can confidently tell you, if you are lifting weights and can’t slowly lower the weights back down, but instead drop them so loudly that I can hear it halfway across the fitness room with my iPod blaring…you may need to go a little lighter. You will risk injuring yourself if the weights are so heavy you can’t control them. In case you haven’t guessed yet, I heard that very sound and glanced around to see who was making the noise. Some woman was yanking with all her body weight on some pull down bars then gasping and releasing them to let them drop. Cringing I just sent a prayer asking God to keep her from breaking something (her or the machine)…at least while I was there. I continue pedaling when I hear a loud thunk a few minutes later. Again I glance over, and again I cringe. She was now laying on the bench press, with the bar across her chest, turning red. The thunk I hear was the weights sliding off the end of the bar as she lost control and let one side slip onto her chest while still holding the other side aloft. I watch as she struggles to lift it…but her only success was in “removing” the other side’s weight as it too slid off. Then the bar collapsed on her chest and she lay their struggling. I looked around for a staff member, or other weight lifters to go help her. But the three people lifting weights were too busy watching themselves do bicep curls in the mirror to notice her and no staff member was in sight. So I get off the bike and run across the fitness room and help her get the bar back into place. After asking her if she was all right she just grunted (no joke, she literally grunted) and then lay back down…all without looking at me. I stood there awkwardly for a moment but when she did nothing to acknowledge my presence or talk to me I wandered back to my bike. I glance over and with a mix of surprise and horror I see that she is again trying to bench press alone and again can’t get the bar back up. This time she at least squirms out from under the bar and then stands up and carries it back to it’s spot. I can’t help but think of Einstein’s definition of insanity, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I’m fairly certain she meets the criteria of this definition.

Note: after the Y we went shopping and then came home and had dinner. During which King Toot decided to poop liquid poop up his front and back. It was pooled under his butt, all over the outsides and insides of his clothes. I needed a hazmat suit just to pick him up. Petty sure he did this because I had just finished bragging about how unlike my other two children, he only had a couple of blowout diapers so far. Go figure. But I did manage to finish the day on a positive note. I had tripped over a cactus over a week and a half ago and my heel was still giving me pain (not the positive part…obviously) Well, I finally managed to dig out the thorn (or spine or needle or whatever the dratted thing is called). It went straight up from the bottom of my heel and was probably at least half and inch long. If you ask really nicely I will include a picture and exact measurements. Cause I know you all are dying to know.

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Sir Smiley told me I should take a picture…so I did…

Girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice..*cough *laugh *cough

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So…I wrote this post about boys that was REALLY popular…at least for my blog (you can read it here if you haven’t yet) I mean, I think there were people who read it that I may not even know! Anyway…the mom guilt has set in. I over-think everything (my autocorrect changed that to overt hunk…sounds interning that way. How do you over hunk something I wonder…) …to the point of driving myself insane. See the parentheses for proof if you doubt. What was my guilt? First, that I made boyish qualities out to be a negative. As Sir Smiley pointed out, these qualities will make him a strong leader. If we train him up right, he will be a powerful force for good in this world…there is no doubt. But I also fretted about the fact that I would target boys and not girls. So in the interest of fairness…here are some of my issues I keep running into with my girls.

Emotional roller coaster starts young. I figured puberty would be hard with three of us experiencing PMS. But no, it starts waaaaaaaaaaay before that. I swear to you, Urpling has got to be starting her period soon because her emotions are giving me whiplash. One moment she is happy and the next she dissolves into uncontrollable sobbing and wailing. When the Bible describes mourners tearing their clothes and wailing and gnashing their teeth I honestly think that my daughter would make and excellent mourner. Too bad we don’t have those anymore because I could have a career for her already.

The long hair. Yeah, yeah…boys can have long hair and girls can have short. But at the small stage one must admit that if you don’t want to hassle with people mistaking your girl for a boy and vice versa…there are certain social cues you follow. I am too lazy to correct people about the sex of my child so I resort to pink vs blue and long vs short. Deal with it. That said…long hair drives me nuts. That and the movie Rapunzel. Sasquatch was fine with a cute little bob until she saw that movie. Now she insists that she have long hair. Her hair is so thick I swear I have to use a chainsaw to brush it in the mornings…and that’s with special shampoo…conditioner…and then spray-in detangler. King Toot will have a buzz cut until he moves out.

Double standard. I can take King Toot out and about with dirt, lunch, boogers, drool, whatever else all over his face and hands and no one seems to notice. If there is even a smudge on my girls, I get dirty looks. My girls are active! They do not sit around all day sipping tea and bathing.

They are definitely socialites. The verbal skills for Sasquatch are very high…not so much for Urpling. But whether we can understand them or not…there is a constant narrative of everything from a description of my actions to deep philosophy about who God is. I love it…for the hour. But the next eight start to overwhelm me as even a simple phone conversation or asking Sir Smiley a question takes three times as long.

I get that these are not mutually girl traits and many parents of boys struggle with these…but just saying…girls are not made of EVERYTHING nice…they have some mischievous things mixed in there as well to make my son a welcome break.

Note: My girls are so cute that you can’t help but love them…and here is the proof.

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It’s Tax Season

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It’s tax season. About three years ago we decided to use a CPA for our taxes. Probably one of the best decisions we have made. First, our refunds have increased drastically…and I gotta say I like having extra money. I’m not afraid to admit it. (not that we’re rolling in it…but we are comfortable and that makes me happy). Second, I suck at even balancing a check book. So, trying to figure out all those deductions, losses, gains, fill out form 109EZQJ if you bought an elephant in the last year stuff makes me want to throw cats. So I double heart being able to collect anything that says “important tax document enclosed” and then shove the pile at someone else and say, “Go nuts.” The third reason involves this year’s tax appointment. If you really want to make taxes interesting…bring a five year old, three year old, and a one year old to your tax appointment. Armed with a bag of toys we enter Taxpert’s office where the kids promptly ignore every toy we brought and start pillaging the room. We tag team herding King Toot away from stacks of important looking papers and files, various plant life, and all the awesome (and breakable) knick knacks scattered around the room. Sir Smiley would sign stuff…then leap up and relieve me as I signed stuff. We survived the appointment and nothing had been broken. Yay us! Sir Smiley is on defense with King Toot while I am holding Urpling who was suddenly becoming very clingy. Taxpert is now revving up for the grand reveal…how much we’re getting back. The big moment approaches, he sums up all our gains and losses (which I slowly tune out and think about how glad I am this is almost over and maybe I should reward myself with a little chocolate. I’ll be honest, I didn’t hear much about what he was saying at this point…as I said before…I suck at money stuff). I am snapped out of my reverie by two things…Taxpert saying, “So this brings us to the good news…” while simultaneously Urpling starting to cry. I look down and she’s gulping rapidly and the horror sets in. “Are you going to puke?!” I exclaim in horror. Immediately several things happen. Sir Smiley and Taxpert cease all conversation and stare at Urpling and I as I tilt her back and cup my hand under her chin. The partially digested orange juice from this morning begins to flow from her mouth as Sir Smiley races to the garbage can. But here is where the third awesome thing about our CPA comes in. He reacts immediately and runs to get us some paper towels and helps to clean up the mess as we slowly hold her over the garbage can. She pukes so strongly it even comes out her nose. The OJ vomit is now all over her shirt, my shirt, my hands and arms, her hair. It was mortifying. Needless to say, by the time we cleaned it all up…it had taken the wind out of poor Taxpert’s sails as he tells us about the sizable refund we will be getting this year. It was definitely good news. So long story short…our CPA rocks, but even with his awesomeness, taxes still makes people puke.

Mommy’s Day Off…a repris

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I’m sure you are all just dying to know how my “day off” went…especially after that oh so eloquent post about cutting loose and going with the flow. (See post here if you’re confused) Will I need to eat my words? Almost. It started off a little rocky. Sir Smiley had to leave for work early and so there was a lot of rushing around as I tried to make lunch for all of us (and his dinner) at the same time. Combine that with Urpling being inexplicably difficult. (Well, maybe not inexplicable as she always struggles with emotional outbursts…but this was excessive even for her). I manage to get everyone fed and the younger ones down for a nap and even get a shower in! Sasquatch manages to fall asleep right when everyone is waking up so she’s out of it. Then Urpling wakes up and she’s crying and feels very hot. So I go to take her temp. As I go to take it I hear splashing and glance over to see King Toot having a grand old time splashing in the toilet. Scrub him down thoroughly and then back to taking the temp. 103.6. Awesome. Urpling is still crying and wailing so I take her out to the living room and set her down on the couch. I turn around to get her a blanket and notice King Toot is now sucking on the spout of the hand soap from the bathroom. *sigh. I take that from him and he screams in indignation as he flings himself face down on the floor. Urpling is still wailing. So I get some M&MS out and bribe them all to silence with chocolate candies and The Incredibles.

Amazingly…it works. King Toot calms down and plays happily on the floor. Both girls curl up in my lap for OVER AN HOUR! Then it’s some classy McDonalds and we all settled into watch Sleeping Beauty where I then get to watch the girls twirl and dance to the music. All in all, it was a good day. Just need to delete those twenty minute in the middle and it would be perfect…