Sunday, November 29, 2009
Oh, dear. What happened? Some time between now and 2 weeks ago, I dropped off the planet into a hyper-speed time warp. (I hope that is a reasonable fictional Sci-Fi reference. My IQ drops at least 50 points in the presence of SCI FI-ese.)

Anyway, it all started pleasantly enough when I took my 6-year old to the dentist. It was one of the proudest moments of my life. Then, I took him to school. Went home. Went back to pick him up. Found him with a mouth stuffed full of tissue paper trying to assuage the bleeding in his cheek.

Turns out he mutilated his cheek while it was numb. It is still unclear whether or not it was an act of defiance (the dentist warned him!), ignorance (did he not listen to the warning?), or just stupidity (did he choose to IGNORE the warning and big, fat do it anyway?); but either way, it was a major mess.

The good news, I think he'll think twice before refusing to brush his teeth. The bad news, 10 days of antibiotics (3X per day) and Tylenol with codeine, a face that I thought would never un-swell, and some pretty dramatic scaring on the inside of this cheek.

So, anyway, that was bad. Yes, but the fun continues.

The next trauma was watching the murder of my beloved laptop ("it was an accident"). I say murder, but really it was more like it slipped unknowingly (but firmly) into a coma from which it would awake.

Upon receiving an estimate (that cost me $120!) of $805 to fix it, I dug deep in my soul (read: wallet) to consider the hard questions in life. Ultimately, I decided that I believe in socialized medicine so I said a prayer and turned off life support. Rest in pieces, Pink Sony Vaio. You will be missed.

Fortunately, I also believe in reincarnation, capitalism, and the kindness of family. New Sony Vaio on the way! Thank you, Black Friday! (Oh, and my superbly talented, frugal, and technically savvy genius of a brother who located the right buy at the right time. Yeah!)

On the bright side, instead of wasting my time on Facebook, I read 6 books.

Wait, not done yet.

On Tuesday, I went to pick-up my son from school locking the door behind me. Upon returning 20 minutes later, I find that the lock has broken in the locked position. So, after calling the landlord who called the locksmith who called me back who came to drillout the lock, the kids and I stood around for about 2 hours waiting to get in to the house.

Because, it turns out, my door is 2 1/4" thick (not the standard, I guess) the owners need to either replace the front door OR order an expensive custom lock. So until that earth shattering decision is made, I'm left with a lock that only works from the outside. (So, I can get in, but once I'm in I can't lock it or get out if it is locked.) All I need now is a Lo Jack and I can start logging some house arrest time, just in case. (I believe in being efficient...should I ever need to do some time under house arrest.)

Oh, and then there was Thanksgiving. No more explanation required.

Finally, last night we promised the kids that we would take them to see the fantastic Christmas lights display at the local botanical gardens only to have my 3-year old daughter throw-up in my ear as she was being loaded in to the car to go. This resulted in the cancelation of the promised trip and a cross between enraged freakout and the silent treatment that only an experienced 6-year old can administer. Not to mention, a nasty mess to clean out of my ear which is quite a bit harder than it sounds.

Because I'm supposed to be offering tips or other handy parenting advice, here are the learnings from this crazy month:

  • Never take your child to the dentist. It is MUCH easier if you just let their rot and teeth fall out.
  • Don't be too quick to judge socialized medicine. It works!
  • Never lock your doors.
  • Always keep a supply of antibacterial gel (any brand) and Q-Tips (not the cheap, generic kind) in your car, bag, and/or pocket. Always.
Monday, November 16, 2009
My daughter is going through yet another "phase". It is a multi-faceted campaign designed at total parent annihilation.We are now in week 3 of the campaign and I think it might be working. The strategy is as follows:

  • From 7 am to 7 pm, make unreasonable demands such as hiding a pacifier and then asking Mommy to find it. An especially annoying variation is to hide the pacifier behind back while screaming for Mommy to "Find It!" Or, cry dramatically while asking for something unintelligibly. 
  • From 7 pm to 7 am, wake up Mommy by screaming that I'm cold, can't find my paci, want my light on, or some other ridiculous ruse at a minimum rate of three times per night.
  • Throw tantrums at a minimum of every 36 hours. Day or night. 
  • Refuse to eat. Period.
  • Refuse to bathe and, if made to bathe, have a tantrum over putting feet on bathmat.
  • Refuse to brush hair.
  • Refuse to cooperate for diaper changes, but refuse to wear underpants.
  • Perfect the pout, the scream, the "You're stupid", and the "I hate you, Mommy!"
The only thing I'm getting out of this is some good fodder for my getting paid-to-write job, but it is sooooo not worth it.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today is another landmark day on my parenting skills calendar: the day my 6-year old sat patiently and in extremely good humor while the dentist filled cavities in his teeth.

After learning 2 weeks ago the he needed several cavities filled, I've been almost paralyzed by fear of his reaction to the process. He has not had a great amount of success with probing, specialist treatments even though he is always cooperative at the doctors for basic stuff. Add to that the potential for his first grade peers to tell him about their experiences. I knew I was in for trouble.

Let's overlook the negligent parenting involved in the development in the cavities in the first place for a minute and bask in the florescent glow of the dentist's bulb so that I can pass on my tips for prepping a child for the visit to the dentist.

While I didn't harp on the topic, I did spend the past two weeks prepping for the big day and I think it paid off, so here's what I did:

  • First, I made VERY clear that he should COMPLETELY IGNORE everything that anyone, especially his friends, told him about going to the dentist. I told him to call the person a liar, cover his ears, then to scream and run away
  • Then, I told him that it DIDN'T HURT, but that he would feel a pinch near his teeth and that this was only to make the fun stuff happen...the fat, sense-less lip.
  • I explained that the doctor would put something on his gums that would make his mouth feel stranger than he'd ever flelt before, that he would not be able to smile properly, and that he would talk with a really silly lisp. I told him, in theory, someone could punch him in the cheek and that he wouldn't feel a thing (until it wore off, of course.)
  • I imitated the screeching whir of the "cavity remover" (i.e. drill) and said that he shouldn't be worried about it as long as he didn't move.
  • I also reminded him to close his eyes so that the water didn't splash his eyes.
When the big day came, he said that he was a little, tiny bit nervous, but he approached the magic chair with poise and charisma. Forty-five minutes later, he walked out with a mouth full of fillings and a fat lip. I was so proud.

The last thing I told him as we were heading out the door was that I had to pay exorbitantly for him to have so much fun and that I couldn't afford to do it again with Novocaine so he needed to BRUSH HIS TEETH!!!!!

Seemed to work like a charm. Whew! Hope he doesn't come home with a peer-induced fat lip.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
In the spirit of Bloggy Love and good Christian hospitality, TftT is thrilled to welcome an anonymous guest poster today. Please welcome her into your homes as you would your own house of prayer.

Hi! How was your Sunday? Oh, we haven't met? Sorry! I'm anonymous military spouse/disgruntled chapel-goer. Nice to meet you! I just know you're dying to hear all my thoughts on the chapel on base this fine Sunday morning, right?

I went down there this morning with my husband and two small children. We've tried all the English speaking churches around here and don't really like any of them. It didn't take long; there are only three. The chapel is really convenient, and roomy. There's all these families here now and they keep talking up how great it is for families now, lots of new housing, facilities and programs. I thought the chapel would be great, nice and welcoming, maybe with a nursery and/or Sunday school for the kids. Jesus loves the little children, right? There's even a song, for God's sake! I guess the chapel here didn't get the memo, because they obviously hate children and don't want them around at all.

There was no Sunday school or nursery at the service we went to, so we sat way in the back by ourselves. There weren't many people there, so we weren't bothering anyone. There is a little room in the back, intended for crying babies, but it appears to be full of musical equipment. Our two-year old isn't too good at going to church yet, so I took him out pretty quickly. At the end, I came back in to pick some tags off the Angel Tree so we can get some gifts for less fortunate children. While we were discussing why some kids need Angel Tree gifts, the almighty holy colonel in his shiny robe was making an enormous fuss in the back pew, calibrated precisely for our 'benefit': 'Cracker crumbs! Someone ate a cracker back here and there are crumbs all over!' Keep in mind there were less than ten people at the service and he knew exactly what he was doing.

Now, we try to pick up our crumbs wherever we go and don't make a habit of dropping cracker crumbs in church. Since I had taken the little one out while my husband stayed with the older one, we didn't notice the crumbs. Crackers were only eaten in church in the first place because there was no nursery. Is that really such a big deal? What is the chapel telling people when the boss man of the place acts like that? This is what it says to me:

  • Keep your grimy kids out of our church;
  • We don't care enough about our community to offer childcare or children's church so families can come;
  • The chapel floor is more important than a kid's feelings; and
  • Passive aggression is the way to go.
Is that what Jesus would do? I don't think so. He would definitely write a blog post about it, though.
Friday, November 6, 2009
How many times a day do your children ask for a snack? Once, twice, three times, more? Well, with two kids it's double the fun. One snack is two. Two snacks is four. And on and on and on and on ad infinitum.

Well, I've recently figured out something that smarter parents probably figured out ages ago. A new level of conditioning in the Pavlovian experiment we call "parenting". Here's how it works.

Each time your child asks for a snack, tell him/her that he/she can get it or he/she can wait for you to get it. At first, this will seem like a no-brainer to the child who will usually decide to wait rather than interrupt his/her "project". (As long as he/she doesn't have to wait too long mind you. And, in this one instance, you should not make him/her wait.)

When you get the snack, provide the child with a small, ultra-nutritious snack. When the child complains, and he/she will, let him/her know that he/she can have another snack once the first snack is finished. At this point, the child should dutifully eat the snack.

When the child comes back for more, say the same thing. "You can get it yourself or I will in a minute." Repeat the process from the first snack. (Small, ultra-nutritious. Another snack may be had after the given snack is finished.)

Repeat as needed until the child is full or realizes that he/she can get a better snack if he/she does it him/herself.

Once you have established this fact, the second part of the plan is to make the junk food increasingly hard to reach so that when the child gets his/her own snack, the only option is the "healthy" stuff.

Congratulations! You have now gained yourself at least an hour a day back in your life. Don't you feel younger already?
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Parents in captivity seem to lose their minds at a half-life of about one year per child. Factors that affect this rate of deterioration include parental ego, other parents' parenting practices, illness, availability of babysitters, spousal employment, and ease of access to a sense of humor.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
My son has suddenly started "spell speaking". Since he can't really spell yet it makes for some interesting comments. For example, he will spell a word and then ask me what the word is. So the conversation typically goes like this:

HIM: "Mommy, what does X-Y-O-N-A-N-F-H-W spell?"
ME: "Nothing."
HIM: "No! Tell me. What does it spell?"
ME: "Zee on anph hwa."
HIM: "Mommy, that's not a word."

The worst part is that my 3-year old tries to get in on the act as well. Same conversation. Different letters.

The other fun part is hearing the new colloquialisms re-tooled. Here are some of the more recent interpretations:

  • What the C?
  • I F-A-T you!
  • Oh, my G-O-B.
As you can see, it's time to clean up the household vernacular because one day soon, he's going to get it right.
ME: Good morning! What would you like for breakfast today?
BOTH: Candy.

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