Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Potty Training Season

Another thing I can add to the list of things I never thought I'd do...sitting on the floor with my legs straddled around the toilet base cheering on children to pee and/or poo in exchange for M&M's.

I would describe myself as somewhat of a prim and proper type when it comes to personal space and hygenic habits.  I am not one to use the bathroom facilities with the door open, or walk around the gym locker room half dressed.  So it is a strange sensation to be sitting with another human being, albeit a small one, and be so up close and personal. 

This is different than changing diapers, this is probably the final big thing I need to teach the kids before they are pretty much self sufficient.
1. They can feed themselves; like a monkey does, but the nutrition does make it's intended destination.
2.  They can clean themselves, if you don't take into consideration the large amounts of soap vs. the amount  of water and rinse time ratio.
3.They can make their needs known verbally; you won't see them hosting any tv. shows soon, but if you get them to repeat and point enough and use some basic charades mannerisims, communication is achievable.

The ability to listen to their bodie's need to excrete toxins is the final frontier in being a fairly well rounded individual.  Sure they will be a diamond in the rough, but once you can manage to not soil yourself in a public setting, the world's doors suddenly open up to you.

They can gain entrance to the best pre-schools, travel suddenly becomes do-able because diapers are a thing of the past.  Friends without children will offer invitations for you to come over now that the chance of accidents on thier antique furniture has gone down dramatically.  Relatives you haven't heard from since the infant days are now willing to take the kids for an afternoon or even overnight.

This is the missing piece of the puzzle, this is when you really graduate and get your "humanity card", when you can control your bladder and bowels, you can control the world.

It will be one of the most important gifts I will present to them, one they will use late into their adult lives, until they get old and the circle of life completes itself with the need for Depends. 

Yes it is a dirty job, yes it tests my privacy boundries, and yet I do it with the pride that comes from knowing I will be releasing a respectable human being into the world and they will not make doo-doo where they should not. 

The next time you are out in public and surrounded by people who are managing their bodily functions, you need to send up a little prayer of recognition, gratitude and appreciation, because somewhere there was a parent who spent many a day on the cold hard floor of  life teaching their charges how and where to leave the "remains of the day" and that makes life a little bit nicer for everyone, everywhere.

You are most welcome.


Friday, September 18, 2009

I like you, I really like you!

The last day of summer, and I felt like "ruffles"

The Little Mermaid really is too "little" and this was her swan song.

When I visualised being a mother, I knew I would "love" my children. What I didn't fully comprehend was the power that love would have over me. It is an all consuming energy that is with you every second you are alive from the time you first touch them.

My children are in my thoughts every moment I am awake and even invade my dreams at night. I wonder if they are warm enough, hungry, safe, comfortable, bored, happy, sad, mad, do they feel loved?

This has to be what all parents feel, what I didn't expect was how much I would genuinely like them as people.

I have to say that in Lil Dude, I have found a kindred spirit that feels like we were cut from the same cloth. At the advanced age of 27 months old, I see a natural charm, sensitivity, empathy, and devilish sense of humor all bubbling to the surface.

We already have inside jokes with one another; he was up in the tower of a play area at McDonalds and was banging on the window to get my attention, then he proceeded to re-enact scenes from some of his favorite shows ala charades and I mimic it back to him and we both crack up.

I am head over heels for this boy, he is my little man.

My little empress is a different personality from me, but she fascinates me just the same. She possess' a fine mind and wants to analyze and figure things out. She wants to be in control of everything only to then use that control to take care of everyone around her. She still wants to be a "baby" and when her guard is down, she wants to be held and stroked and whispered to with loving words.

Someone really should warn you before you have kids, that there is no love to compare it to, just brace yourself to be overwhelmed with the feelings that encircle you and actually change you into a different person than who you started out to be.

It is a good thing...but somebody really should warn you.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lord Help Me, I am living with mimics

Who knew that blended in with their own evolving personalities I would be smacked in the face with a good taste of my own vocal outbursts, mannerisms and yes even sarcasm.

The talking has been growing by leaps and bounds, new words and expressions are slipping from their little mouths so frequently it is hard to keep up with the evolving vocabulary and comprehension they are showing us on a daily basis.

Today during a tense moment of trying to cook lunch, post an ad on Craig's List and balance two toddlers on my lap....I chose to expel a long and exasperated breath, a sigh if you will. Lil Dude did it to near perfection not a 1/2 second later and then he blessed me with it 3 more times.

A little later Aubriana was eating a piece of home made banana bread we had all prepared together when she spilled it on the family room carpet(as is her nightly ritual,to gather food and spill repeatedly, apparently the carpet fibers blended in with the nightly snack add that certain something my original recipe is lacking). As I was bending down to re-claim the food off the floor I uttered in a semi-disgusted tone "Good God"..1/2 second later Lil Dude reiterates it perfectly and even his sweet child voice showed the strain and frustration I had in my original utterance.

I knew this would eventually happen, I'd have to re-learn the way I express myself, but as a life long sarcastic smart a**, this is not a change I think will come easy, if at all.

Do I want toddlers walking around grumbling like Red Fox, Archie Bunker, Mae West or George Burns? No, but I've been talking like those people and worse for decades. How can an emotional outburst give the satisfaction of expressing one's strongest emotions when it is watered down to such a weak substitution i.e. "Sugar, Honey, Iced Tea" or "Fudge Rucker", "Whitches", "Son of a Bunch", "Frig o ramma". They just don't release the pent up frustrations like the original words they must replace.

This is part of the evolution of parent hood, we think we are affecting them, but in truth, they are here to teach us.

Lesson learned you little Mother lovers.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Old School Mama

When did raising children become such a HANDLE WITH EXTREME CARE AT ALL TIMES OR THOU WILLST BE JUDGED affair?

I acknowledge that I am an "older" parent; one who was raised to "shake it off" when injured, ride your bike everywhere (just call when you get there), play outside until the street lights come on, drink from the hose, stay out and play no matter hunger, thirst or pain type of gal.

We survived 2ND degree sun burns, cuts and wounds, bangs to the head all without visits to the E.R. There was lack of proper vitamin intake, Spaghettio's was our favorite vegetable, the park was filled with rusty metal equipment, an old plane body where we crawled deep into the fuselage hidden in darkness and told deep secrets to our friends. Somehow living without a personal television, stereo, radio, cell phone, and plethora of electronic toys was survivable.

We could turn an old box into a car, house, ambulance, garbage truck or any other vehicle real or futuristic we imagined. Many of our favorite toys came from Texaco with a full tank of gas. One give away was little plastic animals from Noah's Arc, each of which was inventively named by my brothers and me by simply adding a "y" to the end of each said animal i.e. Skunky, Elephanty, Hippopatumusy, Snakey etc.

We watched the Banana Splits, Three Stooges and Looney Tunes cartoons and were even allowed to see the commercials. The big adult show was Johnny Carson, and even this we watched from the hallway lying on our sides to get a glimpse of what was making the adults laugh so heartily.

I bring all this up , because it has come to my attention, that parents today are SO uptight about their children. What they eat, drink, see, learn, who they play with, what is considered "safe" and over-scheduling them in classes and sports to help them to compete in futures so far away that I wager most psychics and Magic 8 Balls would say in unison "TOO SOON TO TELL, ASK AGAIN LATER".

As an example, we went out to breakfast and dinner today. At breakfast, the waitress busily cleared all glasses, sugar bowls, jellies and butter knives from the table. I wanted one or more of each of those items as did my husband (and the kids for that matter). I asked her why she was punishing us, and she stated that most people don't want anything breakable or sharp near the kids. I nodded and noted the thermos of hot coffee on the table (for which there was no sugar).

I let our kids drink from actual glasses, and if they are encouraged to use a fork, what more damage can a butter knife do? I had to wonder about the jelly, because this is great fun to stack and knock down while waiting for your meal (and the kids like that too). My kids have even been known to eat one or three, because they are yummy and who needs all the carbs from bread anyhow?

After our meal, the kids like to clean up the joint by pushing the carpet duster and hand the busboys dishes from our table and any other tables that may need busing. I have no fear they are going to catch a disease or get dirty, and I like that they want to help people and understand that work is nothing to be ashamed of at any level. They think the cooks, servers, and busboys are like superheros, and they are. Thank G*d for people who are willing to do the menial and unrewarding jobs out there, they make our everyday existence pretty nice.

My son recognizes the American Flag, and whenever he points to one I say "God Bless America" and he echoes with his version "Bleez Merika". I want him to be proud of his country and honor it, but when he said this near a lady outside of McDonalds, she looked at me like I was teaching him to say "Sieg Heil"

Then we went to dinner, where the kids had energy to burn so afterwards we took their little cars into the mall, which had been closed for over an hour and let them ride up and down the elevators pushing buttons, and screaming to hear their own voices echo, and then while riding their cars the length of the mall we found the deserted ice rink with the doors open. We often watch Hockey games here and they love it, when we were showing them the ice rink they wanted to venture onto the ice so we let them walk on the ice. They were so excited to experience the feel of the cold ice on their hands and slide around in their sneakers, the looks on their faces were priceless. They were squealing so loud an employee came out who was closing up and told us due to liability issues, we had to get off the ice. Thank you sue happy people and lawyers who in the name of "safety" have made having fun a rarer and limited event.

We were leaving the mall and close to the exit doors were the escalators which were turned off. The kids thought it was great fun to go up and down the "stairs". Gary was following them up and down, but by the third time he was not as close to them as before (his assistance was not really necessary anyway, the kids had it under control). They went up one set and he followed them up the other (they are side by side). When the kids got to the top and ready to come down he was about 5 feet behind them and suddenly several restaurant customers were telling the kids to "wait, freeze, where are your parents, does anyone know who these children belong to?"
It was becoming a little "worrisome" for these people and a crowd started to gather. Gary said "they are with me" very calmly and the looks coming from these people were as if they had witnessed some sort of abusive behavior.

Now I realize our kids don't match us physically and people are wary and conditioned to assume the worst, but honestly people, for the most part with the exception of the random weirdo out there, unless your surname is Trump, Rockefeller, Winfrey, or Gates, NOBODY WANTS YOUR CHILDREN!

Parenting has got to be one of the hardest, beat you till your down, crush your will to go on, thankless, volunteer jobs that exists. The only thing worse might be someone who volunteers to dig latrines in a foreign country, and I bet the recipients of said latrines are pretty darned grateful compared to kids.

My children are always in my line of vision, but I DO allow them to have the freedom of movement without being attached to me every second of the day. This has actually encouraged them for some strange reason to not challenge space issues and therefore they usually stay in very close proximity. I have had numerous people stop my Chinese daughter to help her find her mother when I am 5 feet behind her.

The alarmists I keep running into are usually younger, 35 and under. They truly believe someone is waiting around every corner to take a child.
In this country, even in these times, we are actually a pretty safe society. We are so safe that the media has to come up with all this B.S. nonsense to scare us into thinking we are not safe. You can' t watch the news without hearing that tomatoes and peanut butter are killing the masses. Now your flip flops are out to get you too.

I guess what I am trying to say is, relax. loosen up, life is filled with unplanned occurrences some good, some bad but NONE foreseeable; I would rather raise my children to be proud, independent and fearless than try to keep them protected from reality and fears that are unwarranted and most often, beyond human control.

I better go get Lil Dude off the roof now, he was installing a flag pole and re-directing the satellite dish.

Relax and enjoy your Labor Day.