Mine turn?

Moms tend to claim that we get Mother’s Day because labour is the worst. It’s pretty bad, but I’ll tell you the real reason: bath time.

I quietly tiptoe upstairs on a Saturday for a little relaxation in the tub. My expectations are not high, just 15 minutes or so to soak and unwind in the calm ambiance of the bathtub.

Alone.

I clear out the hodge podge of bath toys and turn on the water. No need for bubbles, I know this won’t be a long soak (see how resigned realistic I am?).

No time for the water wheel today
No time for the water wheel today

Just as I get in a little face peeks through the door (how did I forget to lock it?) and chirps sweetly: “I, too?”

I tell Little that it’s just Mommy’s turn.

“I soon?”

Sure, you’re next. Close the door.

He pulls the door shut and I presume he goes off to play. That is until I turn on the hot water and hear a muffled tiny voice ask, “mine turn now?”

No, not yet.

I now realize he is standing right outside the door. Any time I make any noise he inquires: “mine turn?”

No, just rinsing my hair.

“I turn now?”

Nope, just dropped my razor.

“I go now?”

No, soon. Still bathing.

“Mommy, me go? Now?”

Pretty soon.

“I go?”

That was just your brother flushing a toilet somewhere else in the house.

“Mine turn? Mommy?”

Nope, toilet again.

“I come in?”

I think a brother just got a drink.

I keep my head under water hoping for the illusion of isolation, but fun fact: you can still hear someone opening and closing all the dresser drawers. Repeatedly. With vigor.

I pretend not to hear the slamming and convince myself I won’t discover my underwear strewn around the room. Or on his head. Or both.  I’m pretty sure I hear him nosing around in my jewellery box, but those macaroni necklaces will just have to sacrifice themselves for my inner peace.

The sound of the water draining from the tub is like a rally cry. He scurries back to the door to ask one more time: “Mine turn? Now?”

Yes, Little, your turn.

Thrilled, he strips himself down (something he has vowed to be unable to do, I won’t forget that slip-up, you’re on your own now with your coat, buddy) and clamours into the tub.

That lobster looks suspicious
No bath is complete without a lobster

“I no need soap, Mommy. No wash my hair.”

Apparently, Little has learned that sometimes tub time is not about the bath itself.

——

Bath time – is it a family affair at your house or a peaceful oasis?

Advertisements

Releasing Your Inner Toddler

Toddlers are smart.

They can bring a top negotiator to their knees with stubborn persistence alone. They can hold adults hostage merely by refusing to pee on the potty. They can bring a grown woman to tears by simply insisting that their socks feel “funny”.

Recently I decided to test some of their better known tactics out for myself. After all, despite repeated redirection, our toddler keeps trying. There must be some sort of payoff.

Our Little regularly flops to the floor in a sad heap if he’s been told not to dip his cheese in his juice cup. When he insists he can put his boot on himself and you comply by backing off, he’ll toss himself to the ground because you listened to him.

What if grown-ups handled their frustration that way?

My internet connection went down before I could update my status.
My internet connection went down before I could update my status.
No one folded the laundry for me.
No one folded the laundry for me.
Someone forgot to flush the toilet. Again.
Someone forgot to flush the toilet. Again.
He would't stop playing with the light switch.
He wouldn’t stop playing with the light switch.
4YO left the bathroom light on.
4YO left the bathroom light on.
My coffee cooled off before I could finish it.
My coffee cooled off before I could finish it.

Our toddler has many super powers – check out his other tactics here.

—————-

Your turn – what frustrates you most? Have you tried the toddler approach yet? It doesn’t solve anything, but surprisingly does make you feel better.

A Whole New World

Life can be challenging when you are little. All the good stuff is stored just out of your reach. Would you like to go play in the basement? Sure, but who will turn the light on? You’d like to help yourself to some gum, but it’s tucked away up in cupboard. Thanks to the step stool, you can reach the sink to wash your hands, but what fun is that? If only that step stool was portable. Yes, if you could move it around to the location of your desire, life would be so good – all those things you’ve longed for would be attainable. It would be shining, shimmering, even, dare I say, splendid?

No one could tell you “no” or where to go. Or say you’re only dreaming. It would be a whole new world of possibilities. The new sights – did you know they have a candy jar up there? Indescribable feelings when you discover the pens and pencils that have been waiting for you. Probably one hundred thousand different things to see from your new vantage point.

I’m not sure who invented the portable step stool, but he or she is the hero of every child shorter than the counter top.

Stand amazed at my might power. This step stool and I cannot be defeated.
Stand amazed at my might. This step stool and I cannot be defeated.
See how I deftly move it with just my foot. THE POWER!
See how I deftly move it with just my foot. THE POWER!
Nothing is out of my reach now. Bwahahaha.
Nothing is out of my reach now. Bwahahaha.
She now has a portable "thinking spot". I did not think this through.
She now has a portable “thinking spot”. I did not think this through.

Serenity Now

It’s a cool summer morning in August. The family is spending some laidback time at home catching up on some chores and starting the day slow and easy.

Mom serenely ties party favours with ribbon, anticipating the fun of the birthday party the next day. The four boys hover nearby watching her deftly curl the yellow ribbon on each package. She demonstrates the technique for the oldest son and encourages his efforts to try his hand at it. The brothers stare on in amazement as she turns out ribbon after ribbon of perfect(ish) curls. Excited banter about the upcoming party ensues: the pinata, the pizza, the games. Everyone is smiling, everyone loves each other and maybe someone starts humming “Kumbaya”.

Then the toddler spies a package of Angry Birds Gummies.

Highly addictive. May induce temper tantrums.
Highly addictive. May induce temper tantrums.

Mom gently responds to the toddlers demands for high fructose deliciousness:

“Those are for tomorrow.”

“Later, you can have a treat later.”

“Not now, treats are later.”

“I wonder what Daddy is doing? Is he outside?”

“I WONder where DAddy could be?”

“I think he might be moving rocks. Bet he could use a couple helpers. Shhh, listen, he IS moving rocks.”

“Who wants to dig for worms?”

Nope. The toddler will not be moved. Neither will any of the other three boys. Once digging for worms has Mommy’s approval, it loses all its appeal.

Mom brushes stray hair out of her face, regroups to finish the party favours, takes a deep breath and —

“Ok, what’s that smell?”

Thus begins the “Dance of the Diaper Change” which follows the same pattern every time: Accusation, Denial, Avoidance, Retrieval, Capture, Cleansing, Clenched Teeth Utterances, and Release.

The sound of a toddler protesting a diaper change is a siren call to the brothers. Suddenly, it is of the utmost importance to find out if they can have iPad time that afternoon. Or to locate a certain Pokemon card. Or to nail down the exact time and menu for Snack. Or to ask for help counting the money in their piggybanks (because nothing reminds you that you have a jar full of coins to tally like the smell of poo).

This day is like all the rest, and the moment Toddler Son starts his war cry, one brother is at Mom’s side asking questions in a very soft voice, another cries at the bottom of the stairs, while the third loudly denies any culpability in making anyone cry. So naturally, Mom leans over the banister and kindly, but authoritatively says:

“STOP CRYING I KNOW YOU ARE FAKING AND WHATEVER YOU DID TO HIM WAS NOT OKAY I CANNOT ANSWER YOU RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I AM DEALING WITH POOP STOP WIGGLING AROUND AND LET ME CLEAN YOUR FOOT EVERYONE JUST STOP YELLING.”

And then it is (mostly) quiet.

Oh, the windows are wide open.

Bearded Husband chooses 2 minutes after this exchange to return to the house and glibly remark, “Oh, that was you, I thought the crazy mom came by to visit.”

To which Mom calmly replies with expansive hand gestures, “Let me paint you a picture…”

—–

Ever have a moment that made your eye twitch? Share.

Let’s go for a “Walk”

“We’re going for a walk – get your shoes!”

I feel that instruction is pretty clear. We are about to embark in a jaunt around the neighbourhood and all you need to do is wear some shoes (crocs, sandals, runners, I am not picky).

I said “walk”, right? Oldest son decides to ride his scooter. Number 2 barely agreed to put shoes on and is sullenly waiting on the driveway. Number 3 wants his bike. No, wait, the wagon. No, no, his bike. Hold on, nope, the Little Tykes car. Toddler opts for this beat up 20 year-old push-train. I have tried to pitch that thing numerous times, but some small person always comes to its rescue. It whistles. IT WHISTLES WHEN YOU MOVE IT. And it looks like I snagged it from the side of the road. For the record, I did not. It was a kind hand-me-down from friends when our oldest was born (but it looks really sketchy now).

The Littles on wheels.
The Littles on wheels.
The little engine that will not give up despite my best efforts.
The little engine that will not give up despite my best attempts at sabotage.

We’re off to go around the corner. That’s all. Just killing some time before dinner. The Bigs take the lead and go ahead. I’m back with the Littles. Both are quite enthusiastic about the walk, especially since they are using equipment. This excitement lasts until we pass the third house. Better take a break and catch our breath from that intense shuffling. Go on without us, Bigs, we’ll catch up.

After we rally, Number 3 decides it’s just too much effort to “drive” his car so he is going to get out and push. I kindly start pushing it for him until he spots a weak moment and jumps back in and “lets” me push him in it. Parenting fail. But I plod on because he is having a really good time and won’t fit in there much longer.

I'll just lift my feet so we can go faster.
Let me help, I’ll lift my feet up.

At this point, the Bigs are a small dot on the horizon. We need to speed things up a bit. Toddler is unhappy with his train’s performance, so he decides to push it. Good choice, he’s much faster, but the whistle’s intensity matches the speed. It’s loud.

Turns out, that train is more cumbersome than originally thought, so toddler abandons it on the sidewalk. The Bigs are barely visible. I grab the train in one hand, push the car with the other, when toddler says, “Back! Back!” (translation: “piggyback, please, my sweet, beautiful mommy”). No.

Anyone see the Bigs? Anyone? 

Next time, I’m just lacing up my runners and anyone who spots me sneaking out of the house can join in.

Your turn – riding toys – love ’em? Hate ’em? Bit of both?

Now You See Him, Now You Don’t

The toddler has the amazing ability to disappear in the blink of an eye. He accomplishes this by merely not making eye contact. Don’t believe me? See if you can spot him below.

"Please put your shoes away."
“Please put your shoes away.”

See what I mean? Vanished.

All I said was, "Let's change your diaper" and he was gone in a flash.
“Let’s change your diaper.”

He can even disappear at church.

"All done with water."
“All done with water.”

And he can use his super power in any room, to avoid any chore.

"Let's put your cup away."
“Let’s put your cup away.”

Yup, any chore.

"Time to clean up the toys."
“Time to clean up the toys.”

Or any perceived unpleasantness.

"Mommy's turn with the toothbrush."
“Mommy’s turn with the toothbrush.”

Toddler son might outgrow this ability, only time will tell. His dad and I are just hoping he can turn things around and use this gift for good.

Why Mommy Needs Wine Most Nights

Our dinner table often resembles the opening segment of “The View”, but with small interrupting boys instead of loud, interrupting women. Recently the boys were discussing good artists they know. That is to say, their teachers. The almost 4 year old does not like to be left out. What follows is his contribution to the discussion.

A4YO: Mrs. Winston draws good pictures, too.

Me: Who is Mrs. Winston?

A4YO: You know, Mrs. Winston.

Me: Who is Mrs. Winston? Is she from church?

A4YO: No. Not church.

Hubs: At preschool?

A4YO: No. (insert condescending chuckle)

Me: I’m wondering about this Mrs. Winston. Is she at the boys’ school? (sidebar to older brothers reveals no such person exists at the local public school).

A4YO: You know, Mrs. Winston.

I’m beginning to suspect this Mrs. Winston is completely made up and sad that it took me this long to figure it out.

Me: Tell me more about this Mrs. Winston.

A4YO: The one who lives with JACOB (slightly exasperated, definitely incredulous that I am unaware of the elusive Mrs. Winston).

Me: Who is Jacob?

A4YO: He lives with Mrs. Winston.

Me: I got that part, but who is Jacob?

A4YO: The one in the red shirt! (obviously)

Me: Ok, but who is this Mrs. Winston who lives with Ja—……who wants dessert?

I know when I’m beaten.

———

Sometimes you let them win, but sometimes you have truth on your side. I now offer you Example B.

We’re in the van on the way to SportChek. A4YO announces that busses are really a truck.

Me: Well, they LOOK big like a truck, but they’re not, they’re a form of transportation

A4YO: Actualleeeeey, no. They are a truck.

Me: Nope. They are a type of vehicle.

A4YO: Well, actualleeeeeey, they are a truck.

Me: You might think they are a truck, but they are a different vehicle.

A4YO: Actualleeeeeeey, they really are trucks.

Me: A truck would carry cargo or something, busses are for people. Vehicle.

A4YO: No, actualleeeeeey, you’re wrong.

Me: You think I’m wrong, but I’m right. Vehicle.

A4YO: I know, they are trucks.

Me: You can keep saying it, but it doesn’t make it true. Type of vehicle. (insert slightly hysterical sing-song voice).

A4YO: Actualleeeeey, no. You’re wrong.

Actually, I’m just going to accept that a preschooler’s mind cannot be changed. Even in the face of indisputable truth.