How to Live with Toddlers

How to Live With Toddlers

Living with two children aged 4 and under, I can now say I know what it is like to live with miniature assholes. (It’s okay to say that you know. I don’t actually refer to my children as assholes…well at least not to their face). 2-4 year olds are the absolute worst. Sure they can be cute, and loving, and awesome, but they literally can do NOTHING on their own. They need help with everything and sometimes they give up trying all together. There is nothing worse than trying to dress your 2 year old when they have gone all “limp noodle” on you. They also spend most of their day in tears or causing others to be. And the screaming, my gosh the screaming. My kids scream for everything-food, toys, just because. It is the closest I’ll ever be to living in an insane asylum. Now I know I can’t be the only one who hides in the pantry to get away from their toddlers, so I have thought of some ways to make life a tad bit easier. You’re welcome.

1) Toddler snacks are really your snacks. When I am hiding in my pantry I sometimes like to eat my toddler’s snacks. I feel so much better just sitting on my step stool and slamming a Bear Paw. It’s almost like a little payback or “I’ll get back at you for that tantrum. We shall see how funny it is when all your animal crackers are gone.” Try it. Completely liberating. Plus who are we kidding? I totally buy Teddy Grahams for myself to eat when the kids go to bed.

2) Stop cleaning. Seriously. I have found Kraft Dinner is much easier to pick up off the floor when it has dried. Those Cheerios scattered all over your floor will get eaten eventually. Secretly just throw your kids shitty McDonald’s toys/half crayons/any toy that has annoying music, in the trash when they go to bed. They’ll never know. You will get so used to the fingerprints all over your windows that you won’t remember a time when they weren’t there. Embrace the aisles of scattered Legos and Hot Wheels in your living room. It’s good exercise to try and squat and lunge around those death machines so you don’t kill yourself stepping on them.

3) Enforce naptime like your life depends on it. Both my boys nap right after lunch whether they want to or not. No negotiation. No, “but I’m not tired”. My response is always the same, “lie down and pretend you are.” Those 2 hours are what gets me through life at this point. Don’t try and clean or even shower. No one likes a martyr. Lie on the couch and sleep or watch TV. They invented Febreeze and deodorant for moms with young children.

4) Stop worrying about mealtime. Realize now that your toddlers will most likely only eat bread, so just tell yourself that they are getting all their fruits and veggies at daycare and your job is simply to get through a meal without it being thrown on the floor. Throw in those Flintstones vitamins and you’re golden. Cereal, popsicles, and yogurt tubes are also great fillers to keep your kids entertained while you cry your way through your salad.

5) Life is not a fashion show. Little kids, especially boys, only like sweatpants and shirts with cartoon characters on them. Stop trying to dress them in suspenders and bow ties like they are off to a photo shoot. Velcro shoes, sweats, and ratty t-shirts are a toddler’s uniform. They shouldn’t even make jeans for children under 5. Well except for baby jeans; those are cute.

6) Divide and conquer. If you have more than one child it’s important to let your partner know that no matter what, if you leave the house, for any reason, you are to take one child with you. My boys are a thousand times more work when they are together (you know the lack of sharing, arguing, “it’s not fair” complaints, etc.). So separating them is not only ideal, but necessary. Going to get an oil change? Take a kid. Visiting a friend? Take a kid. Going golfing? Unless you are playing in The Masters, you are taking a kid. My husband and I don’t have a lot of rules for each other, but this is one of them and if I cry enough my husband will give in and take both kids. Just proves that he will do just about anything to get out of cleaning bathrooms (which I only clean because, well, husband, boys, urine…you get it).

7) Embrace cartoons. Accept them as part of your daily circuit. Cartoons are the ONLY reason I can shower and even then I usually have to yell something like, “I am still in here! Just wait until I get out. You better not be the one making your brother cry, but I know that you are.” You get the picture. I have certain shows PVR’d for emergency purposes and I’m not afraid to admit that Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood was how I potty trained my oldest (seriously You Tube the potty episode…you won’t be sorry). Child having a meltdown? Cartoons. Need to make dinner? Cartoons. Need to sleep off a hangover? Cartoons in the form of a movie. Bless you, Walt Disney. Bless you.

8) The word “no”. You will say it all day and so will your toddler. My youngest uses the word so much he now uses it as a response to most things. “Good Morning!” = “No”. “Let’s put away all your cars and go to the park”= “No” (but he means yes). “You are the cutest little thing!”= “No”. “Want a fruit snack?”= “No”….wait for it…”Yes please yes”. I think he co-wrote that Meghan Trainor song “No” as his name is in fact, no. He also screams the word as if he is on fire. I have tried to stop saying the word myself, but in panic mode to prevent a disaster, it just comes out. Except I usually throw in a few other choice words like “For the love of everything NO!!”, “What the hell? NO!!!”, or “FML…NO!!!” I guess he comes by it honestly.

9) Car Rides. My advice would be to not even attempt a long trip (and by long anything over an hour and a half). Have that wedding to attend this summer a 10 hour car ride away? Unless you leave your kids with someone else, you are not going. Until sedatives are legal for toddlers I am really not interested. If there is no way around it and you absolutely HAVE to go you should probably have the following on hand: Road snacks (a higher level up from regular snacks. So instead of dry Cheerios in a cup they get Froot Loops, instead of no name crackers they get Oreos, you get the idea), an assortment of cartoons (pull out the big guns here…Paw Patrol, PJ Masks, stay away from Arthur or that show that looks like they used graph paper to animate it), books, crayons, headphones (for both child and parent), and a triple dose of anti-depressants. You will most likely have to stop at a McDonald’s play place. Embrace it. Get that Big Mac…you’ve earned it. Whatever you do, don’t resort to putting in a cd of children’s music. Nothing will make you lose the will to live more than listening to “Wheels on the Bus” 47 times. Stay strong and remember that nothing lasts forever (well the memories might but I hear hypnotherapy works wonders).

10) Being in Public. Going anywhere with young children (even that quick trip to the grocery store) can turn disastrous almost instantly. Honestly, there is nothing worse than being in a crowded store with 2 screaming children. Even though accidents happen (poop explosion ’16 happened in a grocery cart) or misfortunate events (my son threw up in the middle of a crowded swimming pool) it is still not easy to handle with complete strangers watching (some of them with pity, others with looks of shock and horror). I do have certain rules for certain places. The grocery store: one treat per child that will be given out at the check-out lane while I spend most of the shopping trip threatening to take the treat away. Restaurants: will only go if there will be a grandparent in attendance. Toys R Us: hahahaha as if. Shopping malls: One has to be in a stroller and the other one on dad’s shoulders for a maximum time of 30 minutes. Make every attempt to avoid the foot court at all costs. Movie/Play/Concert: If you can’t sit in a seat for at least 20 minutes without crying/screaming/trying to escape, then you are not going. Doctor’s office: Well this is a must so I usually bring the I-pad and let my kids watch videos or they can bug all of the other patients in the office and destroy all the pamphlets in the waiting room. People find that adorable.

The good news is most people understand how unpredictable and sometimes volatile toddlers can be. I understand those feelings of never wanting to leave the house because it very well could end up being a disaster. But you must. You must take off your couch pants and slippers and enter the outside world with those precious little assholes of yours. And while you are home with them don’t forget how much eating a sleeve of Oreos or drinking wine out of a box can ease your pain. Take solace in the fact that toddlers are so cute for a reason. Well at least that is what people tell me.

CB

20 Things My Kids Cried Over This Week

20 Things My Kids Cried Over This Week

When you have small children there is a good chance that someone in your house is always crying (parent and kids alike). My boys cry All. THE. TIME. I can tolerate crying over reasonable things such as falling down and getting hurt or being scared. However, these reasons make up only 5% of the actual things my kids cry about. Here is a sample of the ridiculous things my children cried over this week.

My sons (they really are interchangeable here) cried because…

1) He wouldn’t wear his pj’s because the bear on his shirt wasn’t smiling.

2) He wanted to lick sidewalk chalk like a lollipop. I wouldn’t let him.

3) He didn’t want us to put his bread in the toaster. He wanted to eat it frozen. Didn’t eat it. Cried when it unthawed and wanted it frozen again.

4) I gave the blue plate to his brother and gave him the orange plate. Orange is his favourite colour, but not on plates.

5) I gave him milk that I had just put back in the fridge like an hour before. He said “it tastes like milk from breakfast.” Well I suppose that is true…

6) I wouldn’t let him have just ketchup as a meal.

7) His eggs tasted too “eggy”.

8) I didn’t give him the fish and steamed veggies from my plate to his plate of chicken nuggets and noodles. Gave him some and he cried because it didn’t taste like chicken nuggets and noodles.

9) I made him wear pants to preschool.

10) His granola bar looked squishy.

11) I wouldn’t let him put his fingers in an oscillating fan.

12) His pants don’t roll up the right way (they were shorts).

13) I told my older son that he looked cute with his coat and backpack on. He immediately took off said coat and backpack and cried. We need to work on what a compliment means.

14) He realized I sold a toy of his on Varage Sale (ok that is a legit reason to cry).

15) I wasn’t supplying a “2nd breakfast” shortly after “1st breakfast” was prepared, served, and thrown on the floor.

16) Brother and Sister Bear got in trouble for a bad case of the “greedy, galloping gimmies” in the Berenstain Bears book, which meant they could no longer have treats at the grocery store. He was afraid that would apply to him-he cried even harder when I said that it did.

17) I turned on the TV and Property Brothers came on instead on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I mean how DARE I change the channel. The TV should be on Disney Junior indefinitely.

18) He wanted to get out of the car first. Before me. The Driver. The one who needs to unbuckle his car seat and lift him OUT of the car.

19) My husband told our older son that he’ll get to look forward to having salad every day for lunch when he’s older (as he was making his salad for lunch) because that’s what adults eat. He cried because, “I don’t want to eat salad when I’m 40. You know how much I hate cucumbers”. Nothing like crying about something 36 years in the future.

20) I wouldn’t let him put the booger he just picked from HIS nose into MY mouth. For the love.

How to Decide on Baby #3

I have two kids. Both boys. They drive me insane. I long for a girl. I really want someone to go shopping with, go to musicals, have coffee dates and tea parties, you know girly shit. I realize I’ll make my boys do these things whether they want to or not, but I know it won’t be the same. I know that a girl would still call her mom after the age of 18, where my boys will probably forget I ever existed. Boys just don’t call their moms the way that girls do. Boys don’t tell their moms that they are their “best friend” when they are adults. My husband always comments on those contestants on reality shows who cry uncontrollably when they get to see a loved one after being on an island for like 20 days. He is always like, “I can go 3 months without talking to my mom, let alone seeing her. I don’t understand how they are so emotional over seeing their mom.” Case in point. A girl would miss her mom if she was stuck on an island filming a television show I’ll tell you that much.

Even though I hated every single moment of both pregnancies, had two C-sections (which totally suck by the way), had two very unhappy colicky newborns, who just so happened to be boys, it actually wasn’t a simple decision to decide on whether or not to have a 3rd baby. I mean I do love my boys and would certainly be happy to have another member added to our family (#blessed). And let’s be honest, I would relish the thought of having a girl. So for anyone who may be grappling with this decision here’s my “How To” list on deciding whether you should “pull the goalie” and go for it. (For the record, I hate that expression, but my husband used it so much the last few years it has become a part of my vernacular. My apologies.)

1) Age: When you have a pregnancy after the age of 35 they call it a geriatric pregnancy. GERIATRIC. Like as in old people. This factor alone makes me not want to. I mean I don’t have liver spots for goodness sake. I don’t order off the senior’s menu or spend my afternoons playing backgammon (although that would be pretty sweet). I certainly don’t feel like listening to my doctor use the word geriatric for the next 9 months. I’ll pass.

2) Pregnancy: I’ve said it already, but I literally hated every second/minute/hour of both pregnancies. That “glow” people talk about? Never had it. I was also the size of a large house with both boys and would often lie about my due date. People love to ask you when you are due and if you are carrying twins when you are pregnant and large, which is super awesome. It would be December and someone would ask if I was preparing for a “Christmas baby” and I’d be all like “Yeah might come the same night as Santa…hahaha”. Nope I was due in March. The last three months of my pregnancies I would routinely tell people that I was due “any day now”. Unless you are one of those people who you can’t even tell they are pregnant until the last month and then they look like a stunning Thyme Maternity model, you shouldn’t comment on how someone looks during pregnancy. The way that I was feeling when I was pregnant I would have seriously punched someone in the face if one more person asked me if “I was sure there was just one in there”.

3) The Birth: For some women birth is a magical experience. The birth of my 1st son was nothing short of traumatic. 12 hours of labour followed by an emergency C-section to cap off being awake for 48 hours. The. Worst. The recovery from that was enough to make me never want to go near my husband again let alone have another one. With my 2nd son it was a scheduled C-section, which is a cake walk in comparison, but still major surgery and still not a very fun recovery. The highlight of the birth of my 2nd son was more that it felt like a vacation where I didn’t have to cook or clean for a few days and get a break from my very active 2 year old. I also knew what to expect this time. The first time around my husband was so worried about his “sleeping arrangements” at the hospital that I just about killed him. The second time I told him it was about me and the baby and I don’t care if he doesn’t sleep for days because he is to be at my beckon call and change all of those meconium diapers. Thinking back those two days at the hospital were blissful. The actual birth part though, not so much. The doctor asked me three different times (while popping his head out of that curtain they put up) if I wanted to “close up the shop” since the hood was already up. Ugh is there not a better way to ask that or not at all?

4) Newborns: My experience with newborns has not been pleasant. My boys were horrendous newborns. My older son cried morning, noon, and night and was full of gas (he takes after his dad). Add in the fact that I had literally no idea what I was doing and it was nothing short of a disaster. A disaster that lasted 4 months. At this point I’m sure you are surprised that I even had a 2nd. I am too. I guess I’d rather just have another baby and stop all the questions of “When are you having another”? It seems like people like to ask that question like minutes after giving birth. Seriously? My next son was actually a worse newborn than my first. He threw up constantly and was a terrible eater (and believe me the jokes my husband always made that he was bulimic got old real fast). These memories are seared into my brain. Those months with my newborns were the most draining months of my life. The thought of doing that again….well I’d rather sell fruit at intersections. I know they grow out of it, but combine a pregnancy and newborn period and that is OVER A YEAR… and then there are all those years that come after that. As someone who is currently going through “the terrible two’s” for the third year in a row I’m not really sure that things are all that much better now.

5) Cost: In 2016 it’s expensive to have kids. Between daycare, school, sports, food, etc. I don’t think we could afford a 3rd. For real. Maybe I’m super selfish, but being able to go to Vegas for a long weekend or go on an all-inclusive vacation to get away from the children I do have, seems like a better use of my finances.

6) The Man Surgery: Well anyone whose husband has had a vasectomy knows that dealing with your husband after the fact is literally like going through having another baby. The moaning, crying, “take care of me” wailing, etc. is a tad ridiculous. Because you know what happened after my C-sections? I was handed a newborn that needs 24 hour care, not a weekend lying in bed watching sports. I was so annoyed with my husband by the end of the weekend I swear I could have given him the vasectomy myself.

7) Purging of the Baby Items: I kind of knew that perhaps I was done having kids when the minute my 2nd child outgrew something I had it on Varage Sale (virtual garage sale for those that don’t know about my addiction). Oh that shirt is too small? Sell it. Haven’t played with that toy in 3 days? Sold. I could not get rid of that shit fast enough. I swear there is nothing more rewarding than getting that oversized jumperoo out of the centre of my living room. Good riddance.

8) The 3rd Born: Now we need to state one very important fact here. I am a third born. Can you even imagine if my mom decided she was happy with her boy and girl? (yes she had one of both and decided to keep going). I know. Inconceivable. I think about that often. What if I don’t let the world in on what could be the dream child that so many 3rd children turn out to be? Then I realized that my 1st born is exactly like me and I’m not sure I want to roll the dice and have yet another Mini Me. I may be awesome, but I am also a lot to handle as my son proves to me on a daily basis. He may look like his dad, but that personality of his? All me and we both know it.

9) All Boys: One day I came back from the grocery store to find my husband and 2 boys sitting in their underwear (and diaper) watching golf on TV. That right there is all you need to know about why the thought of 4 males in my house terrifies me. Well that and realizing that my bathroom will always smell of urine.

10) House Full of Love: This reason right here is actually why this was even a decision in the first place. So far there are so many reasons not to, but this one right here would make it worth it. Girl, boy, whatever, it wouldn’t matter as long as we had another child to love. Shit. Sorry I am getting all soft and mushy mom here. I will resume my normal, sarcastic, cold hearted self. My apologies.

Ultimately after very little deliberation, my husband and I decided that our little family is perfect the way it is. (Dammit mushy mom again….I’ll quit I swear). I’ll just kidnap my nieces and make them do fun girly shit with their poor auntie who lives in a house full of boys and has to clean her bathrooms five times a day. Plus my husband is still insistent on having a child and naming him Frank. Yup safe to say that is a wrap on the “should we or shouldn’t we” debate. Case closed.

Up next: A special segment entitled “20 things my kids cried about this week”

CB