Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Road trips with minions are never boring….hair-raising, loud, and stressful maybe, but never boring. The tallish minion and I have come up with a game. When we’re in the car for a long time, we work on our dream house.

Our dream house is entirely made up, and we decided that if we ever win the lottery, this is what we will build. Every trip we add rooms, colors, decorations, pets, and anything else we can come up with.

It’s going to be a rainbow of color, because we just can’t agree on anything. Since there are so many rooms, it is a sprawling structure with several wings. There will be a lime and black zebra wall, a turquoise wall, and an entirely mirrored wall, as well as sides of every other jewel-tone there is. Hot pink trim will grace the entire thing…which includes turrets.

Inside will be rooms to suit any taste, and we will rent them out like a hotel. When you book a room, you don’t book by a number, you book by style. Victorian Powder Room, anyone?

The minion has a few rooms added that will take some ingenuity. A treehouse room that has to be an actual treehouse is on the list. A treehouse with access to the rest of the house by slide, zipline, and rope ladder.

There will be two ballrooms. One of the traditional kind, for dancing, modeled (of course) after Beauty and the Beast, Disney version. Another will be a ballroom in the literal sense. No furniture, the entire room will be a ball pit. Plastic colored balls. With a disco ball chandelier, round mirrors on every wall, and port-hole windows. The walls in here will be yellow with pink polka-dots.

Of course there will be an indoor pool, shaped like a crescent moon, and a star-shaped hot-tub. The gym will have all the traditional equipment, except in neon colors. A ballet barre will line one wall, and a gymnastics mat will stretch through the center.

The playground room will be just like it sounds. Think McDonald’s, without the creepy clown and the hamburger dude.

I have (silently) decided on a fully stocked bar. A gameroom will probably go well with that.

The minions both voted for a movie theater.

The list of pets is almost as long as the list of rooms. There will be ferrets and flying squirrels, one naked cat, a team of huskies, fainting pygmy goats, and ponies. Outside there will be a small zoo with ring-tailed lemurs, a few monkeys, and a Zebra named Zed.

One wall of the kitchen will be the side of the salt-water aquarium with the dolphins. They will be trained to let the minions ride, and they won’t eat fish…that would be “soo friggin’ gross.”

The whole structure must be on stilts, since we took a trip to Corpus and the tallish minion became fascinated by the houses on sticks.

I’ve decided that this is all feasible. I just need to win the lottery a few times, get a fairy godmother, and find some magic beans.

   The shortish minion has been telling me for 2 years now, quite insistently, that he is big enough to play baseball. Well, this year it finally happened! By the time Little League Season rolled around, he was 28 pounds of 4 year old All-Star just waiting to happen…he was FINALLY big enough.

   The shortest little guy out there, he strutted out there for Opening Ceremonies with his chest puffed out, his hat on crooked, and his knee-length team shirt tucked into his big-boy baseball pants. He proudly stood for all the right moments, and led his team out onto the field when they announced the littlest Patriots’ names.

   Head held high, he sat through the rest of the team’s being introduced, then RAN as fast as he could for the gate that led back to Momma. He wanted his jacket, he wanted a drink, and he wanted some chicken.

   We went to DQ to kill the hour between the Ceremonies and his FIRST GAME EVER.

   While there, I asked if he was ready. He looked at me blankly for a moment, then said “Momma we already DID go do T-Ball.”

   Apparently he thought all the practice, the uniform, and all the other baseball hoopla was in preparation for that one walk across the field with his team. He was done. He came, he waved, he conquered. I had to convince him that there was more to it than that easy-peasy stroll.

   Once we got to the field, his excitement returned and he puffed out his chest, donned his too-big crooked hat, and took to the field.

   When the little Patriots took to the field for the first time, the shortish minion marched himself out onto the field, straight to the pitcher’s mound. There, he set his feet, readied his glove, and glared a challenge at the pitcher…a first grader who looked at him like a stray cat that had wandered up.

   The coach convinced him to go to the outfield, where he danced the rest of the game.

   In between the dancing in the outfield, there was the best part…the part with the bat. They put a too-big helmet on his tiny head (really, they think these will actually help prevent an injury in a game where the kids don’t even get pitched to?) and sent him on his way. My little leftie lined up his feet, hefted his bat, SWUNG with all his might, and sent the ball sailing towards the pitcher.

   That’s when my little All-Star dropped the bat and took off running with all his might…after the ball.

   He raced the pitcher for that ball with coaches and fans trying to figure out whether they were laughing or yelling instructions at him. The pitcher was a bigger boy and sent the shortish one off in the right direction, too stunned to tag him. He recovered and tossed the ball to the first baseman, who ran after my child, who was running with glee, giant helmet bobbing around on his head. He looked like a Bobble-Head doll for someone’s dashboard.

   His next turn at bat, he raced the pitcher for the ball again, and finally figured out what to do on the third chance.

   That third time turned out to be the charm. He took off for first, high-fived his coach, and listened patiently to the instructions to run to second. He nodded understanding, the coach turned his attention to the batter, and my son took off running for his life towards second. He almost stole his first base…he’d missed the little detail about waiting for the batter.

   When he finally got to run for second for real, he encountered a first-grader determined to tag him. They crashed, went end over end, and my son promptly quit the game.

   I’ve talked him into trying again for the next game, after promising that baseball isn’t normally a tackle sport, and letting him speculate that Batman would have beaten up that bigger boy.

  

It started with a simple desire to do a little cleaning while the tallish minion was in school, and the smallish one was on vacation with his dad. Nothing major, just a little Spring Cleaning without their input and hysterics when I tossed half of the 137 stuffies in the donation bag and threw out a few dozen Happy Meal boxes.

It ended with a destroyed kitchen, a pickup with the bed overflowing, and a storage room emptied and repurposed. Throw in a sprained knee, 9 new bruises, and a sore back. Add the help of two WONDERFUL friends.

The ultimate result was that the minions’ shared room became the tallish one’s room, and the storage room became the smallish one’s room. He finally has a room of his VERY OWN, and the video I have of him screaming I LOVE IT is completely worth the hassle.

I thought I was done for a while, except for the storage stuff purged into the kitchen and the poor truck that needed emptied.

I was wrong.

The first night gave me a new respect for nurses in nursing homes where each grumpy patient has a call button. One needed medicine, the other chocolate milk. While I was in the opposite room, Orange Kitty decided to somehow unplug the smallish one’s TV. Screaming ensues.

While I’m fixing the TV, the tallish one shrieks from her room. The medicine I’d just given her included some oil for an ear infection, complete with cotton ball. The panic was…”my cotton ball just got lost down my ear and is stuck in my throat.”

Ummm…

I fished the cotton ball out of her sheets, assured her that cotton balls will NOT travel from her ear to anywhere else inside her. This was about the time something touched the back of my knee.

I screamed, she screamed, and her little brother bolted, yelling “I just wanted night-night kisses!!!”

Sometime a couple hours past bedtime, I finally peeked in on two snoring minions, in their own beds, in their own rooms. It was a tough decision not to take a photo of each, because they were just too darn cute…I’m pretty sure the flash would have woken them up and worn out the cuteness real quick.

 

Travelling with minions is not for the weak. Murphey, or Newton, or whichever smart guy of the olden days said “whatever can go wrong, will,” nailed it.

I took a trip this past week to Corpus, with some friends and of course the tallish and smallish minions. They loved it, I loved it, I’m pretty sure I’ve dissuaded at least one friend from ever having kids…and I learned a few travelling lessons along the way.

Be sure you pack at least one backpack of “things to do” for each child. A shared bag of entertainment is unacceptable, and not nearly big enough. You need, at a minimum, gadgets with apps, chargers for said gadgets, coloring books and crayons, games, a digital camera, something that plays music…and be prepared to still have to give up your cell phone.

The trip WILL take twice as long as you plan. Takes 11 hours to get there (and you know this because you’ve done it more than once)? Nope. Better plan to get there in about 24, including camping out at a budget motel somewhere along the way, parked next to a pedophile van, trying to dissuade your friends from telling ghost stories about haunted motels.

Avoid pizza places. They ALL have games and money-sucker machines that are irresistible to minions.

Bring trash bags. You’ll discover a ton of different uses, besides the fact that 2 minions on a road trip can create more trash than a family of 4 in a week. It WILL rain, and you can put your luggage (suitcases and all) in big trash bags for the back of the pickup. Put extra pillows and blankets in one, because there will be some point on the trip that it will become necessary to create one giant pallet full of sleeping little ones in the back of the cab.

…wait. Everyone travels in a pickup, right?

Then, you should also brace yourself for the music. No matter that there are 2 tablets, an mp3 player, a couple of iPods, and 14 pairs of earphones floating around…you WILL be giving up radio rights. You WILL be listening to Kidz Bop for hours on end, and you WILL memorize the Gummy Bear song before you get home.

When you’re at your destination, driving around exploring and taking photos, the local police will pull you over for making a sudden uTurn for a shot of the Shrimp Crossing sign you just spotted. And when said cop hits his lights, your minions (who have memorized Despicable Me 2) will “be a siren” for him by yelling “beedo, beedo, beedo…” until you threaten them with jail time. Thankfully, lots of cops in touristy towns are pretty patient with tourists.

…or they feel sorry for the poor idiots hauling around the Beedo Kids.

You’ll also need snacks. 37 bags of chips, 20 suckers, a container of trail mix, some doughnuts, crackers, apples and bananas, and assorted cookies. You have to resist the temptation to mix sedatives into the snacks. It’s frowned upon…although I’m not sure I understand why.

I also don’t understand where this new gray hair suddenly came from…

Image

   I haven’t really taken a vacation since I’ve had minions. I’ve taken a long weekend here and there, and I’ve packed them up and shipped them to Grandma for a few days at a time.

   I’ve discovered that packing them up for an entire week, a whole relaxing, travel-across-Texas, kind of vacation, is a lot like trying to repack a bean-bag when you get too curious about what’s in there. If you’ve ever opened up a bean bag chair and watched thousands of little Styrofoam bits go flying in all directions, sticking to everything BUT the inside of the bag, then you might have come close to the experience I just had.

   I pulled the smallish minion out of his Angry Birds backpack (yes, he fits) twice, his sister’s Peace Sign bag once, and my own suitcase half a dozen times. He Unpacked his backpack once, refilling it with Hot Wheels…this is when I discovered that he has enough little cars to more than fill a standard backpack. I repacked it, put the cars away, and turned around to find him stashing powdered sugar donuts in amongst his clothes.

   Then there was his sister. The tallish minion insisted (at least in the beginning) on packing for herself. I agreed, on the condition that I get to inspect the bag when she was done. The contents of said bag were as follows: seven (yes. Seven.) swimsuits, 4 pairs of shorts, 12 tank tops, 2 pajama bottoms (no tops), 3 pairs of shoes, a single pair of panties, no socks, her Kindle, cowboy boots, and a double-handful of ponytail holders.

   Of course she threw a fit when I had to tweak her packing just a little bit. During the fit, the smallish minion (suspiciously quiet this whole time), came strolling through in his Incredibles undies, rolling a squirming Angry Birds backpack.

   I rescued Orange Kitty from his bag, and repacked his powdered-sugared clothes. Then I hid both their bags. I packed mine a few times, because I had to keep dragging children out of it. I’m pretty sure the trip will require a Wal-Mart run, because I KNOW I forgot something vital. Just not sure yet what that something is…

It’s that time of year again. The time the tallish minion shows up waving around the much-anticipated Little League form. Time to bust out the Barbie bat and pink glove, locate a handful of the 137 practice balls that are floating around here somewhere, and get our big girl panties on…because “there’s NO CRYING in baseball.”
That’s my mantra through March and April every year…and by May, I give up because I’m usually crying by then, too. The minion thinks that baseball is the greatest sport ever for the first few practices and about the 3rd game. Then, someone gets stung by a bee, sunburns, or gets sore and tired of running, and suddenly it’s all my fault for signing her up for baseball yet again.
THIS YEAR though, it’s going to be a whole new ballgame. Pun intended.
The smallish minion has been telling me for two years that “Momma, I big enough to play batheball.”
This year, he is finally big enough for real. And a hand-me-down Barbie bat just ain’t gonna cut it. So, I am in search of a Batman bat, which I am pretty sure they don’t make, and a smaller than extra-small glove, because the smallish minion is tiny.
He also wants real baseball pants, which I am pretty sure don’t come in toddler sizes; and cleats, which I am pretty sure would land someone in the emergency room somehow. He has allowed that in the absence of cleats, his new (smooth-bottomed) cowboy boots shall work nicely.
I’m not sure who his coach will be this year, but I hope it’s someone with the patience of a saint. I coached the last two years…and I am now braving the world of single-parenting with an extra job and an EMT class. So when I was asked to coach again, I laughed and laughed. Then I ran.
So, whoever tackles the role that resembles herding Patriot-clad cats has my respect, and my sympathy. I guess I should warn them that my son is a leftie…
BW Set 5

   Potty training. What fun.

   See, I thought I had that one down in a “been there, done that” kind of way. The bigger minion had a few minor hiccups in the whole potty-training scenario, but no major issues. Once we bought some Tinkerbell undies that she didn’t want soiled, we were golden.

   I carried this cavalier attitude right into the training of the littler minion, thinking this would be a piece of cake…after all, “boys are easier,” right?

   Nope.

   I figured the whole peeing standing up thing would work in my favor.

   Nope.

   I thought that the boy would be like his sister in hating the feel of wet clothes on tender tushies.

   Nope.

   My first challenge was teaching him he could undergo the necessary actions without having to sit down, or even completely take his pants down. Well…it’s not like I could demonstrate!

   So the first few “Go Potty” attempts were sitting down on the potty, “Girl Style.” Well, what I didn’t think about ahead of time was the basic anatomy of a boy-child. Apparently a sitting position lines them up perfectly to shoot up and out, instead of down into the potty. He shot the sink across the room. I cried. He laughed.

   We abandoned the sitting down idea.

   Living in the country, well-meaning advice stated to let him go on the porch. Aim at a cat. Try to hit a bug…little things to make it a big outdoor manly adventure. So we took the issue outdoors. This only resulted in me and my son standing on the porch, staring forlornly at each other, his pants around his knees.

   Fast-forward an eternity, and we’ve about got the basics down. He’ll go outside, he’ll go to our potty and those of places he’s familiar with. He’s terrified of the automatic flushers provided at Wal-Mart. We have some accidents, but it’s getting better.

   Until a few days ago. We’re at our second home, and his practically-adopted big sister took him to the bathroom. He stood on her feet to reach. Apparently stage fright took over and after a long pause, he looks up at her with those big puppy-dog eyes and says, “It’s broken.”

My son has a radar…

There is apparently a silent alarm that goes off somewhere in his little head when the following happens:

  • Mommy sits at the computer
  • Mommy has a deadline looming in the very near future
  • Mommy thinks he is asleep and runs a bath
  • Mommy kisses daddy

This alarm sounds and immediately spurs him into action…it is suddenly time to either have a walleyed hissy fit or climb something. If the alarm sounds after bedtime, it is his cue to come running out of his room like a banshee on cocaine, careening across the hardwood driving a popcorn popper machine with an Easter bucket on his head.

This is what I deal with every minute of every day…even “at work.”

…an amazing occurrence, considering that both are hidden at least 5 feet from the floor every night as a part of the bedtime ritual. The bedtime ritual that includes 4 hugs, 3 “I lub you’s”, and 2 kisses on each cheek (ours and his).

The Deadline Radar is the worst, especially considering that my “office” is in the living room. Working from home is great in theory, and to those who argue that I “am so lucky” are right in that I don’t have to pay $45 a day for childcare. However, have you ever tried to complete a college-level essay on dental procedures with a two-year-old IN the chair behind you, drawing on your neck with a Sharpie and playing Angry Birds on your ringing cell phone?

It’s no wonder I’m crazy…

Any of you work from home? What are your coping mechanisms?

There are a few things that They forgot to tell me about having a kid in school. Now that my oldest minion is in first grade, the school supply list is apparently an important thing…and quite specific. They also neglected to mention that as fun as school supply shopping sounds, it’s not for the faint of heart.

By the way, They are the same They who forgot to send home my owner’s manual when I left the hospital with my newborn minions…

A few days ago, I took my daughter shopping for school supplies…realizing too late that I’d arrived at Wal-Mart at 5pm on a Friday, and not just any Friday but the last one of the month a week after school supply lists were released.

So I was in Wally World with a few thousand other people on the same mission I was. I stood in a knot of people vying for the last Batman Backpack, thanking the powers that be for giving me a girl…there was an abundance of Hello Kitty.

She was worried about being the only child in class without all the “right” stuff. It reminded me of a conversation I’d had with her midway through Pre-K, where she informed me that she needed some Sketchers. I’d replied that she had tons of shoes in every style imaginable.

“But MOM,” she wailed, “do you WANT me to have no friends!?”

I was catapulted back in time to somewhere in junior high to the day I realized I was the only one in class without the socially-required shiny new Trapper Keeper. She got the Sketchers, and I’ve wondered since why that particular Tween-angst vice had to start so early.

Couldn’t they wait until junior high or even high school to start worrying about these things??

Thanks to my own sympathy in the situation, we spent two hours in Wal-Mart last week, searching out the perfect supplies. Who knew that something as simple as a spiral notebook would require ten minutes of pondering what might be coolest this year?

I spent a couple minutes explaining to some clueless woman that the “2 8CT Crayons” on her list meant “two boxes of crayons that have 8 in EACH box” and not some special new-age Crayola 2.0 that the stores must have sold out of.

I dodged 6 children under the age of 4 (Where is your mother!?), and one Yorkie (Seriously, in Wal-Mart?).

There’s a bruise on my hip from the third shopping-cart hit-and-run.

Half my paycheck disappeared across a pile of supplies that I can’t imagine are absolutely necessary. I mean, come on…zip-lock bags have been on the list since Pre-K, and my child has come home with something in a baggie maybe twice. 20 or so kids in class, the boxes all contain around 20 bags, so what are these teachers doing with the 400 zip-lock bags each year???

I also learned an important lesson. When it was all over, and I was scrubbing my hands with Germ-X in the parking lot and wishing I had bought some aspirin, I looked over at my daughter’s beaming face and realized something…it was totally worth it.

 

Originally printed (by me!!!) in the Briscoe County News.

www.briscoecountynewsonline.com

The first part of the news is exciting…

The Diva has a wiggly, wobbly tooth! She is excited about this, can’t keep her hands out of her mouth…and isn’t even bothered by the fact that eating pizza is suddenly damn near impossible. Looming in the near future is the first visit from the Tooth Fairy!

Great news, right?

Yeah, for everyone but the freakin’ stand-in Tooth Fairy…because our resident TF just happens to be in another state for a week.

See, a long time ago, the Guru and I made a pact. He would be the primary tooth puller. Wiggly teeth are HIS department, not mine.

Why? Because I just flat can’t handle it.

Yes, I was trained as an EMT and worked as a sports trainer for a college football team. I’ve worked wrecks that made cops throw up behind their cars. I’ve performed CPR on the top of moving gurneys in scenes straight out of movies. Broken bone trying to escape your leg? Nope, it doesn’t even faze me.

Blood is cool, not icky.

I can skin a deer. I don’t particularly care for snakes and mice and spiders, but they don’t actually scare me. I watch Criminal Minds, Bones, and CSI in fascination.

So I consider myself a pretty tough girl, in these things…iron stomach and all that.

However, there are three things in this world that actually do completely, totally scare the Bejeezus out of me:

  1. Clowns, and dolls dressed as clowns (yes clowns, the smiling, happy, kid-loving party-going do-gooders…evil bastards).
  2. Scorpions (again, evil). I used to turn down dates if the man was a Scorpio.
  3. Wiggly teeth.

My own personal Hell would be running barefoot through a field of scorpions, chased by a kid yelling “look, it wiggles!” …with a clown cheering from the sidelines, laughing maniacally. In the background the Titanic soundtrack will be playing on loop for eternity.

But anyway…

If there is any kind soul with Tooth Fairy experience in the West Texas area who wouldn’t mind being on-call for the next few days, you have the chance here to be a real hero…

Anyone???