Fun at the Airport

Yesterday we experienced all the thrills and excitement that traveling with a small boy (SB) can offer.  If I could give any parents advice about traveling with a toddler, it would be this:

Don’t.

Ever.

Do it.

But sometimes you have to.

After a nice visit to Grammy and Grampy’s non-toddler proof house, I was relieved that everyone survived, nothing caught fire, and the dogs weren’t  too traumatized.  All in all, a successful trip.  Phew.

We got to the airport, kissed everyone good-bye, and stood waving at Grampy as he drove away with SB’s car seat that we forgot to take out of the back seat.  Pandemonium ensued.  Well, for me it did.  Read on.

I wish I could say that I’m calm under pressure like my husband (or Big Boy – BB).  He quietly called Grampy, and of course, of course, he didn’t answer. So the calmer BB got, the more flappy and, oh, shall we say…insane, I got.   All kinds of horrifying scenarios were racing through my head – Pulling a Britney Spears and driving all the way home with SB in my lap?  NO.  Waiting an hour and a half at the airport with a tired, cranky SB so that BB could drive home, get the other car seat and come back for us?  Oh my GOD.  NONONONONO!!!   We finally figured out a plan that involved borrowing a car seat when we landed, and my heart rate returned to fairly normal.  Phew.

Then we had to clear security.  Not a big deal, no line, SB managed to keep it together, and then they lost my flip-flop on the conveyer/x-ray belt.  How the HELL?  WHAT THE????  So now, we’re car seat-less and I have one shoe.  I was on the brink of saying things that would have had me led off by Airport Security, and then someone found the rogue flip flop up by the x-ray machine.

Ok.  Double phew.  Off to the gate.  SB’s still keeping it together and I’m slowly calming down again.

S**hit!  They’re boarding already?  The one time the airline is early and efficient, we’re nowhere near the (*@#&* gate.  So I end up in one row with both kids, and BB is a few rows up (he CLAIMS he didn’t nap.  Hmm.).  Luckily we sat in front of “the man who never stopped talking” (every flight has one of those), so no one noticed SB opening and closing the window flap for an hour and a half.

When we landed, I realized it was a full moon.  There was also lightening flashing in the distance – the perfect end to a horror movie kind of day.  Hitchcock couldn’t have made up anything more terrifying than traveling with a toddler.  Can anyone top this?  Let’s hear your horror stories, I know there’s a few more out there…

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Quitting Cold Turkey

At the rate we’re going, SB (small boy) will be around 37 by the time he’s potty trained.  He’s almost three now and the pressure is enormous – like if he’s not wearing underwear soon I’m going to be fired.  I can hear it now, “I’m sorry mama, but it’s just not working out.  I’m going to have to let you go”. 

 To add to my angst, all the kids on our street are either in the process or have been potty trained already, and it’s really starting to get on my nerves.  No one likes a show off, especially a show off in big kid underwear. 

Of course we’re the slackers – I was just starting to feel proud that he can take his pants off without falling down most of the time (just like me), but now the potty training cloud of shame is looming over our heads.

 When we get back from visiting family next week, we’re going cold turkey.  Sure, I’m all full of spunk and bravado now, but we’ll see who breaks first.  We’re going to try the “big boy underwear all the time” approach, rather than the “naked all the time” approach, because frankly – who the hell wants to clean that up?  Since I haven’t gotten around to putting in the cement floor with the drain/hose yet, I’d rather not have to deal with the naked thing.  Not going there.

There’s so much advice out there – the good, the bad, and the truly stupid.  Have him drink a lot of liquids, eat salty foods (I don’t get that one at all), pop him on to the potty every hour, use reverse psychology, pull ups, schlep around little mini potty’s, AARRRGHHH! 

Clearly having him stand in the cat box until he figures this out would be frowned upon, right?  And I’m not sure the authorities would like me putting him out in the yard with the dog…We’ve tried leading by example, but it’s a little unsettling to have the door fly open with SB offering me a sticker.  Although he is very proud of me for using the potty, so at least I’m doing something right.  Maybe he’ll only put me on probation instead of firing me?

So my plan for next week is to psych him up, screw the charts and stickers and just go for it.  I have promised him a HUGE toy if he figures this thing out, but again – at the rate we’re going, I’m not sure what kind of toy to buy a newly potty trained 37 year old. 

 Any advice?  Bring it on, we can use it – the good, the bad and the truly stupid…help me keep my job please!

Then and Now

It’s been almost a year since I left the thrilling world of shopping center management to be with SB (small boy) full time.  For those moms and/or dads who are contemplating making this change too, I thought I’d lay it out for you so you know what you’re in for.  For simplicity’s sake, I’m calling it Then (work) and Now (home).   I wanted to make a chart but I’m much too dumb to figure out how to make columns on this blog, so here goes:

How I’d spend my time:

Then:  I’d stride purposely around the office, making big important decisions (or so I thought) and saying things like, “I need to finish the electrical re-forecast before we can talk about Midnight Madness” (those are real things and they’re as weird as they sound), planning events that would rock the retail world (at least for a few people for a few hours) and doing lots of math (which I hated).

Now:  I spend a lot of time gluing eyes on rocks.

Then:  I’d leave for work looking fairly presentable – make up on BOTH eyes most of the time, matching shoes; clean clothes and I’d manage to beat my hair into something close to a style.

Now:  Make up?  I’m lucky if I get lotion on most of my face.  I’ve seriously left the house without shoes before, gotten all the way to the car with SB and then wondered why my feet were cold.  Clothes?  I live in yoga pants even though the last time I did yoga was, oh, 1,000 years ago.  Hair?  Yes.  It’s that tangly mess on the top of my head.

How I spent my free time:

Then:  Didn’t have any.

Now:  Still don’t have any.  What’s that about???

So after a lot of thought (ok, about three minutes), I’ve come to realize that there are pluses and minuses to both.  The good part about being at work during the day is that you’re not responsible for keeping people alive the entire time you’re there (usually).  The good part about being at home is there’s about a two hour window during nap-time where I can nap too if I’m lucky. I couldn’t get away with that at work too often.

I do miss talking to grown ups at work, but the more I think about it, there were a lot of grown ups that I would have hid under my desk from, if I wasn’t worried about being caught.  With SB, a lot of our conversations are redundant, but I’m bigger and I usually get my way – that rarely happened at work.

A downside is that by the time my husband (or Big Boy – BB) gets home I’m so happy to see him that I’m practically jumping around and wagging my tail.  A grown up!  And he won’t argue about why he can’t put his shoes on before his socks!  Yay!

And then I show him all the rock people we made.  Sigh.

Bribery – or – The “Reward System”

I find myself bribing SB (Small Boy) quite a bit these days.  At first I felt sort of guilty about it and would slink through the grocery store slipping him little toys – I must have looked like a drug dealer, talking out of the side of my mouth, sunglasses on…anything to keep him happy for 20 minutes so I could shop in peace.

Then, while we were standing in line one day, I had a spiritual awakening.  Or something like that.  I heard a mom tell her son, who was clearly not happy, “if you behave, you’ll earn a reward”.  A reward?  It’s not a bribe?  Hey, this could work!  So now we earn rewards – and I don’t have to feel like a total loser mom for bribing my son anymore.

I was giddy with the possibilities, and ok – maybe I got a little carried away, but who wouldn’t when faced with the chance to not be a loser mom?   I made charts, spreadsheets, bought stickers, more stickers and even more stickers.  Poster board?  Bring it on! I let SB decorate his charts, put his stickers on, and we were all very pleased with ourselves.  Then, tragedy struck – guess what happened?

SB got sick of stickers and charts, that’s what happened.  So now our dog spends a lot of time with stickers on her, and they’re EVERYWHERE – the floor, the couch, walls, our bed, the bathroom, you name it.  Between the stickers and the mini mosaic tiles stuck all over the place (who was the masochist who invented those?),  I truly don’t think it’s possible for our house to look any uglier.

Another drawback to the bribery/rewards plan is that every time we go somewhere now, SB expects a reward.  My husband (or Big Boy- BB), simply can’t understand how the Hot Wheels multiply like rabbits – but he doesn’t spend much time running errands with SB.  If it costs me 94 cents to buy a little car and push a happy, contented boy around the store, then it’s money well spent.  Or at least that’s what I try to tell BB.  He’s still pretty skeptical.

Clearly this is going to have to end soon, since I can’t really picture myself bribing a teenager with the promise of a new car, or an adult – “son, if you come to visit us we’ll buy you a new house”.  That would be a bit excessive, even for Southern California.

So we’ll have to start tapering off – I’m not real sure about how I’ll do that, but I’m going to figure out a way to reward myself this time.  No new cars for SB?  A massage for me.  That could work…

Does anyone else out there resort to bribery – I mean rewards?

How to Survive Tantrums (No Really – HOW??)

We’ve apparently entered the nuclear tantrum phase of the Terrible Twos.  Screaming, crying, throwing and during one thrilling episode recently, projectile vomiting. 

 The other night at bedtime he did something he wasn’t supposed to – after I said “don’t touch that” a few thousand times, he touched the forbidden object.  Drawing from my extensive Internet reading, I held my ground, turned off the light and said goodnight – no books.  That’ll show him who the mama is!

 My standing firm resulted in the dreaded Nuclear Tantrum Eruption.  Oh what fun…

 The screaming is deafening, but I figured out how to tune that out months ago.  Crying can tug at my heart but I’m rough and tough.  Throwing?  I duck.  But projectile vomiting?  Holy cow.  I thought I was on the set of the Exorcist and that he was going to float up to the ceiling. 

 So of course I went back to the Internet for advice, after taking an informal survey of the moms on my street. It appears that SB is the only kid on our block who’s figured out how to elevate tantrums into a horror movie.  I guess I should be proud of his creativity, but right now I’m too busy trying to get barf off the carpet.   I’m contemplating replacing the carpet in his room with concrete, installing a drain and simply hosing things down if this continues. 

 So back to the Internet.  Here’s the advice I found:

 Ignore the tantrums

Don’t ignore the tantrums

Distract him (how?  Really?)

 

And my favorite – hold him so he knows you care.  This won’t work for two reasons:  One, it would be like trying to hold an angry tiger, and two:  I don’t want to be near the barf eruption.  I draw the line at being mauled AND thrown up on at the same time. 

 I’d love to hear from anyone out there who’s been through this and survived.  And can you also recommend a good concrete company? 

Whining and Dining

Last night, as a special treat, we took SB (small boy) to a restaurant for dinner.  Not anywhere fancy with tiny portions and giant prices, just one of those tropical themed places with all you can eat French fries and lots of TV’s.  All day long I talked it up – how he had to be a good boy, listen to us, use his manners, not pick his nose (his new favorite pastime), and all the stuff parents say that kids instantly tune out…

Giddy with the thought of not having to eat at home,  we came prepared.  Here’s what I had in my purse to keep SB entertained:

Six toy cars

A helicopter

Buzz and Woody

A truck

Little M&M’s (the last resort)

My husband (or BB – big boy), also had his pockets loaded with toys, so we were cautiously optimistic.  Then I realized that that’s the phrase police always use right before things go terribly wrong.

So we sat down, ordered our drinks, and SB happily played with his crayons for about 30 seconds.  Then things started to go terribly wrong.  Go figure.

Here’s a sampling of what we said during our 45 minute eating frenzy (more civilized people would refer to it as “dinner”):

TURN AROUND RIGHT NOW (what is the never-ending allure of people sitting behind us? And of course they’re crabby and old and hate kids)

Sit down.

Get that crayon/french fry/straw out of your ear/nose!

Get out from under the table.

Put your shoes back on.

Ok, forget it, just give me your shoes.

Where’s the other shoe?

How did it get to the table behind us???

Sit down!!!!

Get your feet off the table.

Do NOT lick the table!

SIT DOWN!!!

DO NOT SMEAR THAT BOOGER ON THE WALL!!

 

And then we left.

As we were scrambling to escape before our server saw the carnage we left behind, we passed a table with four, count ‘em, four toddlers and two shell-shocked parents.  There were menus all over the floor, crayons flying and kids jumping everywhere – total chaos.

I felt great.

Sick Days…

SB (small boy) isn’t feeling well today.  Not sick enough to be in his bed sleeping, but just sick and crabby enough to make me wish I were oh, say, swimming in shark infested waters in a meat suit instead of being home with him.

So in an effort to soothe the SB (small beast), I took him to the toy store to pick out something to help get us through the day since it was too early for cocktails.  After he had a mini-meltdown when I vetoed the $70 garbage truck, he found this pretty cool little light up car with stickers.  Easy, right?  Wrong.

I needed to pick up a few things at the market, so after I wrestled him into the cart (always fun, even more lively when he’s in cranky terrorist mode), and off we went.  But – and here’s where the fun really began, apparently putting the stickers on the little car was much more important than buying groceries, so I had to stop every five feet to put a stupid *@#&@ sticker on.  And then tragedy struck – one of the stickers FOLDED IN HALF AND WE COULDN’T UNFOLD IT OHMYGOD!!!  Screaming ensued.  By SB, although I really wanted to join in.

And so we left.  Without groceries.

Now we’re back home and my master plan is slowly unfolding.  I’ve laced his juice with Benadryl to help with the runny nose and – let’s face it – get him to go to sleep, and rented a very annoying movie about talking chipmunks.  Snuggly pillow bed, and off to dreamy SB land.  My hope is that when he wakes up he won’t be acting like that kid in the Omen anymore, because I’d really hate to have to change his name to Damien.

The absolute worst part of sick days is that time drags by slower than when I’m on the treadmill at the gym.  I feel like a hostage in one of those old movies where they etch a mark for each day of captivity on the wall and stare longingly out the window, dreaming of freedom.  Right now it’s only noon and my husband (or BB – big boy) won’t get home until 6:30, which might as well be a million years away.

I may just invent the Benadryl Martini today.