Happy (Amused) Mamas Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Amused Mamas out there…and you know who you are: The mamas who get a painted rock and act like it’s a rare Picasso; the mamas who would sell their souls for a few minutes alone in the bathroom without small people pounding on the door, the mamas who talk about boogers and poop over margaritas with the other mamas, and the mamas who never run out of things to laugh at with their small boys and girls! Enjoy, hope you all got to sleep in or eat some chocolate without having to share :o)

Bedtime – Screwed Again

BB (Big Boy)’s putting SB to bed upstairs and I’m screwed again.  The only way to get past his room undetected is to either burrow under the carpet like a gopher and try to sneak by, or to crawl on my belly, Navy Seal-like, past his door and hope he doesn’t see me.  If I am spotted, it adds at least 15 minutes to the bedtime extravaganza.  Pray for me.  I’m going in.

Mr. Friendly

I’m happy, of course, that SB (small boy) is a friendly, outgoing little guy, but sometimes it’s a lot like living with a game show host.  Whenever we go to the park he’ll walk up to a kid and say, “Hi, what’s your name?” and then show them whatever toy we brought along.  Nine times out of ten the other kid will take the toy, and off they’ll go – a new friend!

But if the other kid’s not interested, SB goes into crazy stalker mode.  He simply can’t fathom how anyone wouldn’t want to play with him, so he’ll follow the poor kid around the park thrusting his toy at him, saying, “see?  SEE?”  And if they still won’t play with him, he’ll say, “Mama, what’s wrong with him?”  Oof.  And then he’ll go off and stalk another unsuspecting kid, until he either finds one who will play with him or they run away – which he takes as an invitation to chase them.   

A couple of weeks ago the house down the street was getting new carpet installed.  Mr. Friendly stood by the front window as the workers passed and greeted every one who walked by.  So I figured this was a good time for the “We Don’t Talk To Strangers” speech, but every time I tried to make a point I was countered with the ever popular, “why?” 

So how do you explain to a kid who’s in love with the world that we don’t talk to strangers because not all of them are nice?  First I started with telling him that some people are naughty (one of our favorite themes these days), and tried to tell him in a non-terrifying way that some people do bad things.  “Like biting?” asked SB.  Yes, I told him, like biting, but worse.  “Kicking? Hitting? THROWING??”(a big no-no at our house) Oy.  This was going nowhere fast.  So, like any good parent would, I let it go, thinking we’d talk about it some other time.

Oh no.  SB, in his obsessive little way, brought it up all night long.  “Is mama bad?”  “No, mama’s not bad.”  “But remember the time you threw that toy, mama?”  Dammit – I forgot about his elephant-like memory.   We discussed whether or not his friends from day care were bad.  Anyone who ever kicked, hit or bit him was discussed in detail.  I tried to change the subject and turned on the TV to distract him.  Success!  Phew.  I did it. 

Wrong.  The next day we were at the grocery store and he pointed to the woman in front of us at the checkout line, and said, rather loudly, “IS SHE BAD???”  I shushed him, but to no avail.  “IS HE BAD???”  God.  Get me the hell out of here right now, please, I’ll never swear again, I’ll go to temple more than one hour every year, we’ll feed the poor, just get me out of here!!

Of course now everyone’s suspect – SB’s world is filled with people who could potentially bite, kick or hit us.  Ironically, he’s the one who usually lands in time out for being naughty, but that’s not discussed.  Smart kid. 

 

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…

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?

The Big World Out There

Warning – this may not be that funny.  I was going to write a wildly insightful and witty post about the difference between moms and dads, but I’m going to save it for when my sense of humor comes back.   Because after what happened in Colorado over the weekend, I’m not feeling very jokey.
I’ve been thinking about this for the past couple of days – we live in a world that’s wonderful and amazing 90% of the time, but that other 10% where the demons get in – my God.  I try my best to keep SB (small boy) safe – slathering on the sunscreen; buckling him into a car seats that looks like it belongs on the space shuttle; baby proofing our house so no one can ever open a door or a cabinet again without an engineering degree; flame resistant pajamas; organic food, and the list goes on and on.
But, and this is a big one – how do you keep them safe from delusional madmen who shoot up movie theaters, or schools, or whatever the insane voices in their heads are telling them?  And how do you teach them to not talk to strangers without turning them into fearful, paranoid people?  How do you tell them that the world is a wonderful place, full of fantastic things to explore, great people to meet, interesting places to go, but that there’s a small percentage of people out there that are hell bent on hurting other people?
My heart shattered for the victims in Colorado, and their families – but also for the parents of the crazy guy who opened fire.  Can you imagine?  The debate about gun control will rage on forever, and I’m not going there, but how, HOW, was that guy able to buy 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the internet?  It’s mind-boggling.  I’m not good at feeling helpless, but how do you keep your kids and loved ones safe in a world where crazy people can buy whatever they want online?  It makes the sunscreen and car seats seem so feeble and pathetic in comparison. 
If anyone has any answers, I’d love to hear them.  In the meantime, I’ll keep the faith and maybe squeeze SB a little tighter.  And give someone you love a hug.  It can’t hurt.

Weenies. Who’s Got ‘Em, Who Doesn’t

(Caution – this post has the word weenie in it.  More than once – in fact, a lot. Kind of like my life these days).
SB has discovered his weenie, and I guess this is how things will be for the rest of his life.  First off, I have to admit that I’m pretty impressed with what the weenie can handle, what with the tugging, pulling, twisting, and occasional bath toy run over it.  Who knew? 
Then there’s the never ending discussions.  We talk about who has weenies, who doesn’t, why, and I have to say SB looks pretty disappointed that his dog/mama/stuffed panda/fire truck/the lady at the grocery store doesn’t have one.  It’s like there’s a random weenie survey constantly going through his mind, and the questions can start anytime, without warning – in line at Whole Foods the other day, he pointed at the (female cashier) and said, “Mama, she have a weenie?”  I explained that no, she doesn’t (low and mumbled under my breath while madly fumbling for my credit card and wondering which store we haven’t humiliated ourselves in lately or maybe I can just buy everything online and never leave the house again and be THAT lady on the street that all the kids avoid even at Halloween – AARGH!!), and SB gave her a look of profound pity.  Poor weenie-less cashier lady.
He also likes to say the word weenie, especially now that I’ve told him it’s really not a word to use while we’re out and about.  At home, all bets are off – between the weenie and  poo-poo talk, we’re not really in high demand at parties these days, but when we’re OUT IN PUBLIC AROUND NORMAL PEOPLE, we need to cut out the incessant weenie/poo-poo chats. 
So of course he talks about it even more.  If I ask a question and he either doesn’t want to answer or doesn’t know, he says, “weenie-poo-poo”.  Secretly I have to give him bonus points for combining the two Forbidden In Public words, but I pretend to be upset.   When I decide to join the working world again, I’ll have to remember this approach on conference calls when I’m stumped, but for now I believe the hermit/online shopping scheme might be the better way to go.