Category: lesson learned

A League Of Their Own

Small kids need to be kept active and engaged. This is especially true when they enter toddlerhood. So, as soon as we were able to, we signed B up for as many sports and sport classes as we could. We’ll do the same for J. Gotta get their participaction on, yo!

That's B, playing catcher at a t-Ball game.

That’s B, playing catcher at a T-Ball game.

The first team sport that we signed B up for was soccer. I honestly didn’t know what to expect.  I asked around before he started, and the general consensus that I got was to expect a lot of dandelion picking. I thought that sounded dumb….until about halfway into his first practice, I saw B sitting on the ground, plucking dandelions. This trend has continued throughout the years. Not just at soccer, but into other sports, too. I swear, in the middle of basketball one time, in the middle of winter, he somehow found a flower. Luckily, everyone was right, and other kids do have the same gardening interests. I can’t hate on that. However, I’ve also been around enough games and practices with B to make some other observations.  See, when it comes to sports, I’ve noticed that children tend to fall into one of the following categories:

THE FLIRT

Now, most kids fall into this group. They dutifully show up, and, despite your constant encouragement, spend more time goofing off than actually playing the sport. Then, just when you feel the same way that you felt at the end of the series finale of Dexter (annoyed, frustrated, regretful etc. Or maybe that was just me?), they’ll do something competent out of the blue, like score a goal or hit a nice shot. As a parent, this gets your hopes up, that perhaps your child ‘gets it’ now, and the rest of the season will be more productive…..but then they go right back to goofing off.  Aww, kids. They’re such teases.

THE PRODIGY

This is that naturally gifted, athletically advanced phenom who is waaay better than everyone else, and loves it. The 5 year old who easily goes end to end, and scores 25 goals a game at will. The 4 year old with the killer crossover and picture perfect jump shot. When you watch them, you picture a mini Gretzky/Ronaldo/Lebron…until you hear their parents screaming at them to stop picking their nose and eating it. Regardless, if you happen to have a PRODIGY on your child’s team, force your kid to befriend him or her. Teach them that being in an entourage is a lucrative profession. What? The PRODIGY is clearly going places in their life. One of their childhood buddies needs to drive them there, right?

MR/MS. CONGENIALITY

This kid has the same positive attitude as a prodigy, but lacks any of the required skill. They are the ones you see constantly tripping on their feet, or running head-first into other CONGENIALITIES. Despite their suckiness, they still happily follow instructions, and try real hard. If you have a FLIRT, you might as well point out a CONGENIALITY to them, because they could learn a thing or two about being a good sport.  Actually, that back-fired on us with B, at soccer. He would see the other go-getters raising their hands at whatever the coach asked, so he started doing it, too. Sometimes even before the coach finished his thought. It was like buzzing in for Jeopardy, before Alex Trebek had said the answer.  Anyway, B became that kid who was always the first only one to volunteer to sit off.  Good times, spending my Saturday mornings watching B gleefully sitting on his butt.

THE CRYER

CRYERS are like little walking time bombs. They show up, clinging to their parents. Eventually, they build up some courage to venture out onto their own. But then, something sets them off (ie. the grass is too green, the ice is too cold, the PRODIGY won’t pass to them), and the waterworks start flowing. They then spend the remaining time on the sidelines, quivering messes, clutching mommy or daddy. Until treat time, of course. Then the tears suddenly stop and they’re good to go again.

THE (WRONG) GAMER

This is the child who would much rather be playing anything else. They are probably there against their will, so they act accordingly. The soccer player who hates soccer. The T-ball player who likes to play video games only. You get the idea. They’re the only kid who knows what ‘non-refundable’ means, since their parents are trying to get their money’s worth for the all of the league and equipment costs. A (WRONG) GAMER will exert as little effort as possible and play with a constant scowl on their face, like their mean muggin’.

Yeah, that's the look right there.

Yeah, that’s the look right there.

Unlike the FLIRT, where there is a ray of sunlight behind the screwing around, with a (WRONG) GAMER, sorry mom and dad,  there’s no hope here.  They are also known as a ONE AND DONE, since they won’t be back next season.

THE DANNY ALMONTE

Uh oh! Somebody check the birth certificate!  Whereas a PRODIGY is head and shoulders, skill-wise, above the other kids on the team, a DANNY ALMONTE is literally head and shoulders above them.  Named after the dude who killed it in the Little League World Series one year, but was actually 14 years old, and not 12 like his parents said, they are not necessarily PRODIGIES per se.  They just appear to be bigger and older, which is used to their advantage. This causes you and the other parents mutter to each other about why this kid who is supposed to be six years old is wearing a training bra. Or has a mustache. Or something like that. Nonetheless, until discredited, they are there for the same reason as your child, so you have to be nice to them. It’s not their fault they hit puberty while in pre-school. Unless,  of course, you’re their parent and you did lie about their age. In that case….really? C’mon man.

I think that covers it.

Which category does your child belong in? For me, in my own totally non-biased opinion, B and J are definitely PRODIGIES, no doubt!

What?

They are!

Probably.

I’m accepting resumes for their future entourage members, by the way.  There’s only one job requirement, too – must like dandelions.

Ill Communication

At what point is a situation considered an emergency?

Seems simple enough, right? You get the sniffles, you probably don’t need to seek medical assistance. Your buddy shoots you in the groin with a potato gun from a close distance, you probably want to go get your groin checked out after.

As adults, we know enough about ourselves that when something is seriously wrong, we can take the appropriate course of action. Kids, however, until they reach a certain age, they ain’t like that. They are totally dependent on you. So when something is wrong with them, like an illness, they can’t communicate to you what needs to be done. It’s up to you, as a parent, to figure that out.

I’ve come to realize, that unless you’re a trained medical professional,  trying to take care of your unwell child is a lot of guesswork.  You analyze the symptoms, maybe talk to someone, Google some information, and attempt to take care of the situation.  At the end of the day, though, all you can really do is trust your parental instincts.  You’ve probably noticed by now that I’m learning this parenting stuff on the fly. My instincts are pretty sorry, no doubt, but luckily enough for me, K has enough for  both of us. So when something is wrong with B or J, we’ve guessed right more often than not. There’s really only been one instance where our instincts were wrong, and we should have went to the doctor sooner than we did (that’s a story for another day. Don’t worry, everybody was just fine).

But back to my original question – when is a situation an emergency then? Now that is always a tough call.  One time, with B, when he was less than a year old, he had a fever that kept skyrocketing.  K and I remembered some advice for fevers from our prenatal class, so we followed that. When his fever reached a certain level, like 104 degrees, we decided that we needed to go to the emergency room.  Turns out that the advice we got was apparently wrong, and we got a ‘WTF? Why did you do that?’ reaction from the nurses. That’s the besides the point, though (Do you mask a fever, or let it ride? No really, I have no clue. I’ve gotten conflicting answers).  That situation reached a level where it was an emergency.

On the other hand, there’s been a bunch of times where the kids were sick, and K and I had to debate whether a trip to the hospital was warranted, but ultimately decided against it. There’s no easy way around it. Every illness is different, and requires a different judgement call.

I can count on one hand the number of times where we’ve had to take B or J to the emergency room. The good thing is that each time, we didn’t walk out of the hospital feeling like we wasted the doctors’ and nurses’ time. That’s the other part of the equation; when you guess wrong, and your kid’s situation isn’t at the emergency level, so then you feel like a guilty, stupid burden on the healthcare system.  When we’re talking about your kid’s well-being, that obviously shouldn’t matter. It still sucks when the doctor pats you on the back and says to go home and make sure your child gets lost of rest, while they roll their eyes at you. And you definitely don’t want to get to the point where you are on a first name basis with the staff, due to your frequent visits at the slightest cough.

So between the guesswork and the totally justifiable irrational worrying about the nurses and doctors making fun of you, assessing what constitutes an emergency, isn’t easy, for real. I’ve mentioned before, that one of my fears when I’m by myself with B and J, is something bad happening to them.  It’s that fear of the unknown, just not knowing what I’d do, or how I’d react, or handle the problem.  It’s the fear of making the wrong decision, and what the consequences would be.  Situations can turn tragic quickly and easily.  Just scary thoughts, man.

Unfortunately, my parental instincts were put to the test a couple of weeks ago.

It was a routine Saturday. K had dinner plans with some friends, and I was just going to stay in with the kiddos. B and J were playing nicely together,  but then around 4:00pm, B barfed on the floor, out of nowhere. Awesome. I cleaned him up, then started to work on the floor, but then not long after, he barfed again. I figured it was something he ate, as he was acting like his normal self. Anyway, we threw him in the tub. K asked if she should cancel her plans. My decision? I told her nope. Go out, he’s probably fine, I’ll just keep an eye on him, I said. Anyway, we cleaned B up, got him dressed then told him to rest in his room. He proceeded to throw up again.  More cleaning up, but this time, I plopped him in our room. K again asked if she should stay home, and I again said nope, so she was on her way.

B drank some water and was watching TV on our bed, while I sort of entertained J.  Suddenly, he threw up again, all over our bed. I replaced the sheets, and grabbed a toy bucket, and told him to use that if he felt sick again. Within seconds, he threw up into the bucket. And then he did it again. I was super confused and worried by this point. He was whiny, but he was still talking to me coherently. He wasn’t burning up or anything like that, either, so I was still going with the idea that he must have eaten something that didn’t sit right.

J, however, was also starting to whine. Not because she was sick, but  because she was hungry. I quickly rushed to scrounge up something passable for dinner for her, and when I came back, there was more puke all over the bed.  While J happily sang and ate her food, I cleaned up B again, and replaced the bed sheets.  He threw up again into the bucket while I was doing this. I ran to get him some ice chips, which he refused to eat. Don’t blame him. From his perspective, the water I gave him didn’t go so well, so why would he trust me with anything else?

Not going to front, I had an overwhelming sense of panic come over me. This was bananas. Why was he throwing up so much? Where was it all coming from? My next (stupid) decision was that I needed to put J to bed, so I could worry only about B for the night. First, though, I figured that I’d call Telehealth (Telehealth is a service that we have in Canada, where you can call and talk to a registered nurse, and ask for health advice). While I was on the phone, I went to get PJs for J.  When I came back to our room,  B, who had been flat down on his stomach, bucket by his head, dry heaving into it, started rolling his eyes into the back of his head, like the wrestler the Undertaker. WTF! So between the eye rolling, and the Exorcist-level vomiting, I was freaked out to the extreme. B was not even making any sense. He was too sick to communicate clearly. He was just mumbling incoherently between the throwing up. His vomit also was changing colour. I cut the Telehealth nurse off and told her that I needed to get to a hospital.

But more decisions! How do I get to a hospital? I quickly estimated that by the time I called for an ambulance, and it got to our house, I could make a decent chunk of the way there myself, if I drove. So I scooped up J, put her in my car, scooped up B (who threw up all over me, and in the garage) loaded him up, and we were off.  I’ll tell you what, man,  alone with my thoughts, flying down the dark country roads, I was thinking of the most messed up things.  I was trying to figure out what was wrong with the poor kid, and all I could think of was maybe organ failure from dehydration, or maybe he was possessed, or maybe he caught some rare incurable disease. I was retracing my decisions and what I could have done differently. Just craziness. My heart was pounding like I don’t remember it ever pounding before.   I tried to converse with B, but he was barely audible. J was having the time of her life, go figure. Obliviously laughing and chatting away. And then she fell asleep randomly. I couldn’t get to the hospital soon enough…

I did call K, and filled her in on what was going on, and she met me at the children’s emergency entrance.  I took J to K’s mom, and hurried back to the hospital. Didn’t even notice my pants were covered in barf until K told me. The staff talked to us, ran some tests, gave B some medicine for the nausea and hooked him up to an IV, to get some fluids in him.  I’ve never simultaneously felt total relief but also like a failure, until seeing B with tubes sticking out of him while the IV machine beeped away.

The end result was that he caught a bad case of the flu, And was dehydrated.  We went home later that night, but had to come back the next day, as a precaution. That was it. Not the most dire situation, but still an emergency situation to me. Funny thing was, two other families with small kids were admitted and sent home within minutes, while we were at the hospital, in the rooms beside us. One with a supposed allergic reaction, one because their baby was a bit sick. Hey, better to err on the side of caution, I guess.

I can honestly tell you, though, that from that experience, and my questionable decision making, I’m a better parent because of it.  Clearly, the lesson learned is that K should never……eeeeever leave me alone with the kids again, right? Right?

Well...no, I guess not.

Well…no, I guess not.

Final note – the next day, yours truly was chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool, when,  suddenly, I  felt ill, and had to spend some quality time with the porcelain pool.  I stumbled back to our bed, where B was still on the mend, watching TV.

B – ‘Are you sick, daddy?’

M (moaning) – ‘Yeah, buddy, I threw up a lot just now.’

B – ‘You need a stuffy! That will make you feel better! Let me go get you one! Which one do you want?’

A stuffy is a stuffed animal. He took off to his room, and came back.

B – ‘Here daddy!’

He gave me his stuffed horse and Buzz Lightyear. And then he lied down beside me, holding his toy bear. Two sick homies,  in bed, watching Disney Junior, cuddling stuffies. Not gonna lie, as bad as I felt, I did feel a bit better then.

Yo, that answers my question. At what point is a situation an emergency? When even a stuffy can’t make it any better.

 

 

Da Shiznit

da shiznit

Da shiznit

 

B – ‘Can I wear underwear to bed?’
Me – ‘No. Sometimes you poop in your sleep. You need to wear a pullup.’
B – ‘No! I only poop in my sleep on Mondays, Fridays and Tuesdays!’
Me – ‘What about Saturdays and Sundays?’
B – ‘Yeah!’
Me – ‘And Wednesdays and Thursdays?’
B – ‘Yeah!’
Me – ‘So everyday?’
B – ‘No, I only poop on Mondays, birthday party days and Wednesdays!’
I had that exchange a couple of weeks ago with B. It was kind of cute. But every other time……poop ain’t cute, for real.

Alright, this is kind of cute.

Alright, this is kind of cute

 

 

It’s a part of life, a normal function of the body, blah, blah blah. It’s still disgusting, yo.

Back in the day, pre-children, whenever I’d hang with people who had babies, they were always considerate enough to change their kids’ diapers away from me. To be honest, if they hadn’t, I probably would have gotten all diva on them. All yelling and shaking my neck and taking off my fake nails if I was wearing fake nails for some weird reason, until they went into another room. Get that filthiness outta here!

And yup, I was one of those people who never changed a diaper in his life. Why would I? They weren’t my kids, and I’m not touching their excrement. I vaguely recall dry heaving at the sight of one diaper bomb years ago. Pretty sure I closed my eyes during pre-natal class when they showed pictures of the meconium bowel movement. We got a Diaper Genie at a baby shower. I had no clue what it was. I do know that if you rub it, a genie doesn’t come out. Stupid misleading product name.

Didn’t take any of the jokes seriously that people kept telling me about changing diapers all the time. Just assumed it wasn’t so bad, and everyone was exaggerating. Since when is everyone in agreement about anything? Basically, before B was born, I was clueless and prissy.

And then B was born.

No joke, I remember the first time that I tried to change B. It was when he was a couple of days old. Still in pure prissymode, a buddy of mine had come to the hospital to visit, so I got him to help me/do all the work. We undressed B, and from his back……..he started to pee. It shot straight through the air like a fountain and landed all over us. And from that golden shower, a realization rained down on me that everyone wasn’t kidding. Diaper changing ain’t no joke with your kids; it’s a fact of life.

Over time, my prissyness waned. Don’t get it twisted. I’m still not going to look back on all the feces years from now in wonder.

Not now, Wonder Years, I'll indulge in a few of your dramedic episodes later.

Not now, Wonder Years, I’ll indulge in a few of your dramedic episodes later.

 

I’m not one of those people who brags about their diaper changing skills (I still put them on backwards sometimes. Shut up.) , or tells everyone how much they enjoy changing their kid for whatever reason (I heard bonding time once, as a reason. Can’t I bond in a less smelly way?).  It isn’t an enjoyable experience. There’s no way around it. But until the kids are fully potty trained, I’ve been sentenced to diaper duty (duty in diapers?),  so what am I going to do? Appeal the sentence? Appeal to who? All I can do is roll up my sleeves and grin and bear it. The alternative is not doing it, and that’s not fair to the kids. Rashes and diseases etc.

And that’s the other thing. Not only are bowel movements important to the kids, they become important to us, the parents too. When they were babies, and on breast milk, their poops were like clockwork, and you’re touching feces 100 times a day. Or it felt like 100 times a day. I don’t know, I wasn’t keeping track. Eventually, the kids got off the boob and got onto actual food. So then it’s not so much about the frequency, but everything else about the poop. The size, the shape, the colour, the texture (rough and nutty? Rich and creamy? Soft and spreadable like Nutella?).

I remember changing B one time, and then taking him to K.  K asked me what his poop was like. Man, I didn’t know, it was like poop. Yeah, not knowing didn’t go over so well.  Remember, it’s important! So the next time I changed him, you best believe that I was in Grissom on CSI-mode, the way I analyzed it. Microscopes, powders, infrared lights, chalk outlines, a fully detailed report. OK, I didn’t go that far, but you get the idea. I had to step my game up after that.   I went from not caring about poo, to hardcore caring about it. Because if something was off, it was panic mode time.

The other messed up part is that not only do we spend an inordinate amount of time talking bowel movements, but when we’re with other parents, it’s a topic that typically comes up in conversation, too.  Our kids’ bowel movements. What the? Back in the day, I didn’t go out to dinner with my buddies and compare dumps that we took. As a parent, though, anything goes, no topic is too messy. It’s like we’re swapping notes. Notes on toilet paper.

So between constantly talking about, and constantly being elbows deep in it, poop is always on my mind. The S in A.D.I.D.A.S now stands for something else, for real. My prissyness is gone and I’m now basically numb. I’ve had to wipe off and touch poop too many times not to be. So many gross diaper leaks. So many  gross diaper leaks.

J’s like a year and half years old and she can sorta say a few words. Guess what words she knows how to say? Poo and pee. She even goes on the potty sometimes. Not all of the time. The other day, she told me that she had to go pee. I took her to the potty, and took her diaper off. I left to get a new diaper, came back, she was gone. Found her in the playroom. There was a massive turd on the floor. Old Mike would have worsened the situation by throwing up all over it. New Mike just picked it up, flushed it down the toilet and wondered if they made pooper scoopers for humans.

Ah shhh….oot. That reminds me. J dropped another turd in a different room today. B did worsen the situation by trying to pick it up, to get rid off it, but he pressed too hard down and smeared it in the carpet. Bless his helpful heart.  Need to clean that, so I gotta go. Poop ain’t cute.

It’s The Thought That Counts

 

boxgift

 

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not an expert on parenting by any means. And as you’ve probably noticed, this isn’t one of those blogs where the writer gives you all kinds of tips, suggestions and examples of how to be a great parent with perfect kids.

With that being said, I do consider myself to be very fortunate. Started from the bottom…..and now we are slightly above the bottom.  Hey, I’m not Drake, but life could be a lot worse, for real. Within our modest means, B and J are taken care of. Things like extracurricular activities, going to birthday parties and buying a gift, or even being able to take part in pizza days at school, everything has a price. We don’t take for granted that we are able to afford these things. First world problems, yo. Shoot, I was pretty ghetto as a child; you don’t have to tell me what it’s like to be without! So yeah, K and I do try to instill a sense of gratefulness in the kiddos. All you can do is hope that what you’re putting down sticks, and that they don’t become a couple of spoiled, entitled brats.

Since it is the holiday season, we asked B to pick five toys that he didn’t play with anymore, which he could donate to a local charity (along with some stuff that we were giving away). You know, for some kids who didn’t have many things. Not in a patronizing way or anything like that. It’s just that you’re never too young to learn about lending a helpful hand, right?  So we told him to think about it. But you know how children are. Think?! Ain’t nobody got time for that!  Better to do it with no thought, while it’s fresh on the brain. He immediately went to work in the playroom, and randomly picked these, no joke:

IMG_20131207_174600_494

 Uhh….a marker lid?!  Don’t want to give up the marker that went with it, eh? It’s kind of a package deal, you can’t have one without the other.  But OK. At least you won’t have to worry about the kid’s parents scrubbing blue doodles off the wall, because you kept the marker.  Hmm…that actually was kind of considerate, when I look at it that way. However, it’s not really a toy, B. I mean, it might work as a pint glass if the kid is playing Pub Crawl with their action figures. Or maybe as a telescope if their Ken doll wants to stargaze or spy on Barbie or something. But that’s about it. What else do you got?

IMG_20131210_211248_077

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A…a piece of paper?! What? Are you sure that you don’t want think about these? And not just grab the first thing that you see? Well, I guess this makes sense. Whoever gets the paper can pretend to write on it with the marker that you didn’t give them.  This isn’t even a fresh sheet. You drew on the back of it, eh.  OK, fair enough, it’s artwork, and it might have some value one day if you’re the next Picasso, baby. However, for the time being, you’re supposed to be hooking up toys, remember? I’m sure that there is probably someone who wants a used piece of paper. The people who we have in mind probably aren’t paper airplane connoisseurs, though, so let’s try something else, alright?

IMG_20131207_174401_011

 Aww, now this is more like it! An actual…..hey wait a minute. This belongs to your sister! And she still plays with it! You can’t volunteer her toys! Try again!

IMG_20131207_174259_323

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A plastic tomato slice?  Really? Why did they make a toy of this, anyway? I think it came with a BBQ playset, but who wants to pretend to eat a tomato? We should have used this as punishment:

“That’s it! Timeout, B! Get the tomato slice, and play ‘Subway Sandwich Artist tries to make BLTs without the B or L’ now!  I know that game sucks huge, but it’s the only way that you’ll learn your lesson!”

Dude, did you ever having fun with this thing?  Hey, remember when we told you that we were going to put the Christmas tree up, but we got home late and we couldn’t do it, and you were super disappointed? If you give away this tomato, whoever gets it will have that same disappointed feeling. Now you don’t want to do that to someone, right? Didn’t think so. Keep on picking. Again, you might want to put more thought into what –

IMG_20131207_174447_400

Oh, you’re still not thinking hard about these, eh, bud? Still just grabbing at will? Well, at least you’re on the right track now. You’ve played with this garage toy a lot. It’s pretty beat up and broken, though, plus a bunch of parts are missing. The cars are supposed to gradually roll down the ramps, and now they just plunge and crash. It’s a little sadistic, but I guess it will do. Hey I got an idea, since it is a car garage, and you have a lot cars, what if –

 

IMG_20131207_174243_539

Whoa, didn’t see that coming. Aaand we’re back at square one. We’re picking toys, man. This is a bin that you put toys in. If you give this, lil homey/homegirl that receives it is gonna be like ‘where the toys at?’ This is worse than giving someone coal. It’s like you’re on the naughty list, so here’s your empty bin which would have been full of cool stuff if you hadn’t been such a nitwit all year. For maximum effect, you should put a single plastic tomato slice in it. OK, OK, I’ll stop hating. This does have some minor potential as an object of play.  James Naismith would have put this on a pole and invented basketball with it. If the kid that gets this bin is into using household objects to invent sports, they’ll be tickled pink. For the nautical fan, I guess this might work as a boat. You should really think about giving up some cars, though. I’m sure someone would love –

 

IMG_20131207_174504_398

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, you found a real boat instead.  Wait, what happened to this thing? It was pretty dope before. It had flagpoles, and lights, and oars. Now it’s just a raft. Where’d all the cool parts go? Scratch that. I don’t know where they are, but I know where they’ll end up – embedded/impaled in my foot when I step on them somehow. Why does stuff always go missing, anyway? Before you and J, I could keep track of everything.  These days, I’m lucky if we all leave the house with matching socks.  But back to this boat.  It used to be cool, but then it got stripped down, so now it’s not so great. It’s like reverse Pimp My Ride. Xzibit would not be impressed. Whatever.  It gets a thumb’s up.  I think we’re done for the day.

Good job buddy, and don’t mind me. Always remember – it really is the thought that counts!

 

Can’t Knock The Hustle

One skill that I get to work on a lot at home is negotiation. Nothing is easy with the kids, that goes without saying.  However, B is in this phase where he’s always looking to cut deals, on basically everything.  Eating meals, bedtime, getting ready, cleaning up etc… all this stuff is done once a mutually beneficial agreement has been arranged. Do you know hard that is to live with? To constantly be negotiating? Next time that there’s a hostage that needs to be taken down, gimme a call,  I’ll send B over to take care of the situation.

 

Let's Make A Deal? Uh, no, B, let's not!!!

Let’s Make A Deal? Uh, no, B, let’s not!!!

Want an example? Alrighty yo. This conversation happened a few months ago:

Me – ‘OK, you can take three cars to bed tonight.’
B – ‘But I want to take lots of cars!’
Me – ‘No, just three tonight.’
B – ‘I want a few cars!’
Me – ‘How many is a few?’
B – ‘It’s lots.’
Me – ‘No, just three!’
B (picks up a car) – ‘I want this one, (picks up another) , this one (this goes on like twelve more times until he’s pulled out all of his Hot Wheels)
Me – ‘You’re not taking all of those, just three!’
B grabs as many cars as he can hold, and cradles them against his chest. And then:
B (picks up a car, adds it to his armful of cars) – ‘One. (picks up another, adds it). Two (and another). Three.’
Me – ‘Nice try! Just three. Here, I’ll pick them for you.’
I grab three cars.
B grabs two more – ‘And this one and this one?’
Me -‘That’s more than three.’
B – ‘But I want Stitch!’
B saw Lilo and Stitch a while ago, and he called one his cars Stitch. Why? I don’t know. I take a car away, and add Stitch.
B – ‘And Lilo!’
Me – ‘Who’s Lilo?’ I really didn’t know, I only know Stitch.

B (picks up an orange Chevy, adds it to the other three) – ‘This one.”

Me – ‘Is that Lilo?’

B – ‘No (picks up another car, adds it to the four). This is.’
Me – ‘That’s more than three! You can only take three!’
Anyway, eventually B did settle on three cars to take to bed. And that’s that, right? Wrong.
Half hour later, K went to check on him. I stupidly left the rest of the cars in the hall, and B sneakily went and got them. So, of course, K caught him playing with all his cars in his room. Naked, for no apparent reason too. I got him dressed, and had to lay the heavy on him:

Me – ‘So now we’re going to have to take all your cars away. Instead of three cars, you were sneaky, and now you don’t get any.’

And that’s that, right? Wrong.

Why?

B – ‘Can I play with my firetruck?’

Because, there’s always room for negotiation!

cars

The Choice Is Yours (You Can Go with This, Or You Can Go With That)

Independent thinking is an important trait that should be ingrained early on. So as a parent, you try to mix things up. You know, instead of just telling them what they want, or what they should do, you give your kid some options and let them decide on their own. Then if their decision sucks, they learn to do better next time, hopefully. You have to be careful, however. Kids are tricky like that, so there’s always a chance that you get played for a fool. Or that’s what has happened to me, anyway. Many times. I’ll tell you about those experiences at some point. For example now, though, after dinner one night a few months ago, I figured that I’d ask B what he wanted for dessert. Simple right? Not so much:

Me – ‘What do you want for dessert? A banana, or peach applesauce?

B – ‘A bananee!’

Me – ‘OK, a banana?’

B – ‘No! Not banana. A bananee!’

Me – ‘I don’t know what a bananee is. Do you want a banana or peach applesauce?’

B – ‘Peach.’

Me – ‘OK, you want peach applesauce?’

B- ‘No, a peach.’

Me -‘That wasn’t a choice. We don’t have peaches.’

B – ‘Why?’

Me – ‘We have to buy them at the store. So do you want a banana or peach applesauce?’

B (long pause) – ‘I want a pear.’

Me – ‘We don’t have pears! That wasn’t a choice either!’

B – ‘We have to buy them at the store?’

Me – ‘Yeah.’

B – ‘OK! Let’s go to the store!’ (He starts trying to wiggle out of his seat)

Me – ‘We’re not going anywhere! You’re having peach applesauce, OK?’

B – ‘OK!’

So I get him a spoon and the sauce. J is crying now, probably at the ridiculousness of this conversation, so I turn around to tend to her. I turn back around soon after…..B hasn’t touched the applesauce. He’s using the spoon to slurp milk from his cup, though, with the biggest stupid grin on his face.

Lesson learned…..sometimes kids don’t know what they want, even when you tell them what they want.

pear

The Poison Control Affair

You know what you can’t do, when you have little children? Leave stuff lying around your place.   Inevitably,  said children will weigh their options, and do the worst option with your stuff.  Call it curiosity, skill development, exploration, or whatever.  I call it kind of annoying.  K took up knitting recently, for example.  B and J are constantly playing with and misplacing the needles, and getting tangled up in the yarn, like little colourful mummies. B got his foot caught in a roll once, then ran all around the living room and kitchen, somehow unraveling it so that it was caught on all sorts of furniture. By the time I caught him, the place looked like it was rigged with an alarm system laser maze.

 

Experiences like that just teach you a lesson to be careful with your possessions. For your sake, of course, but mainly for your kids’ sake.  I remember another time, last year, we went up to check on B.  K found him sitting quietly in our room, calmy eating some of her scented body lotion. We thought that it was high up on the back of her dresser. Apparently it wasn’t that unreachable.  How he got it, no idea.  In his words, though, he was just eating dip. We had to go all Law and Order on him, and interrogated him to figure out WTF he was thinking:

Me – ‘Did you eat a lot?’

B – ‘Yeah, a lot’

Me – ‘Or a little bit?’

B – ‘Yeah, just a little bit.’

Me – ‘So did you eat a lot, or a little bit?

B – ‘A little bit.’

K – ‘So you didn’t eat a lot?’

B – ‘No I ate a lot.’

Dangclass6_1a

After going back a forth like this 5 more times, we switched up the questions:

K -‘So did you swallow it, or spit it out?’

B – ‘I spit it out.’

Me – ‘So you spit it out because it was yucky?’

B -‘Yeah. Yucky!’

Me -‘And you didn’t swallow it?’

B – ‘No I eat it. It was yummy in my tummy!’

Did I mention that neither us are cops?

After getting nowhere, I finally called freaking poison control. I had no idea how toxic that cream was, so better safe than sorry.   (” Uh, my son ate some perfumy body lotion, maybe, and I don’t know how much because he won’t tell me. Is he OK”).   They asked a bunch of questions, gave me some advice and that was that.  B was just fine, too, don’t worry.

Yet another lesson was learned on our part, however,  in being careful with our stuff.

The best part of the ordeal? His breath smelled great for a long while after, as well.

It looks scrumptious, but don't eat it!

It looks scrumptious, but don’t eat it!

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