What Mother’s Know


I Don’t Know

I don’t know how I do it (be a mother)
I don’t know how I manage
I don’t know how I find the strength
I don’t know how I live without sleep
I don’t know how I stay calm when the baby is screaming
I don’t know how I find time to use the bathroom
I don’t know how I do so many things while holding a baby in one arm: Eat, Make dinner, Wash the dishes, Mop the floor, Load washing machine, Fold laundry, Shop for groceries

I Do Know

I do know there is no other experience like being a parent
I do know I love kids smiles, laughs, burps, farts
I do know I love having a baby sleep in my arms
I do know each time I go through the process, as hard as it is, I would do it all again.




Kids: Never a Quiet Moment

IMG_0781Why do kids make parents mad?
Why do they behave so bad?

Kids are kids they say, its true
It seems they make me crazy too

All the times they misbehave
It’s just attention that they crave

Attention good or bad they’ll take
From morning to night – I need a break!

At 5 in the morning they wake me
Only 6 hours sleep they need

What happened to all the naps in day
Those stages of sleep are far away

Each day they test me on another thing
My heart melts – did I hear them sing?

The ups and downs of parenthood
not every day is going to be good

Today is quiet as they watch cartoons
The silence will be broken again soon

Eat this bean, or maybe just grow it!

During the last few months I have eaten more vegetables and fruits, but I realized my kids were not doing the same.  The last few weeks I have tried to get my kids (aged 10 and 7) to eat a larger variety of foods. They need to learn that quesadillas and pizza are not the only food to eat. The bright spot in my food day occurs at dinner when the kids are given a new food to taste. A few weeks ago I tricked them by cutting up jicama and putting it in a bowl. I just said, “Try this.” They picked the white cubes from the bowl and ate away. Then they asked, “Is this an apple?”. Thinking it was a weird tasting apple was better than having them spit it out immediately or never try it all.

Some of the other food tastings were not as successful. Today’s food was green beans (also known as string beans). I thought beans were pretty benign. I was surprised when my youngest treated the food like a play toy instead of just biting into you. She pushed it around the plate eventually squishing and smashing it until little beans popped out. She said, “These look like lima beans?”. I was shocked she knew what lima beans were (happily shocked I might add). Eventually she put one of the tiny beans into her mouth. I can’t say she liked it, but she didn’t barf it back onto her plate.

Once my son saw the fun that his younger sister was having getting the beans opened, he grabbed another bean to see how many small beans he could find. Somehow the tasting had turned into an experience. No longer was this about food, it was about learning, experimenting and creativity. After splitting one of the green beans open, my son filled it with other foods from dinner to create his own bean sub. You have to give the kid points for creativity! We took some photos of his plated bean dish (like it was Iron Chef). We didn’t have any judges for the dish, but I promised I would write a blog about it.

How the evening ended was even more surprising. My son wanted to watch a video about growing green beans. We watched how to build a bean teepee as well as several instructional videos about how to prepare and grow beans. While my daughter grabbed the computer and began watching gymnastics videos, I realized my son had disappeared and the outside patio light was on. I couldn’t imagine what he could be doing outside in the dark. I found him outside carefully preparing soil for his beans. He had extracted some tiny beans and was planting them in a yogurt cup filled with seedling soil. Sometimes when you feed kids vegetables you just don’t know what is going to happen. In this case it seems we will be growing green beans. Maybe when you grow your own food, there is more interest in eating it. I just hope by the time the beans ripen there is someone besides me willing to eat them.

One computer, two kids

One red Thinkpad for a family,
We have one computer but we need three.

The kids like games, I like Netflix
The noisy game music – it makes me sick!

So many electronic devices to cruise
Why a laptop everyone has to choose?

Tablet, Kindle, Droid we have,
but the old laptop is what they grab!

How am I to get anything done?
I can’t pay my bills or order from Amazon.

They say that laptops are going away
In my house it is the device to play!

With a bonus from work or with money from the sky
What can I see? More devices in my eye.

My laptop I bought for writing blogs
I’m resorting to paper, like an old ships log.

Today we time each person’s 30 minute turn
Don’t touch that timer, I got more time to burn!

Scheduling time to use an electronic device?
Instead we should all play Sorry! – that would be nice.

Less Mess, Not More

Yesterday morning I emerged from my bedroom after a nice relaxing shower, when I heard banging in the kitchen. I saw Paige in the hallway which meant only one other child could be in the kitchen and responsible for the racket. My first thought, ‘What is Tucker, doing in there?’. At 8-years-old I am well aware of the colossal damage he could inflict if he put his mind to it. Is he standing on the counter? Is he breaking dishes? Wait, I hear silverware clanging. Did he tie silverware to the ceiling fan? What could he possibly be doing?

As I entered the kitchen, the guilty party hid his face with his elbow and put his head down on the counter. I approached the sink and noticed something strange. There are no dirty dishes. Where did the dirty dishes go? For a moment I wondered if they have been thrown in the trash can. Then I heard a giggle from underneath the elbow.

“You put the dishes in the dishwasher, didn’t you?” I state matter-of-factly. Tucker lifts his face which now shows a wide grin with every tooth on display. At first he had been acting as if I was going to be angry about him about loading the dishwasher, now he seemed to think it was funny. He was playing a prank, only it seemed that I was getting all the laughs (or at least the rest). What single mom doesn’t appreciate a day of not having to clean up the dishes?

I told Tucker I really appreciated what he had done. Although on the inside I was wondering what he was going to ask in return for completing this ‘chore’. Another DS game? $10 to spend at Target, or merely a hug? There is no way of knowing what goes on in the brain of an 8-year old. For now I am just going to accept this generous gift of help around the house. With his pre-teen years just around the corner, it won’t be long before getting him to take out the trash will cost me $50.

Santa lives at the Mall?

My 5-year-old daughter explained to me yesterday that Santa lives at the Mall (something she learned at school). What will they teach them next? That the world is flat? There is a new alphabet? The Easter Bunny was trampled to death at the Walmart Black Friday Opening?

I believe Santa lives in the North Pole, although a Mall in Arizona would be preferable to shoveling off the walkway (and the sleigh) every morning before heading over to the toy-making workshop. I wondered where my daughter got the idea about Santa’s ‘home’, because we have seen Santa many different places (the Mall being only one of many). I had to remind her of the many places we have run into Santa (many of which were completely unplanned) and as I made a list I realized that kids really do need to watch out, because he is everywhere!

Santa ‘Hot Spots’
1) Dairy Farms (Alpenrose, Superstition) – I think he likes the free milk to go with his cookies!
2) Malls (Beverton, Chandler) – A little last minute shopping for Mrs. Clause? Maybe new shoes for those elves?
3) Any Corner USA – He usually stands there ringing a bell and asking for money for the Salvation Army.
4) Albertson’s Grocery Store – Santa has to eat of lot of food to maintain that belly, or maybe he needed to pick up snacks for the elves since they get grouchy with all of the December over-time.
5) Cool Cuts for Kids – Maybe his beard needed a trim?
6) Bass Pro Shop – I heard him asking for wax for his sleigh and some XXXL long underwear.
7) Parades – Sometimes if there isn’t enough snow Santa needs to hitch a ride. Why not on a Christmas float in a parade? Beats my 10 year old VW Golf.

Where have you seen Santa lately?

Behavior Speaks Louder Than Words

Why is it that kids can drive you so crazy with their behavior? During a routine grocery shopping trip, my 7-year-old son became so irritating and annoying, I was ready to strangle him. Several hours later I felt like an idiot when I discovered that his bad behavior was caused by hunger. How could I have missed something so obvious? Why is it that a child with ample vocabulary could not explain his extreme level of hunger, yet could easily act so bratty?

Instead of words, his body seems to become spasmodic as we walked up and down the aisles. He was banging the shopping cart into the shelves. I took away his privilege of pushing the shopping cart and he stumbled down the aisle losing his flip-flop. When he finally got his flip-flop back on he realized the existence of the little plastic ‘sale’ signs sticking out in his path and proceeded to slap each one with his hand as he sauntered down the aisle. I tried to control his behavior, but instead of it improving, it grew worse, like dandelions after a spring rain. Inside I felt like unleashing both verbal and physical lashings, but had to restrain myself in a public place with security cameras. Eventually I completed the shopping trip wondering why I thought taking a child into the grocery store was a good idea.

I arrived home and opened the trunk of the car and my son attempted to shut the trunk on me as I grabbed several of the grocery bags to lug inside. Not only did he refuse to help, he seemed irritated that I would ask him to complete such a mundane and boring task. Realizing I could stand neither his behavior nor his presence, I sent him to his room. Within 2 minutes he emerged from his room and asked ,”When are you going to give me something to eat?” I can only assume that he thought I knew he was hungry, when in fact I had no idea. A granola bar from the snack drawer and all was well. The brat was transformed.

Next time I head to the grocery store I will
1) Add the contents of the snack drawer to my purse
2) Provide the snack to all children at the store entrance regardless of their statements of, “I am not hungry.”

If kids could be as effective with their words in getting our attention as with their bad behavior, then parenting would be a lot easier. Then again, no one said that parenting would be easy or that our kids would actually speak to us once we taught them to talk.

Sleep walking…another excuse for the kids to ‘get up’ at night!

Last night I put the kids to bed at their usual hour. About 2 hours later, my 7-year-old son came wandering out to the living room and sat down next to me on the sofa. He appeared to be watching TV, but when I asked him questions, he didn’t respond. I also noticed he wouldn’t look at me when I spoke to him. Normally he doesn’t say much when questioned, but this was a bit extreme, even for him.

I turned off the TV and stood right in front of him. I asked him several times, “Are you awake?”. No response. “Are you ok?”. No response. “It’s time to go back to bed. Come on, Let’s go!” I said as I started walking toward his bedroom. Then I realized he wasn’t following me. I went back to the sofa and he seemed to be staring into space like he was watching a movie. His eyes were moving, but the television was off. What was he looking at? Then I realized the movie was in his brain. Clearly he was sleepwalking, or in this case sleep-sitting.

Usually sleepwalkers are ‘highly suggestible”, and by telling them what to do, they will follow. I guess tonight this was not the case. I stood right in front of him (his eyes would not meet mine) and kept repeating my questions, “Are you awake?” and followed-up with, “Time for bed, Let’s go!”. Finally after numerous iterations, he gave me one of his funny looks (making me wonder again if he was awake). Then he got up and headed back to his room where he still never said a word, but fortunately he did climb back into bed.

Today I asked my son about getting up the night before, he just said, “What?”, because he had no recollection of getting up. It wasn’t the first time I had seen him sleepwalking, but for some reason he acted a little different from last time. He is unpredictable, but then again, so are dreams, which is probably what he thought he was experiencing during this late-night jaunt. Today I read that sleep-walkers may ‘walk’ for 30 seconds or up to 30 minutes. I was glad he didn’t sit there for 30 minutes, that is a long time! Maybe this is some strange sort of revenge for all the times as a child I wandered into the living room startling my parents at the same odd evening hour. What goes around, comes around.

Stay-at-home moms only shop. Yes, even me!

Being a stay-at-home mom is not ‘all that’. I realize after being home with the kids this week, doing the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up at school, that my day gets consumed very quickly. Here is an example of a typical day this week…

Get up at 6 something and throw on yoga clothes. Plan to sweat at yoga anyway (after dropping the kids off). No one will see me, just driving by (and slowing down) so kids can jump out of car and run into school.

Make Lunches. Of course kids can’t both eat the same thing. Cream cheese rolled-up in a tortilla? Of course, that is exactly what I thought I would have for lunch. At least older brother likes peanut butter and jelly like normal school kid.

Serve breakfast. Cereal anyone? Breakfast anyone? Cereal? No takers. Bagel with cream cheese? No, no…the 7-year-old wants peanut butter. Too bad he neglected to tell me AFTER the cream cheese was applied.

Getting ready to leave house. Can you please put your shoes on? Put shoes on guys, come on kids, put shoes on! Also, can you brush your teeth? Grab your shoes, we are leaving NOW!!

To my daughter…why are you wearing pajamas? Get dressed, you are going to school! Ok, we are leaving NOW!!

Drop kids off. Yeah!! Now I am free for six hours.

Go to Yoga, actually new thing, PI-YO. This is not relaxing! Kicked my butt. Literally my gluteus maximus muscles have been maxed out by this workout.

Go home to clean layer of dried sweat. Ahhh. Peace!

Time to go to Costco for toilet paper, paper towels, napkins. Decide I need to buy stock in paper company. Spent $175 at Costco – on toilet paper? Must of grabbed a few other things like peanut butter and jelly. I must have saved a lot if I spent that much!

Dash home and unload car. Lunch time! Missed earlier caffeine infusion, grab chilled frappacino from refrigerator. Make lunch. Roll tortilla around turkey and cheese like sensible adult! (Instead of just around cream cheese like silly 4-year-old!)

Check e-mail. Delete stuff. Why so much junk mail? Unsubcribe to non-sense salesy e-mails! That should save time tomorrow.

Decide need new clothes. Old clothes disaster. Fraying on sleeves. Need crisp white shirt. JC Penney! No shirts? Are they hiding all the normal clothes? All fancy blouses here. Clearly I have been working from home too long. What are people wearing to work these days. Scary! Finally hit jackpot. Hunt down white and blue shirts suitable for work. Definitely not for ‘club’ like all the fancy blouses! Check watch…time to pick up kids! Already? Buy shirts and run out of store.

Arrive at school. No parking and have to park down street. Walk over to school. Stand outside in heat only describable by one word, “Oven”. Sweat dripping down back in large droplets. Why did I bother taking a shower today? Sun burning skin. Forgot sunscreen as I was only planning on Costco trip, not trip to side of sun.

Finally kids emerge. Yes, it is the end of my day. I can’t believe all I did was yoga for an hour and shopping? I don’t even like shopping? Unfortunately, now I have to take the kids to the grocery store!