Sunday, April 6, 2014


Oh, hey!  A thing happened!  A glorious thing!  A thing we parents fret over and suffer over and cause our children to suffer over!  And that thing is called.... POTTY TRAINING.

Potty training happened in the House of Squishy.  In fact, it happened over a month ago, but I was too frightened to write about it, lest I jinx it and kill it dead.  But that didn't happen!  It stuck!  And I will tell you something: I did not do the potty training.  Nope.  I can take zero credit for this occurrence.  This was, exclusively, AN ACT OF THE LITTLE ONE.

You see, potty training is a nightmare.  I know this, all parents know this, and secretly, I think all kids know this too.  There's so much push and pull and stress and MONEY that goes into the damn process (the books, the DVDs, the products, OH MY!), and really... we have no control over this situation.  I really, truly believe it.  NOT IN CHARGE HERE.

So, we've had the little potty and potty seat out and available for a good year.  The Little One had periodically shown interest, but that interest quickly waned when he realized we were getting excited.  "Oh, you want me to do that?  Cool.  I'm totally not gonna do that."

We went back and forth with him showing interest in sitting on the potty for like a week, and then it was all, "NO!  NO POTTY.  I WEAR DIAPERS."  He was fond of diapers.  He was comfortable in them, and he did not want to quit them.  Even around 2.5 when we broke out the beloved character underpants, he'd want to wear them, pee in them within 10 minutes of putting them on, and be TOTALLY SHOCKED AND TRAUMATIZED that he'd just peed on Lightning McQueen.  Every. Time.  For months it seemed like he had no awareness whatsoever of when he might need to pee.  He'd look up all wide-eyed and baffled, hollering, "Mommy?  I pee?  Pee in my underpants?  OH NO!!!"  Completely shocked every time pee exited his body.

And he had never once peed in the potty any of the times he'd sat on it.  Not once.  Never.  So, not surprisingly, we didn't think he was ready.  He was resistant, had no body awareness, and just not into it.  So, fine.  The Little One is a child that you DO NOT push (unless you want to experience the wrath of Kali + Demeter + Old Testament Yahweh), so we decided not to push it.

Then one day, in his diaper, the Little One grabbed his crotch and yelled, "I GOTTA PEE!!" with utter urgency.  And volume.  I whisked him into the bathroom, where we ripped off his diaper, sat him on the potty, AND THE CHILD PEED.  For the first time ever in the potty.  It was a goddamn miracle.  And then, I asked if he wanted to wear underpants, and he said yes.  And he wore them for the rest of the day and continued to announce when he needed to pee and only had one accident that day and two the next and that's it and oh-my-god-how-did-this-awesomeness-happen!?!?

There were two instances of pants-shitting (both proceeded by blood-curdling screams that, shockingly, did not tip us off that he was about to poop rather than die or burst into flames), but even that seems to be over.  *manically knocks on every reachable wood surface*

So... now he's potty trained?  It's all very weird and anticlimactic, really.  And I realize this is the post where you all decide you hate me forever and I AM NOT COMPLAINING.  Trust me.  It was just so weird!  He decided and he did it and that was that.

I don't know why I'm surprised since the Big One did the exact same thing when he was only 2 years old... but, dude.  I can tell you one thing.  We had a full on NO MORE DIAPERS party.  There were donuts, there was dancing, there was joy and laughter.  And also, my house no longer smell like shit!  Or... well... I do have two boys.  So, I suppose my house smells less like shit?  WHO CARES.  No more diapers.

Holy shit.  No more diapers!  It's a whole new world, people.  A world in which I have a lot less literal shit to handle, and I can get down with that.  Oh yes, I can.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

New Essay: Rattle & Pen

My latest essay is up at Rattle & Pen!  This one's about the Education of Parents and the shocking revelation that sometimes, it's not helping us.  At all.  Check it out here, won't you?

More soon....

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Guide To Surviving Urgent Care and More Stuff They Say

We took yet another trip to Urgent Care a few weeks ago, and although it sucked as always, I'm, unfortunately, getting pretty good at this.

So I'm going to go ahead and claim it: I am now an expert on surviving Urgent Care with two toddler boys in tow.  Learn from my experience, won't you?
(But for gods sake... avoid Urgent Care like the plague.  Bubble wrap those kids if you have to.)

Take this guide and pack it away in your purse.  You're gonna need it.

Guide To Surviving Urgent Care: The Toddler Years

What to Bring:
  • Food: They'll get hungry and complain incessantly and LOUDLY about how starving they are. People will start to stare.  Bring lots, though, because they will throw or drop have of it, and UGH, those floors.
  • Books: They need something to look at or have read to them while you take part in the epic wait-fest that is Urgent Care.  Reading material is essential.  Bring lots, though, because they will drop or throw half of them and UGH, those floors.
  • Toys: Anything that's not huge or loud will do.  Toy cars, little dolls, an abacus, whatever.  As long as it's portable and will keep them busy for more than 5 seconds, toss it in the bag.  But bring multiples- and don't bring anything deeply beloved- because they will throw or drop half of them and UGH, those floors.
  • Proof of the responsible, loving relationship you have with your children: Let's face it.  The second you arrive in Urgent Care with your kid, you begin a CPS checklist.  You'll want to show that yes, in fact, you're an awesome parent and no, thanks, you were not being negligent when your kid split his head open/broke her arm/swallowed that thing.
  • Patience: You'll need this in spades because, as I mentioned, the wait will be horribly long.  And people everywhere will look terrifying.  You'll have to keep your children (especially the hurt/sick one) entertained and distracted while that guy in the corner hacks up his intestines.
  • Your insurance information.  Because Urgent Care = $$$$$$$$
What Not to Bring:
  • Anything that matters to you: Lovies, favorite books, slaved-over meals, your sanity...  Anything that matters to you will be lost in the Urgent Care vortex.  Or it will be dropped on those floors.  And UGH, those floors.

You're welcome.  Now, get thee to the UPS store and get a jumbo roll of bubble wrap for your kids.
(Remember not to wrap it too tightly or cover their faces, though, because that will also send you Urgent Care and UGH, those floors.)

*          *          *

Also, while the children weren't doing things that land them in Urgent Care, they were staying funny stuff.  Wanna hear it?

Big One

Big One: "Daddy!  We're making a new place for the fan!"
Daddy: "That scares me.  A lot."

Little One

Little One: "Mommy?  Why you have farts on your cup?"
Me: "WHAT?!?  OH.  Stars!  Stars on my cup!  They're there because they're pretty."
Little One: "Farts.  Farts on your cup.  Mommy?  Noooo...  farts outside!  Aw.  Is too dark.  Can't see farts outside."

Daddy: "You're starting to talk like a human being!"
Little One: "I not a bean!  You a bean.  You a big bean!"

After it snowed: "Mommy!  I foop the hfnow!!" (Translation: Mommy!  I scoop the snow!)

Upon seeing light reflected on the top of my coffee: "Frank the wite, Mommy!"  (Translation: Drink the light, Mommy!  My little poet.)

paterpillar = caterpillar

Since turning 3, the Little One has been SO excited about the possibility of going to school or a class.  Today, he talked randomly about going again and this was what he had to say:
Little One: "I go school!!  Teacher WUV me."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I'm Employed! (And More Stuff They Say)

Life has changed in the House of Squishy- yes, indeedy.  I just got a job writing (for money!!) and it is the perfect combination of my (former?) teacher life, and my writing life.  It's both!  At the same time!  But I can wear pajamas!  Because this gig, my friend, is a work-from-home gig.  Which is awesome!  And hard.  Because I have children.

We are now two parents working from home and learning the ropes of working at home AND learning the ropes of our new work-from-home gigs.  Which means, of course, that our two part time work-from-home jobs are actually two full time, work-any-spare-second jobs and WHOA.  This is a transition.

Thankfully, we're both delighted about our new gigs.  And, thankfully, we're both feeling pleasantly challenged ( I DO still have a brain!  Who knew?!?) and happy to be getting paid to do what we each paid 29872384234 gazillion dollars to learn to do.  So that helps.  But currently one or both of us is ALWAYS WORKING and that is a pain in the ass.  Also, the kids are not enjoying that aspect.  The following sentence is common around these parts: "I know.  Mommy/Daddy's working."  Following by a HEAVY sigh and seven thousand tiny violins.

Poor kiddos.  Change is hard.  I get it.  It's hard on us, it's hard on them, it's hard on the whole family unit.  Honestly, I'm a little confused about how to do it right because these 1am jaunts are kicking my ass.  And Mr. Squishy's, too.  We're figuring it out, though, and slowly but surely I feel like there's a light at the end of this damn tunnel we've been living in.  This tunnel that still manages to have asshole neighbors.

It's exciting to be on the road to stability and to feel that we're BOTH taking part in everything again. We have been all along, of course, but now it's easy to see from an outside perspective, and that brings relief.  Now, we both have to take on the kids, we both have to do stuff around the house, and we both have to work.  I've loved being a stay-at-home parent (and technically, i still am a SAHM), but hot-damn is it nice to know that I'm not going to have to respond to this anymore: "Oh, you're a stay-at-home mom!  So... what do you DO all day, anyway?"  Oy.

So here's to stay-at-home moms!  And stay-at-home dads!  And here's to working parents!  And to work-from-home parents!  And to every possible variation in between!  We're all working our heinies off and, shit people, we all deserve a drink and a night off.  ONE DAY.  Cheers to all of you.  (And our kiddos, too.)

*       *       *So, even though I'm working now, I'm still also home with my kids.  So I still hear the delightfully ridiculous things that come out of their mouths.  Wanna hear?  I THOUGHT SO.

Big One

Daddy (while reading The Grinch Who Stole Christmas): " And the one speck of food that he left in the house was a crumb that was even too small for a mouse."

Big One: "Well... the microbes will eat it."

Daddy: "Thank you for sharing with your brother."
Big One: "But I hate sharing."
Daddy: "Don't hate sharing."
Big One: "But I have to hate something."

"And then this song came on, and I was like, 'YEAH.  That's my jam!"
"glitter" = litter; as in, "Mommy?  Why do people glitter?"

Little One
"flumber" = slumber; as in, "Flumber!  I flumbing!  Brudder?  I fleep.  I fleeping."

"fleep" = sleep
"telesgoat" = telescope
"microfope" or "microsgoat" = microscope
"pisspeer" = disappear
"hair rawr-oo" = where are you
"shrank" = drink
"freet" = treat
The above 3 just resulted in the following sentence: "Hair rawr-ooooo, Brudder?  I get a shrank and a freet!"

*       *       *

AND, I'm still happily contributing to Rattle & Pen, where I recently wrote a little something about the balancing act women live through every day.  Which I now relate to on multiple levels.  I'm dropping a lot of stuff.  Go check it out here.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Definitions: Nap Time & Quiet Time

Dear Boys,

Clearly you need some clarification about what "nap time" and "quiet time" mean.  I know this because everything you are doing is the exact opposite of what you are supposed to be doing.

Let me elucidate.

"Nap time" means sleeping.  It does not mean jumping, singing, banging blocks together, faux crying or walking out of the room every 5 minutes to tell me you love me.  I love you, too, but I will feel that love much more heartily if you STAY IN YOUR ROOM.  "Sleeping" means you lie down on your bed and you close your eyes and you stay there for an extended period of time.  You do not sing, you do not play with your toys, you do not throw books all over the floor and "ice skate" on them.  Sleeping requires stillness, so when you get up after 30 seconds and tell me you can't sleep, THAT is why you can't sleep.  STOP. MOVING.

If you truly, actually, sincerely try to sleep (remember: that means NOT MOVING) and cannot fall asleep, then it is still quiet time.  Does that mean you should jump on your bed and make siren sounds?  No, it does not.  Does it mean you should pretend to have to pee or poop (or both!) once every 15 minutes and inform me of your attempts?  No, it does not.  Does that mean you should come out of your room repeatedly and ask for new toys?  NO. IT. DOES. NOT.

"Quiet time" means that you must be quiet.  As in, not noisy.  As in, a lack of sound.  As in, SSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.  Stop yelling, stop singing loudly, stop practicing gymnastics on  your bed.  Just quietly read your books, or quietly play with the toys in your room.  Twiddle your thumbs.  I don't actually care.  Just do it quietly.  That is all I ask.

Quiet time is not the time to decide that you HAVE to have the giraffe you gave to your brother a year ago.  I'm sorry you miss him.  It's been a year.  It's time to move on.

Quiet time is not the time to decide that, in spite of the mass quantities of milk and water you downed at lunchtime, you are parched.  Because you are not.  So quit it.

Quiet time is the time for quiet.  Not necessarily because you need it- although, trust me, you do- but because without a brief moment of quiet in an otherwise "Mom, mommy, mom, MOOOOOM!" filled day, I will lose my mind.  That's right, sweetie, this isn't about you.

Mommy needs this time to rebuild the energy it takes to feed and wipe and chase and feed and calm and wipe and entertain and wash and help two boys under five.  You are tiny energy vampires, and without the time to recharge, I can't play trucks with you the way you like.  If I don't have quiet time to eat my own lunch at 2pm, I don't eat and then I am cranky.  If I don't have nap time to load the dishwasher and answer emails and attempt to breathe for 30 seconds, I have a hard time keeping my cool when you ignore my instructions for the seven bazillionth time.

Mommy needs nap time- or at least quiet time- so that I can be a better Mommy.  It will help us all, my little squishies.  So, please.  Stay in your room.  Stop coming out and asking asinine questions.  Stop flying around your room like a broken toy airplane.  Stop pretending to cry.  Stop making those ear-splitting noises.  Just. Stay. Quiet.  Please.  And thank you.

All my love,
xoxo Mama

*    *    *

p.s. If you missed my latest post over at Rattle and Pen, you can read it here.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Sick Post & Still More Things They Say

This isn't a real post.  This is me being overwhelmed and, therefore, WAY behind on everything.  Hi! How ya doin'?

The past month has been one long sick-fest in this house.  (Hence the month-long break in any sort of posting or writing 'round here.)  The Big One caught a nasty case of 90-year-old-emphysema-hack at preschool, and then he brought it home.  And he shared.  He shared with all of us.  So kind to share.

So then the Little One caught it, and it turned quickly into croup.  Goddamn, croup is the worst.  It's terrifying and sad and means that the croupy kid gets zero sleep.  Which means that one or both parents get zero sleep.  Which usually means that one or both parents get the thing that started the croup.  Which is exactly what happened.  Sonofabitch.

Thankfully, this round of croup only lasted about three days, but the hack and runny nose and generally shittyness lasted well beyond that.  All told, we were stuck at home because of one kid or another for two weeks.  TWO WEEKS.  Have you ever been stuck in house with two sick kids and a sick you for two godawful weeks?  Let me give you some ground-breaking information: It sucks.

We watched so much PBS Kids and Sprout and Disney Jr. that I thought all of our brains were going to explode.  Even the KIDS got tired of T.V.  That does not happen.  There was water, and tea and juice and soup and no one wanted any of it.  There were blankets and kleenex and snot smears on everything.  And whining.  So. Much. Whining.  The kids were whiny, too.

And then, just when everyone started to get better and feel human again, the Big One got nauseous on the swings during a park date with his dad, and puked all over the car.  And you know what sucks even more than two weeks of house arrest?  Puke in a car.  And trying to get puke OUT of a car.  It's no small feat, my friends.  Booster seat covers- not washable.  Actual seats in the car?  Spot clean, only.  Seat belts?  IMPOSSIBLE TO CLEAN.  Even the end-all, be-all of puke cleaning- the MAGICAL Nature's Miracle (no seriously, it is amazing, and they didn't even pay me to say that)- couldn't get the puke smell out of the seat belt.  That little bugger got soaked 3 times AND wiped down with soap and water AND got a good Febreezing... and it still smells a bit vomity.

If you teach your children nothing else, teach them to vomit AWAY from the seat belt.

Or, better yet, teach them to TELL YOU when they're going to vomit.

But you guys, in spite of all those bodily fluids and all the whining and the general ick, something amazing happened.  Some good came out of this darkness.

And here it is: The Little One learned to use his Coughing Corner.  It's a whole new world, people.

*      *      *

And here are some cute things my kids are saying lately:

Little One
-fweet = sweet
-pupcakes = cupcakes
-fweeszers = scissors
-schrank = drink

While eating a salami sandwich: "Lawmi!  Deeeeewishus!"

Big One
- mackin = napkin

-Explaining digestion: "When you eat something, if it's too hot, you spit it out.  If it's too cold, you spit it out.  If it's just right, you swallow it and it goes down your mouth, into your froat, and into your belly.  Then it goes around your belly, to your pooper section."

Your pooper section.  The more you know, people!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Department of Redundancy Department

I spend all day every day saying the same things over and over and over.

"Stop running."
"Quiet feet."
"No jumping off of the furniture."
"No screaming."
"No bashing."
"No hitting."
"Stop taking your brother's toys."
"No pushing."
"No kicking."
"No bonking."
"No screaming."
"Flush the toilet."
"Use your words."

I am losing my mind, people.  We are living in an apartment with a cranky downstairs neighbor, and my kids just have to alter their behavior.  It's not fair, but they have to.  They just do.  But they will not.  AND I AM GOING FUCKING CRAZY.  I am repeating myself so often that I'm annoying even myself, and I'm starting to feel like the teacher in Charlie Brown cartoons.  Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah.

I can't.  I cannot repeat myself anymore.  They're not listening and I've said everything so many times that it's beyond redundant.  It's too much.  It's too much for them to listen to, it's too much for me, it's too much for everyone.  We're all gonna end up in the loony bin if this continues.

So.  We're trying something new.  We're going to try a book that a number of people have recommended and hope like hell that it does the trick.  And if it does work, I will sing the name of said book loud and clear for all to hear.  

It's time.  We all need to shut the hell up and get along.  Or else... they're coming to take me away, ha ha!