Lies We Tell the Kids

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Dear Kids,

Well, I hope you are totally grown up and raising your own children when you read this. Because if you are, you can sympathize. If you aren’t, and you’re still living under my roof you might not be taking me too seriously anymore. So I might be shooting myself in the foot right now.

Listen, I’ve told you these “things” for your best interest. Your benefit. I’ve just tried to do the right thing. Unfortunately doing those things, er, rather getting you to do those things does involved a fair amount of fibbing. (Sigh) What I’m trying to say is: I don’t really believe or agree with everything I tell you, but I kind of have to say it anyway because Dr. Sears says so. And right now, we are in that phase of parenting where Dr. Sears is the Wizard of Oz to us. That and Dr. Google.

So I just want to clarify, mainly to just get it out there, what I really feel about some of these white lies.

1. Ok, I know I tell you “No, you’re only allowed to watch 2 shows a day…too much tv isn’t good for you.” But here’s the thing. I think 2 shows a day is stupid too. As soon as your in bed, we’ve got Hulu up faster than you can pitch a fit. Heck, do you know how awesome it is to be grown ups? I spent my whole childhood to get to this point in life: finally having complete and total control of my own remote control. I think every adult out there feels the same way, too. We built this though, we had to endure years of limited television exposure so that we could be smart, well adjusted adults who…honestly want to do nothing more at the end of the day than kick back and watch our shows. So I’m with ya on that one.

2. Food. Goodness gracious, it is so hard for me to tell you to eat your veggies first before another helping of noodles…when all I am doing behind your back is eating bowls of noodles before I even set the table. And in my head I’m thinking “Who could blame you? I hate eating salad too. Pass the bread, please!” Listen to me: Mommy is a carb-oholic and Daddy ate an entire box of chocolate covered potato chips by himself last week. So. It does get better, I promise.

3. A consequence of having you kids are these really awkward “naptime” lies I am forced to tell people because I’m so stinking desperate to keep you asleep. Lies like “Oh, our toilet isn’t working today” when really I mean “Sorry you stopped over to visit during my kids naps…but we don’t flush the toilet during naps because it will wake them up and I just had diarrhea. So. Toilet’s broken.” These lies can consequently have quite adverse effects if people don’t take you literally. Trust me. (ask Aunt Katie)

4.I really cringe each time I tell you that it’s silly to be afraid of the dark. That is one of my worst bold face lies because inside I’m screaming “Mommy is STILL afraid of the dark”. I purposely make Daddy sleep the closest to the door because I get so skiddy when its dark. Heck, I have an entire escape plan figured out if we ever get attacked during the night. (Which totally includes a strategically placed 2×4 under Daddy’s side of the bed) I freak myself out daily when I’m glued to a rocker glider at 2am nursing and the moonlight hits the scrunchie on the floor just the right way that I could swear it’s moving. All I do replay that Twilight Zone episode in my head (which is so, so stupid at 2 am)…the one with the little robot on the floor…and when your nursing and you can’t move or whimper lest you fully awake the baby, terrifying fear typically manifests itself in strange gastrointestinal grunts and sweating. So being afraid of the dark isn’t silly, at least not to me. But,I’d rather be the only one up worrying at night instead of all of us together…and so…I lie.

5. Lastly,the stupid age old “You need to go get some fresh air” one is my least favorite. I feel so bad on the days you guys don’t want to play outside and I convince you how good it is for you, how much healthier you’ll be…blah blah blah. I, for one, do perfectly fine with house air. In fact, I love it. Especially when it’s like 2 degrees outside and I’ve got Pride & Prejudice loaded up on the Netflix. So sorry for all those games of tag I made you play when you just wanted to color. And all the times I lured you outdoors with bubbles or made you ride bikes instead of “helping” me fold laundry. Lies, all of it. That and a little manipulation to exhaust you so you’d nap good.

So there, I got it off my chest. Even if you guys don’t read this for many, many years to come. I feel better clarifying these things with you. I want you to know I feel your pain, and I get it and mostly, I’m on your side. I don’t know who comes up with these rules anyway. They might not be fully human. I mean veggies? Fresh Air? No TV? Gimme a break, this is all we’ve been working to escape our whole lives! Don’t get any ideas too soon, though. The rules aint changing because I want you to turn out right. But I promise you, once you’re grownup, mature, and well adjusted (hahahaaaaaa) we can spend the entire day inside eating cookies and watching every Colin Firth movie ever made. Oh, and we can sleep with the lights on too!

Party in 2050!

Love,

Mommy

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The Picky Eater Project- Ch. 1

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Man cannot live on bread alone, but my son Jack can.

I sit here staring at him thinking of what a mess I’ve created by catering to his every whim, desperate to get him to eat something, anything. In my exasperated state I caved over the months, giving him chicken nuggets, waffles, frozen sausage links, toast…just to see him eating. At least he’s eating I tried to comfort myself. But now all I am left with is an almost 3 year old whose resolve has become so ingrained in him that he won’t even try one bite of something other than his standard. It’s terrible! And I feel so responsible and that I have done everything wrong that I could have done right, if I had just stuck it out a year ago when all this was snowballing before my eyes. I think I was too tired.

Parenting magazine had this lovely article in this month’s issue which completely steam-rolled my miniscule hope that he’d grow out of this phase. The article entitled, “Grow a Foodie!” had a jumbo-sized caption in the middle of the article shrieking at moms what the point they were trying to make was. It said

Picky-eaters are not born, they’re made” and in my my brain, in true mom fashion, I completed the sentenced, “and you’re making one”.

They could of just made a pop-up centerfold that poked me in the eye shouting “loser!”, and it may have been less harsh than that. The entire four page article went on and on about how we are enabling them to be picky, and that this phenomenon is strictly western culture because elsewhere the world there isn’t such a thing as the “kids menu”, kids just eat smaller portion of what their parents are eating! Shocking! The overall message I got from the article was: it’s my fault. Which is pretty much our deepest worry as moms that keeps gnawing at our sanity in the wee hours of the morning. The dreaded…..what if it’s all…my…fault? What if I made a bad decision? Or I messed up? How is this going to effect their adolescence, their potty training, or goodness gracious, what if they hold it against me for the rest of their life?? I can already see him now! Riding a motorcyle, drinking beer and eating pork rinds all because I could never stick it out and transition him to REAL FOOD…(and then Tom pointedly remarks, yes, but at least he’s eating pork.) Side note:It is never advisable under any circumstances to weigh options on any parenting decisions you have made from 11pm – 9am.

But it didn’t used to be this way! As a baby he tried many foods we presented to him and enjoyed things with flavor like chili, meatballs, lasagna, and carrots. Now, at 2 1/2, he has a strict menu of chicken nuggets, toaster waffles, pretzels, toast and PLAIN (not buttered! For the love he just might pass out if he sees butter) noodles. He is turning me into the parent I never wanted to be! I never, ever, ever, was going to have icky processed chicken fricken nuggets in my freezer or piles of toaster waffles on my counter for breakfast. I can’t tell you the countless kids I babysat for in high school and I thought I was never going to feed my kids as horribly as their parents were feeding them. Well that idea totally bit me in the butt.

I have one kid who eats anything, another who would if I would let him (even though he remains toothless) and the other who is pretty much the poster child for a happy meal. It makes me so guilty and frankly, very stressed out to think of all the nutrients he is missing out on, and now thanks to Parenting magazine I have pressure to purge him of these eating trends! I’ve got to change his preferences now before he’s asking for chicken nuggets and noodles at his high school graduation party. Or crying at his dress rehearsal dinner because some moron put a slab of butter on his bread.

As with every bright idea I have I always set out a tad bit too excitedly, and in Jack’s case, that’s a major turn off. I thought why wouldn’t it be a great idea to teach him and Mia about the food we eat and let them build their own plate? I sprang into action after tossing Parenting magazine in the trash and began piling different items from the fridge on the counter. We made carb piles, protein piles and fruit/veggie piles. I explained that at every meal, they had to have a carb, a veggie and a protein. Mia built her plate awesomely, made my Mommy heart swell with pride only to be utterly deflated a mere second later by Jack who insisted on having for his veggie: bread and his protein: bread. Equaling a lunch of : bread . About 15 minutes later, and a million and one negations on proteins(Me” “Hey, how about some Peanut butter?” Jack “How about not some peanut butter”. ) (Me: “how about CHOCOLATE YOGURT?!??!?!” ahahhahhaaaaa <<<— that’s me, breaking down in a fit of maniacal laughter at the absurdity of how much I’ve lowered my expectations) To summarize: on day one of the picky eater project, my son ate bread for lunch.

Is this a power play? Is he strong willed? Will he eventually cave? I don’t know. I think he’s going to have to give in eventually. I’ve tried every darn idea in the book and it’s not working. I don’t know how, but somehow, they just know when you sneak nutrition in. I did the old “turkey meatloaf cupcake with mashed potato frosting” thing. Stupid. He looked at me like I was from Mars. Then I tried mixing flax seed into his pasta sauce. HAHA. Yeah right. Then I cut up a real chicken cutlet to make it look like nuggets- nope. I even got out ice cube trays and gave him a whole flippin buffet to pick from and he just blinked at me and asked me why I even bother. Ok, he didn’t ask me that. But I knew that was what he was thinking. Yes and I’ve told him everything from he needs to grow, to pick food that is colorful, to let’s play a game, to I’ll give you a sticker, to just take a “no thank you bite”, to just-take-a-bite-of-it-and-i’ll-give-you-a-jelly-bean, to leveling with him and saying

“Look. If you don’t eat, you’re going to end up in the hospital.” To which he asked me, “Which hospital.” <<—and that is where I almost broke down in tears because in that moment I looked at his eyes and I heard “Bring it on, woman.” Oh dear, this is going to be much more difficult than I imagined. Thanks a lot, Parenting magazine!

So. Today is day 5 and we’re putzing along slowly. I’ll keep you all updated on how it turns out but I’ll leave you with a funny thought. Yesterday as I was making dinner so was my starving son. He was cooking in his play kitchen. He brought me a sampler platter of what he was making and when I asked what it was he told me,

“This is noodle and frosting and pancake soup with banana fries” Then he kind of stared at me with these big “Do-you-want-me-to-make-this-any-clearer” look. I know we’re both thinking this doesn’t need to be this difficult. I told him I’d have to find a recipe. Ha. I guess I’m going to need to get a little more creative than I thought here.

What my kids say vs. What I hear

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1.       They say : “Mommy, when are you going to get dressed?”

I hear: “ You look old & tired. Put down that cup of coffee and get off the couch you lazy bum.”

2.       They say: “ Mom? Mom? Mom? Mommy? Mama? Mommmmmmmmm? Hey Mom? Mom? Mommy? Mommy??”

I hear:  Nails on a chalkboard.

3.       They say: “ No I want something else for dinner. Yuck!”

I hear:  “ Just because you watch Rachel Ray doesn’t mean you know how to cook. I can survive on bread alone (with butter).”

4.       They say:  “ Go away! I need privacy!”

I hear: “I am going to poop on the floor and make it look like an accident.”

5.       They say: “Puh-leeze! I just need some water before I go to sleep!”

I hear:   “ It’s so funny to see how easily you cry at 2am after I wet the bed.”

6.       They say: “One more book!”

I hear:  “ Don’t even kid yourself that I’m falling asleep anytime soon.”

7.       I say: “For the love, go play with your brother”

They say “ No Mommy, I want to stay here with youuuuuuuuu.”

I hear: “ I’m running an experiment to see how many times it takes to say the same thing over and over to you before you go nuts.”

8.      They say: “ Can I have more waffles? Can we go to Nanee’s? Can we watch some Kipper? Can you go get my baby doll stuff? Can we go outside? Can we go to the park?      Can we do a project? Can we fingerpaints? (all asked without breathing or pauses)

I hear: “ Can you do a headstand and sing the Star Spangled banner in Spanish while doing sign language with your feet?”

Next, please!

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Summer always makes me think of ice cream. Well, okay, realistically speaking I can probably say that just about anything can make me think of ice cream.

To clarify: summer has a way of reminding me that it’s “ice cream season.”  The sweaty, sticky days that beckon us to do nothing but squint and search for shade are here. Days that inevitably have a way of driving everyone in our town to the one location that serves the best ice cream around. You know its really good ice cream when perfectly sane neighbors (including yourself) tote the whole family along to wait in line (out the door, through the parking lot) in the blazing heat for a milkshake. Definitely putting themselves at risk for heat stroke or at the very least, sweat stains.

In any case, summer will always make me remember my days waiting on those such customers when I worked at Holy Cow. A good 4 summers of memories. Some very, funny, memories.

One such story is what I now call “The Legend of the Bands”. For it is quite simply the short summary of my awkward teen years and all its embarrassing moments wrapped up in a tiny nutshell topped with whipped cream and a cherry. It goes like this:

Holy Cow is the best ice cream in town. The best. The prices are insanely cheap, and the ice cream is so delicious that the place is open all year round (even on holidays!) minus two days.

To work at Holy Cow is probably one of the most prestigious jobs a teen around here can hold.It practically warrants celeb status. To this day, people will come up to you and expect you to remember them, or worse, their usual orders. If they don’t recognize you from the store, you can reference working there in pretty much any circumstance (like getting out of a ticket or meeting new friends) and you instantly move up on the awesome ladder.

Typically, the girls who worked at HC were the high school field hockey team. Gorgeous girls who had straight teeth, nice figures and boyfriends. Popular girls, in short. I, however, was not on the field hockey team. I did not have anything resembling a figure and  I certainly did not have a boyfriends, or boys who were my friends. Heck, I didn’t even go to the public high school. I was a homeschooled, knobby kneed, braces wearing, overly exuberant teenager who was somehow hired.

I was also very skinny. So the “small” shirt I was given to wear sat on me like a loose sheet  totally killing any chance of emphasizing the imaginary figure I wished I had. And I didn’t have contacts yet, so I wore “attitude glasses”. And I had some crazy cases of acne. So, in short as one employee dubbed me, I was a “funny dork”.

Lucky for me, I was confident in my dorkiness. The one thing I had going for me was that I was super friendly. Sometimes this aided my situation and sometimes it entirely destroyed my self esteem, as in this case (and in the Christmas tree nose hair case, but that’s another story).

It was a piping hot June day. I had just undergone oral surgery a few days prior, for which one of my upper incisors (aka front tooth’s neighbor) had to be “lassoed” from the roof of my mouth (for whence it decided to settle instead of my gums) and be dragged down to the front of my mouth.  The end result consisted of a silver linked chain with one end attached to the roof tooth and the other end attached to the front tooth. Totally insanely gross & weird, and completely would figure to be just my luck as I entered my 16th year of life. I definitely kissed all prospects of attracting boys goodbye. I did come to terms with the surgery rather quickly though, especially when the alternative was a tooth which potentially would settle in the roof of my mouth, near the nasal cavity. Now that would definitely have been special. No nose-tooth for me, give me the silver chained lasso.

In addition to the bling and my usual fully loaded metal mouth, I had been assigned to wear “rubberbands” which helped pull the top teeth lower by anchoring them with a teeny tiny rubber band to the bottom teeth. So, pretty much I could only open my mouth as far as the tension on the very visible rubber bands would allow before they snapped or before I was in pain. Something usually gave.

As I stood at the dull ice cream counter, waiting for the customers to pour in, I pitied  myself in my baggy shirt, gawky glasses, and the fact that when I spoke it looked like I was choking on a necklace.

People began to flood the store in search of decadent sundaes and cones. I blinked comatosely through my smudged glasses and convinced myself to be the best ice cream waitress possible, to be friendly and get the order right. I coached myself that people would be so caught off guard by my helpfulness & cheer that they couldn’t possibly have a chance to notice my war zone mouth.

“Can I help who’s next?”

I shouted out to the masses, lunging my body up higher by standing on my toes to get people’s attention.

More people poured in, the chatter between people created a cicada-like hum and the heat grew stickier, no one stepped forward to my line.

“Next?”

I tried again, pushing my glasses up my nose with a sigh.

I looked around at the other girls serving customers, hastily dashing between the milkshake machine and the ice cream freezer, dousing cones with sprinkles, filling dishes with strawberries and dollops of whipped cream. Sweating buckets as they heard the front door jingle over, and over, and over again as more, and more, and more people stuffed themselves into the store.

I smiled hugely and tried an approach that was sure to work: speaking up.

Again I went up on my toes, gripping the counter for stability with my bony fingers.

My baggy shirt swayed in the motion.

“Can I please help who’s next?!”

As my mouth widened to finish the “ex” part of next, something gave.

My rubberbands snapped, spit splattered  and so did my self image for that month.

I watched in that slow-motion like in movies where the people inwardly shout “noooooooooo”

as my rubberbands flew out of my mouth and into the sea of customers. All of whom were staring at me; the girl who was supposed to fix their ice cream which they wanted to eat. Even though I looked like I was trying to swallow a tiny tennis bracelet. And now all they knew was that something flew out of my mouth all slimy at a most abrupt rate and landed somewhere in their midst, but because it was “clear” colored  it wasn’t going to be located too easily.

I cringed and made a mortified mad dash to the bathroom where I locked myself in there to “fix” my rubberbands or really, wait until the crowd left so I wouldn’t have to face my victims.

I’m pretty sure for the rest of my shift, I tried to find everything imaginable to do that wouldn’t require interaction with customers.

Although it was the one of the most embarrassing days of my fragile teenage life, I can’t help but laugh about it now.I also can’t help but be super skeptical of who’s serving me food.Especially when it’s ice cream season and I’m the one on the other side of the counter.

Pot Pity

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Definitely not what you think. It’s about a strange occurrence that has been happening in the Thimons house almost too regularly. It’s becoming so habitual, it’s frightening.

I’ve ruined 2 good pots since we moved into Pio’s place. Ruined them in the most idiotic, dumb ways ever. By turning on a burner, putting the pot with a veggie (it’s always a vegetable) on the burner and finding another project that needs to be done. Like cleaning the bathtub, checking my e-mail or vacuuming. Or giving the kids a bath. Or all four at once. (just kidding)

Today I ruined pot number 3.

"Mommy’s on a roll, kids!" CG shouted amidst the billows of smoke from the kitchen. I stuck my head out of our bedroom where I was re-organizing the dresser drawer. Instantly remembering the mental note a little too late..

"I forgot, I put peas on!!!!!" (a vegetable again)

"You’re averaging a pot every two days…." came the reply.

Why is this happening? It doesn’t make sense? Do I have some deep subconscious hatred for vegetables that is coming out in harsh ways? Am I just really forgetful? Every time this happens, I sorrowfully look into my pot, mourn its loss (now I only have a skillet and two jumbo sauce pots) and then CG tries to work his maintenance man magic in reviving the little fella.

So far total losses:3, recoveries: 0.

We’ve tried baking soda, vinegar, Clorox, lots of soap, letting it soak, talking to it, scraping, and burning it some more. Dead. All of them. Goners.

So what’s the lesson that I’m still not learning? How can I combat this plague of burned pots in the kitchen? For starters, I’m thinking stop getting sidetracked. Which equals having to lock myself in a room with no doors, windows or telephones or belt myself to the stove. Which kind of happened the other day when I ran to get Chubs and my shirt was wrapped around the drawer, quickly jerking me back to the stove with vengeance. I was annoyed, but found the jerk helpful. The carrots were over boiling. (Vegetable)

Secondly, I could try taking some fish oil for focus. Is ADD an age-progressive disorder? If so…I definitely have got to get my game on.

Third, maybe I should stop cooking veggies.

So, a stove belt, some fish oil and lots of carbs. Sounds like I’m in business for keeping the rest of my cookware in tact.