How to Pick ’em

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I’ve been trying to instill in the kids more of a servant mentality. And by that I mean the other afternoon I said

“Hey guys, you know what is the best thing you can say to anybody? It’s ‘what can I do to help you?‘ “

I talked to them about how everyone loves to be asked that question, and how it’s really what Jesus is calling us to do as Christians… help each other.

We went back and forth asking one another “what can I do to help you?” and it seemed to be that the lesson was learned.

Fast forward to that evening, and I was crawling around the living room floor gathering up legos, strewn story books, random sippy cups and laundry in a frantic clean-up-before-bedtime scramble.

As I stuffed puzzle pieces into their places, and re fluffed pillows for the couch, Chubs sauntered into the living room and lingered by the fireplace.

“Mom?” he asked with one hand near the bottom of his chin, “What can I do” his pointer finger began to slide up his nostril “to help you?”

My heart went from elation to shock as I watched him snag a booger and wipe it affectionately on my mantle just as he completed his offer of help.

He stared at me with his big, brown, doe eyes, truly offering his assistance out of the bottom of his heart.

I stared at him with my mouth hanging open in utter dismay as to how the whole scenario could have been more ironic.

This is also the same child who weeks earlier, as I was chatting with some friends, walked up to me in mid-conversation  and pried open my fingers, placed his booger in my hand and walked away. Completely and genuinely oblivious to how unappreciated his random acts of kindness are.

So needless to say, I informed my son he could help me by starting with that booger, and cleaning it off the mantle. to which he replied

“Ew, Mom. That’s gwoss

::sigh::

God sure knows how to keep me humble. Just when I think we’re turning a corner here I get to delightfully encounter a moment with my child that smacks me in the face with reality.

Apparently helping hands that have boogers on them are not as commonly appreciated as you would think. Next up on our agenda is learning about hygiene!

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What sells more than controversy? Poop.

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Even thoughSanta? Imagination? Wait how religious are you? was such a hit (lol) It’s sad, but it’s true. Especially to stay at home moms like me. I see a heated debate about NFP or Kris Kringle and I’m  all in on reading it, but I see a story about a mom who took a walk with three little kids, got lost, couldn’t find a bathroom, somehow got stuck riding a train with these lunatics, one of which crapped his pants while she was holding him…..and I am jumping for joy

“Yes! That’s what I am talking about! My life is full of poop too!”

Yep. That story wasn’t actually true, it was my dream from last night though. The entire dream I was looking at my hand going

Oh my god. There is diarrhea on my hand. It’s on my hand. How have I come this far in life to have diarrhea on my hand?”

Isn’t it bad enough I have to deal with this crap (pun intended) all day long, do I seriously need to be dreaming about it too? And here’s the truth, and I know every single Mommy out there can raise a hand in solidarity with me when I relate to you my afternoon last week:

Today I wanted to write my blog post. It seems as though fate is against me. After I wasted away most of my morning dressing up the kids and posing them as famous movie scenes (please view Instagram) I decided to feed them lunch. They wanted cereal which was easy for me and I figured I’d soon be on my merry way typing for my blog. But then, Princess knocked over the entire bowl of cereal until there was a lactose river of bliss flowing through every crack and crevice on my kitchen floor, and under the seat cushions that are screwed into our kitchen chairs.

In the time that I decided that I indeed was going to have to mop (sigh) and actually getting the mop, Princess had managed to wet her pants, hide them, and run around my house sans underwear. Once we retrieved the soiled linens, deposited them in the washer, and got the mop upstairs all the kids went down to the basement to play.

Right as I was starting to mop I heard yells and shouts coming from the basement bathroom. The words “lots of water” “poop” “Chubs flushed” rang through our house and I cringed and started my Lamaze exercises.  The clocked proved so far that only about 23 minutes had passed since the milk incident. I calmed myself, went down to the netherworld basement bathroom where I smelled strong aromas of a stinkier nature.  “It’s poop again” I muttered to myself as I peeked into the bathroom, gagged, then sprinted up the stairs to do some serious self-talk through. “You can do this”.

By some miracle, literally seconds later Camera Guy walked in for lunch, which I offered to him on terms that he would address the poop situation. Kids were still playing in the basement. After Camera Guy left for work again, I called the troops up for naptime and as I was hopeful, blog writing time. As Little Guy began his ascent up the steps I once again smelled poop. And also noticed he had thoughtfully removed his pants, and his diaper. After some more muttering and self-talk “It’s POOP AGAIN” I was absolutely delighted to noticed Little Guy’s white onesie was now brown, his legs were covered, and numerous little nuggets of joy were scattered in a trail from whence he came.

So you see, I really wanted to do some awesome, life changing blogging today and I wanted it to be different from all the other stories I write, but alas, as hard as I may try to avoid it: poop is my lot in this life.

———-

And even as I relate this delectable incident to you, I will have to excuse myself from wrapping this post up because I hear  one toddler sifting through my kitchen trashcan and another one screaming “WIPE ME” from the bathroom.

Ta Ta.

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

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.

Get Real

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Sometimes I follow these Pinterest links to these super-housewifey-June-Cleaver-ish blogs. I don’t know about you but they depress me. Well, at least they used to, until I started getting real with myself. I don’t see reality when I read on their ‘about’ page:

 “ Howdy! I’m Linda and I have 23 kids , two culinary arts degrees, and a black belt in Karate. I home school all my kids, teach CCD, run the Rosary society and volunteer at our local pet shelter. In my free time I post endless sewing patterns, vocabulary templates, and recipes that I’ve written all myself. I also like to practice my knitting skills and have an entire YouTube page with tutorials on how to spin yarn and raise & shave your Alpacas! This blog is my way of making you feel entirely unproductive, talentless and generally useless because I will post, tweet, and Facebook new ideas daily! Thanks for stopping by!”

I used to see that and want to roll up with a tiny whimper on the couch clutching the last morsel of a Mallomar feeling completely incapable of daily life.Now I see that and I mentally stand with my hand on my hip “C’mon girl! Get real!”. I’m not buying it! Life is not instagramed. It is not collection of photo documentation of what we do. To prove ourselves worthy of the world. “See cyber world? I am so much better than you. This is me striking a yoga pose while making my own hummus. It’s all in the buttocks.” See that profile that has the picture on Facebook that hasn’t changed in over 3 years? That’s a sign of a  person who is real. They are actually living their life!

Anyway, seeing some of these blogs made me think about this one and what I hope that it is or who it is for. I realized that here at athimons.com we are a place for all the moms who stand over the garbage can, scarfing down the leftover pizza crust on your toddlers plate while “clearing the table”, for those of you who nearly break their necks tripping over the lost camel from your nativity scene….in August. Who pick up, re pick up, and spend the whole livelong day picking up! Who have to ask “where are your underpants?” regularly. Who buy ovulation test sticks in bulk, from the pharmacy window, with all your babies in tow. And then has to drag your sorry self back to the pharmacy the very next day because the totally incompetent college aged pharmaceutical assistant sold you fertility tests instead of ovulation tests. As if you just being there with all the kids was not a completely obvious sign of which one you needed. Who lick the outside of the yogurt container before you put it back in the fridge, who found out that hey, applesauce and rice cereal is realllllyyyy yummy,who remember that you forgot to switch the wash at 2am and who chase deranged, fat, squirrels off your front porch when you find them attacking your pumpkins. This is for those of us who cannot get out of the house due to dirty diapers, spit up, nursing, crying, meltdowns, potty accidents, spilled yogurt, pulled hair, political survey phone calls, tracked in mud, or all of the above. Or for us who never whistle while they work, but sometimes moan or sigh loudly and occasionally have a quivering bottom lip while listening to shrill tiny voices prattling on at hyperspeed.  For moms who find that their times they negotiate most with God is in the wee hours of the morning, with a child who’s been up half the night screaming. (It’s amazing how many novenas and rosaries we promise. And how many saints needing a 3rd miracle we promise canonization to!) For us who are going to be a “Hello My name is: tired” sticker for Halloween (don’t steal my idea, at least wait until I Pinterest it) For all the moms who get pointless advice from old ladies in the grocery stores or endure unasked for rude comments on your fertility. For you who fish around poking yourself in the eye, looking for a contact lens you never put in. For those of us who eat leftovers for lunch cold. Because, no, we don’t have time to heat it up. And frankly, at this point it doesn’t matter because you just swallow it whole in a matter of seconds anyway. Who take out your earrings at night and find one earring with no back on it, and the other one with two. And who are so gosh darn tired that you cannot remember the names of the children you birthed.

This blog is for all you real mommies out there, who are wiping up, cleaning up, picking up,  living it up and are sometimes tempted to give up, but will never want to wake up with any other family than the one you got. And who know that it’s ok to be aggravated and frustrated with changes or crosses, and that it doesn’t make us failures or less of a good parent to question our decisions. I hope this blog is an avenue for Moms out there to not feel like an island in their chaos, that all of us are there, have been there, and know that eventually…everyone will sleep through the night. And naturally we will have our routines back. And certainly, if we had a choice over which cross we wanted, we would choose our own because let’s get real: nobody knows the ins and outs of our jobs like we do.