Potty Training, or the case of the second child who is allergic to it.

Biggie was 90% potty trained when we got pregnant with Smalls, at the distinguished age of 2. That kid took to potty training like a pig to mud. Pooping on the potty was his speciality, and he was an over achiever. By the time Smalls was born Biggie had just turned 3 and was totally out of diapers. You jealous? Calm down. Because this isn’t a story with a happy ending.

Smalls never had much interest in the potty. His Tinder profile would read “likes to scream, ignore authority, and loves to shit his pants.” You just finally got around to making your own lunch? Guess what, that foul odor ain’t the trash. You just FINALLY got to sit down on the couch? Guess who shit themselves again. It is making me murdery. And he always tells you he didn’t poop himself. Like the green cloud circling him isn’t a dead giveaway.

You tell him it’s time to go potty and he wants to bring a suitcase full of toys with him. “I bring my monster truck?” Do you want Mommy to have a nervous breakdown?! Get your smelly ass in here, tiny demon with half my genes. Then you put him on the potty and he cries. Like I’m sorry YOU don’t want to be in here? I’m the one who has to wipe you. Cry me a river. Did you really just ask me to wear undies after all this? Wash your hands and get lost.

So Dading taught him to stand up and pee. He likes that, no surprise. He sees his older brother do it, and everything he does it cool so why not. Then he just took it to another level by using candy bribes. You thought this was a game?! And lo and behold, he is on rare occasions pooping in the toilet. And more frequently still blowing out his Pull-Ups.

Why are second children so difficult?! Send wine.

WTAF 2020?!

Ok guys, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve been on here. And in that time the world has gone to hell. Like holy shit right? Remember when we thought 2020 was going to be our year? What a bunch of idiots, LOL on us. So we’ve been social distancing and trying to entertain our children who we are stuck with 24/7 (I so did NOT sign up for this) while simultaneously praying to the god of caffeine that my Starbucks continues to have drive-through. Did I mention we are also closing on our house this week? Could it get any crazier? Please don’t answer that. And in the middle of this apocalypse I’ve learned a few things-

1. Teachers are a manna from the heavens and we do not deserve them. Like how do they hang out with our kids all day and be nice to them and not lose their minds?! If you told me their salary was $1 million I would still say it isn’t enough. And the fact that they still want to FaceTime my demons while school is closed? If any of you read this I love you and also please help me.

2. I actually like hanging out with these little offspring. Truth, they are driving me bat shit insane and I swear all I do is yell and threaten them. But we got to finally teach Biggie to ride a bike, something we never had time for, and that’s pretty legit.

3. Slowing down is pretty awesome. Not having to commute to school and work, rushing to swimming, etc is a breath of fresh air. We are trying to enjoy every second of this pause on our crazy life.

4. If I thought I was grateful before…. Dading and I have job security. We try not to take that for granted. We don’t have to worry about being laid off or losing money. We know many others don’t have that assurance. We are trying to give back as much as we can, and help out anyone we can. We are still able to buy our house because of this job security, and I try not to dwell on the fact that if we didn’t have that we would have lost our house.

So wash your fucking hands. Stop picking at your face. Throw your gloves and masks in the trash, you scumbag. And be nice to people. Tip your restaurant at curbside pickup. Post a nice note to your door for your delivery drivers. Do what you can to make this as tolerable as possible for everyone. Babysit my kids. Walk my dog. I’m open to suggestions 😉

Daylight savings: a war crime.

What genius thought “you know what, parents out there are tired as fuck and already hanging on by a thread. You know what would be great? If we fucked with their clocks.”

Whoever invented daylight savings should be considered a war criminal. I am so fucked up today, have no idea what time it is, and feel like I’ve been hit by a train. Smalls wouldn’t nap, and by dinner time Biggie looked like he’d been on a 3 day bender. They ran around screaming at the top of their lungs today and literally drove me fucking crazy. “Stop screaming” I screamed from the shower as I realized how insane this entire scenario was. No lie, it wasn’t until dinner that I realized no one even had lunch. And I only noticed because they were eating like rabid monkeys, which obviously was super suspicious.

Why? Just why? So it can be bright as fuck when the kids go to bed? So they have more time to play outside before it gets dark? No parent has the energy for MORE playtime at the end of the day. I consider this an act of terrorism.

I know you aren’t supposed to negotiate with terrorists, but I would literally beg and plead and I have no shame. I’m too tired for an emotion like that.

Kids and germs: nature’s PB&J

Unless you live under a rock, corona virus is dominating my Twitter feed. I’m not going to lie- I was getting nervous. I have an asthmatic kid who has put us through the ringer for emergency hospital visits, and things like this usually mean he is more susceptible to getting the funk.

I am not going so far as to stockpile toilet paper, and I certainly wouldn’t waste a bottle of Tito’s if I was a drinker on homemade sanitizer, but I am peeved my Trader Joe’s is out of their very nice hand sanitizer bottles at the register. But let’s talk about the real elephant in the room- kids and germs.

Every time there is some funk going around, the answer everyone spouts is “just wash your hands. Keep your hands away from your face. Cover your mouth when you sneeze.” You just described everything every kid under 8 is allergic to. Biggie spends 90% of his day with his fingers in his mouth, and Smalls takes to goat chewing his clothing like a mom to Target.

Why can’t the CDC ever say things like “if you eat ketchup like crack cocaine and you hate vegetables you have zero chance of contracting this germ” Seriously someone do a study, being 75% ketchup has to ward off something.

It isn’t as simple as just “wash your hands.” If there is a germ within 10 feet of a kid they do everything humanly possible to get at it. And if I had a dollar for every time one of these fuckers sneezed in my face I could finally be that stay at home trophy wife I dream of. Parents are probably more likely to get this stupid virus because our bodies are devastated under the crippling exhaustion of these damn kids.

So yeah, I am concerned about this virus. I did read on the CDC website that kids aren’t more likely to get it, and the symptoms tend to be more mild than adults. And yes, I am hand sanitizing these fuckers left and right. And threatening them in the ass puckering mom tone when I see a hand go in a mouth. I think corona virus is just another way for the universe to try and fuck us parents. I call bullshit.

And now I’m going to go wash my hands, just in case.

The sound of anxiety.

I’ve talked before about the things that trigger and soothe my anxiety. Lately I have been really noticing how much noise is getting to me. I’m wondering if anyone else finds that their anxiety surges in the constant stimulation and noise of life?

Work is a place where I like to decompress. I like to be left alone to work and listen to a podcast or book on CD or music to help focus my brain. It also helps to quiet my brain, because if I am listening to a story my mind focuses on that and not the million other things that run through my head on a constant basis. I am a really social person, but the constant stress of not having our own home and raising two small, very LOUD boys creates this need for quiet. So at the risk of being a hermit, I like to do my work without much social interaction.

Obviously that isn’t how life works, and I have been finding myself constantly overstimulated with noise and people at work. Which of course continues when I get home. I always feel cranked up to 100, and the only quiet I get is when we go to bed. So I stay up way later than I should and am always exhausted. Which leads to anxiety… anyone else picking up on this vicious circle of shit?

The other day there was a lot of noise in the house and I almost freaked out. It was too much stimulation and I couldn’t take it. Is anyone else like this? How do you guys find quiet spaces for yourself to decompress? Does anyone else consider this a huge anxiety trigger like I do?

Can 5 year olds have anxiety? – Follow up.

I had a few people reach out about my last blog post, so I wanted to follow it up after I spoke to my therapist.

She said a lot of what Biggie is experiencing is normal for his age. She also thought we needed to wait to see how he was after we moved. That if we were feeling the stress he would be too, especially if he is as perceptive as we described. Makes sense to me- of course he would be feeling some of the stress and anticipation of the new house.

She recommended setting up a calendar for him so he can see what’s going on in our family on a day to day. So I made him a calendar, with a soccer ball on soccer days, swim picture on swim days,etc. I also set up a “What’s for dinner?” Sign that I print out with pictures of what we are having for dinner. I notice he looks for it when he gets home. So hopefully these things ease his little mind as we get into this home stretch before we move. Thanks for all the comments and suggestions from everyone this past week 🙂

Can 5 year olds have anxiety?

I think Biggie might have anxiety.

I’ve discussed in previous blog posts about being worried about passing anxiety on, and how there is a hereditary component to it. Smalls is too little and frankly too monstrous to be concerned he has anything but the desire to try and kill me with stress.

But Biggie is another story. Biggie is my cautious child. My thinker, my question asker. This past month he has been on and off going through a phase that I have been told is normal for this pre-kindergarten age. He’s trying to be more independent, while also being very clingy. He’s got a teenager attitude in that 5yo head of his sometimes.

Any deviation from the schedule makes him clingy. If we drop him off at a different time in the morning, he cries and doesn’t want us to leave. He spent a different night of the week at Gramma’s instead of the usual Tuesday and he couldn’t deal. He was crying big crocodile tears when we dropped him off, and had to call us before bed and cried when he was dropped off at school the next day.

He has to know the agenda for the day. And he has to ask questions until he understands exactly what we are doing and where we are going for the day. It usually pisses me off because I just told you what we are doing why are you asking me all these questions?! But lately I wonder if that gives him security and eases his anxiety. I’m an OCD planner- maybe he is too? He’s always liked things neat and lined up, even as a little toddler. So I’ve been trying to keep that in mind and really try to lay out what we are going to do on the daily- especially if it’s a change from the usual.

All this makes me feel some kind of way- that maybe he got his anxiety from me. Did seeing me so anxious before I started treatment affect him? Is he really anxious or just 5? (This is our first time going through the 5yo phase so fuck if I know). Is there something more we can be doing to help him? How will this affect him when he starts public school in the fall?

This will be discussed in therapy tomorrow.

What my kids have taught me.

Having kids teaches you a lot about yourself, both good and bad. You see the world through kid colored glasses. Here’s some things my little monkeys have taught me:

Always drive through the rain puddles at turbo speed.

Always enjoy how pretty the sunrises are.

Give someone a hug when they are sad.

Take time to notice something nice about a stranger, and don’t be afraid to tell them.

Bees are so nice because they give us honey.

Take the time to give the puppy belly scratches.

How to be brave.

That there is, in fact, a limit to the amount of questions I can answer before I lose my shit.

To be more accepting of other people, as we try to teach acceptance to them.

That mom friends are necessary for survival.

To sing at top volume, even if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket.

That I yell so much more than I ever wanted to or thought I would.

How to teach boys to potty train. ( I seriously will never get enough credit for this).

What pure, unadulterated pride feels like.

That you can carry 9.5 and 10 pound babies for 9 months in your body and not die, even though you want to and feel like you’re going to.

That peeing when you sneeze is a very real thing now.

They have taught me to push to be the best version of myself, so I can be the best Mama for them. I can’t wait until they are old enough for me to hold all these things over their heads.

Kids need kudos, too.

Sunday morning I let Dading sleep in and took the kids to church. And by church I mean Starbucks. They were actually behaving themselves. I realize I should have captured it on video as proof that a miracle happened. There was an older couple sitting at the table next to us and when they got up to leave they came over to say hi to the kids. He asked Biggie if he was the big brother. I responded “he isn’t just a big brother, he is the BEST big brother.” The look on his little face, how he beamed with pride across the table. It made me realize that in those little moments when you have the chance to make them feel special and important, do it. Adults need their egos stroked, and so do our little spawn. It reminded me to take the time to support him and compliment him. I went home and told Dading how his face lit up, and he told me I was a rockstar mom for doing that, because he probably wouldn’t have thought to say something like that as a response. And so the circle of inflated egos was completed. I will remember this, and try to find little ways more often to cause Biggie to flash that million dollar smile 🙂

Being real with your kids.

I recently had a discussion in therapy about whether it was ok to let your kids see you cry. Especially when my anxiety was not monitored, Biggie used to see me cry all the time because the waterworks were real and frequent. Now that he is older, he understands emotions better and will hug me, and snuggle with me, and tell me he will make me feel better. We think it’s important for the boys to see that we aren’t some emotionless dictators that run their life. (Dictators for sure, but not emotionless ones).

I want the boys to be able to tell us and show us how they feel, and not to be uncomfortable doing so. So we try to set a good example. I want to be relatable and approachable to them. My therapist agreed, and said they would be more emotionally healthy than if we didn’t talk to them.

There is no talking to Smalls about anything, he is a little baby grinch monster who makes us all insane. I’m thinking of letting him audition for the next Omen movie, as he has the maniacal laughter and evil stares on lock already. But we do talk to Biggie as much as you can without imploding a 5 year old brain. We use the new house as a way to talk about money- how Daddy works overtime so we can buy things for the new house. How we cancelled swimming for him because we felt he was ready, and now that he is doing soccer we needed to downsize our activities. We explain the bigger emotions- like feeling embarrassed when you act like a little shit at school, and being disappointed in yourself for not having good listening and doing your best. I hope by doing this he is learning that he is responsible for how he acts and talks, and that maybe he feels like a contributing member of the family.

Biggie is definitely transitioning from toddler to little boy. His emotions are bigger, his attitude is bigger (FML). But with this comes his eagerness to help out. Yesterday he helped me take out the trash and recycle, dry dishes and clean up after dinner. We give him responsibility, and then show him how proud we are of him when he rises to the challenge.

We let him see us make mistakes. We apologize when we lose our temper. He sees us forget things. He sees us not get it right sometimes. I hope all these things give him the grace to make his own mistakes, and maybe not be as hard on himself as I am on me. Hopefully this method of parenting fucks him up just a little bit less in the end 🙂