Consequence

You know those parenting moments where you’re not sure if you are punishing yourself or your children? Chalk this one up in that column because my kiddos have officially lost Kindle, and quite possibly for the rest of the week, if not longer.

I found out this morning, shortly before HD’s pick up for school came, that the reason he and his siblings have been playing soooo nicely and soooo peacefully and sooooooooooo long downstairs in the morning post-breakfast is because they’ve been playing Kindle instead of just playing. AYFKM?!

OK. Some back story. A lot of mornings, they do have their hands on a Kindle but it’s for music only. They are my children, HD especially, and Spotify is going pretty much always for one of us during any given day, so sure – music in the morning is fine by me, even when it means I have to listen to the same 5 KidzBop songs 10,000x. Whatevs. But they aren’t supposed to be playing anything on the games side and not even messing with the device even, just letting it play.

You see, contrary to what some people believe who hear him speak (because it is the No.1 thing he talks about ALL THE BLESSED TIME), Harrison is NOT on the Kindle 24/7. We have set times when playing Angry Birds/games is allowed and it is limited. Again, you wouldn’t know that based on how much of his conversations his levels and the games tend to carry, but I promise you. It’s not Free Reign over here.

So imagine my BLERGH when they told me – all on their own, mind you – what they’ve been up to the last three mornings. Not exactly a happy mama, I kept my cool and told them I would think about and discuss with their dad their consequence, but they would likely be loosing Kindle. They were proud of themselves for not lying when questioned, I think, but since they already know the rules, I’m not sure that’s really a victory or a source of pride.

Not three minutes later, HD followed me into the kitchen and started talking about how he wouldn’t care if he lost Kindle because it’s not like the new level opens up today. That’s tomorrow and so and so on. Now, in his defense, it was 100% sass-free talk. It was merely matter of fact statements. Ones that just happened to tip me over the edge, though, and now no, he will not be having Kindle today or tomorrow and possibly not until next week. I’m not nursing Truman as much during the day anymore (actually, not at all during the day – just once when he wakes up in the morning), so I no longer need Mommy’s Little Helper to keep the children occupied during that late-afternoon post-school feeding. And they need to know that the rules are the rules, even when they make it way harder for me to get sh!t done during their waking hours. Dang it.

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Someone Loves Scissors (and other random Tuesdayness)

Oh my word. I guess the full moon before Christmas is always an interesting one, but my children have been in FINE form today. I give you a semi-chronological list of evidence:

  1. The Bigs emptied every blessed book from our shelves this morning into two huge piles on our couches in a counting contest to see who could get more in their pile. I’ve never thought there was such a thing as too many books until today. Bright side – the shelves now look impeccable because I sorted them as I made the kids bring them back to me after breakfast? img_4482
  2. Lincoln, the child I can never for the ever loving life of me get dressed in anything img_4478other than pajamas, flat out refused to wear PAJAMAS for PAJAMA DAY at preschool. Last night? Totally stoked. Going to wear footies. Today? Not having it. Not one bit.
  3. While waiting in between drop off times for preschool, Raegan was like a loud pinball in the hallway – literally bouncing off the walls and chairs and floor while she played with the baby and some other friends that play the same waiting game we do every T/Th. Seriously. Who caffeinated my children this morning?!
  4. Truman has become the Mad Thrasher any time I go to pick him up for a diaper change. He wants so badly to do his own thing that clearly my desire to keep him dry and smelling so fresh and so clean, clean is totally insulting. Also, he wants to walk. And he gets mad when things or his feet or poor balance get in the way. Also, he is fighting a cold. And he gets mad when I try to wipe his face. Basically, he’s just having A (MAD) WEEK.
  5. The Middles tend to get into a lot of shenanigans while I nurse the baby for his afternoon nap, but today each one had their own infraction. Lincoln, I discovered after coming back downstairs, had taken his glass glass from lunch and chucked it on the floor, which resulted thankfully not in it breaking, but in orange juice (also fighting a cold) being all over the floor. Perhaps this explains why I did not notice RL’s issue until I went to wash my hands in the bathroom and discovered hair in the sink. img_4481
  6. Yep, the girl who loves love loves to color and then cut paper, finally took the scissors to her hair. It doesn’t help that two boys have haircuts today and she doesn’t, but thankfully I can’t even see where she took the chunk out of her hair, so I guess all is well still for her preschool program at the end of the week and we don’t have to add a third cut to the hair dresser docket.

And you guys, this was all before 1:00 p.m.! These children, I tell ya!

But in some not-exasperating-at-all news, I picked up a post at Her View From Home this week and it is live on their site today. It’s about telehealth which I totally didn’t even really know what a legit thing until we tried it over the weekend. Have you ever used it? Fascinating stuff!

So – the rest of Tuesday….well, TBD, I guess. Here’s hoping the shenanigans are out of the way!

Down and Out

As so often happens when I am a) wide awake during a should-be sleeping time, b) nursing, and c) anywhere other than at the computer, I spent much of the 3-5 a.m. hours this morning composing blog posts in my head. Seeing as I didn’t exactly get the hoped for awesome nap to then make up for being up at that time, we’ll see how the actual blogging here turns out today.

So why up in the middle of the early morning? Sick kid. We’ve been terribly fortunate with germs so far this year (knocking over a tree now to hope that trend continues), but apparently the cold weather, plus a couple late nights this week, plus the barrage of germs that is apparently flying around right now finally caught up to poor Harrison, who woke up with an upset tummy and hot forehead at 3:00. Ben brought him downstairs and set him up on the couch and then I camped out with him the rest of the night. And actually, even though neither one of us got much rest, he didn’t get sick any more, so I thought we had somehow landed the most incredible 6-hr-virus ever.

Even more convincing of that fact was that HD woke me up in the beanbag (p.s. we no longer fit on the same couch. I tried spreading out on the far end, but his legs are so darn long that even on my side and scooted to the edge of the armrest, his toes were touching my tummy!) sometime in the 6 a.m. hour, after I finally managed to go back to bed) making fake farty noises, and giggling, so I thought, how sick could he be?

But, flash forward a few hours later, and he still wasn’t eating or up and about much, and got sick again, so there went my hopes of the super fast icks. Poor kid. And now, in the middle of the day, he is sacked out hard in the chaise next to me in the family room, curled up with Cow and an entire nest of blankets which includes my very own baby blanket.

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Thank goodness it is Saturday so Ben is home and can hang with the other kids while I stick close for a bit with my sickie. I realize that since he is now/still sleeping, he may not even realize I am here, but he was so sad earlier because he was alone, so even though this is not at all what we had planned for the day, I’m glad we can slow down and put him right into rest mode (and hopefully prevention mode for the rest of us) in hopes of getting this out of his system quickly.

Whatever you have going this weekend, planned or unplanned, may it be germ-free!!

P.S. He just woke up and is explaining Angry Birds 2 to me – here’s hoping that’s a good sign!

Popcorn Moments

When a bump or booboo happens in our house, we use bags of popcorn kernels that we keep in the freezer to ease the aches and pains. They are cold but not too cold and mold to the shape of whatever body part needs the comfort. Perfect, really, except for when the owies we need to heal aren’t physical, and we have an off day.

To say that this week has been a little off would be a bit of an understatement. Somehow I managed to schedule All The Things, which resulted in my rushing off to yet another appointment every single time Ben got home from school, as well as no family dinners on the docket until tonight.

See? Off.

Unfortunately, HD had an experience at school yesterday that was also a little off. For the sake of privacy, I won’t say any more than this about it – the poor kid was not excited about going to school today (and this, on Pajama Day AND – of all things – Popcorn Sales day!). Now, he also came home yesterday with a raspy voice and we spent much of this morning trying to figure out if he was sick sick or nervous sick, and after talking, talking, talking (both of us with HD, me with a couple friends and the school counselor, bless their hearts), we worked it out to where yes, he was actually up to going to school for the day.

Naturally, this kind of stuff breaks my heart. I never want to see my kiddo hurting over the words of others, and quite truthfully, I wanted to keep him home today for his very own PJ & Popcorn day with me. But since we can’t live in a bubble, and he was up for going, to school he went, and, perhaps as a result of the circumstances, I’m pretty sure he took a bigger piece of my heart than normal with him.

Definitely because of the circumstances and the added hubbub of the morning, I spaced out the $.25 he needed to buy his bag of popcorn after school, and when I realized it at 11:00 a.m., I almost (for the 3rd time today) burst into tears thinking of his disappointment.

OK. I get it. It’s a quarter-bag of popcorn. Clearly he’d live without it. But the kid’s had a rough 24 hours and I didn’t want the messiness of the morning to have any more impact on him than it already had, so I quick formulated a plan to fix it.

Ben was already set to bring RL home from preK today, so when he showed up with her, I had a lunch ready and waiting to send with him that he could eat on his way, and this note to take to Harrison at school before heading back to the high school:

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Am I helicopter parent for doing this? Or a tiger mom? Or some other stereotype? Might be. Totally don’t care, though, because even though this is a tiny thing, I am hoping it brings a huge smile to kiddo’s face, and he knows – once again, always – just how important and loved he is.

And here’s hoping to many more years of popcorn being all we need to fix the hurts.

Game OVER

In what appears to be an alarming trend this month, we – the Welschies – find ourselves in the midst of another long and rocky week. Like FULL to the max with commitments for the grownups and still not done as tomorrow is a 12+ hour-long day for Ben because of PTCs.

Apparently the Little Welschies wanted to add to the fun and hilarity of our schedule because they started their Wednesday at 5:30 a.m. – except neither Ben nor I realized that because the little buggers SNUCK DOWNSTAIRS AT 5:30 IN THE MORNING AND TURNED ON THE WII AND PLAYED MARIO KART UNTIL WE GOT UP AND FOUND THEM AT 6:45.

WTFAYFKM – all rolled into one – is how one might describe the looks on our faces when we realized just how early they had gotten up and just how they had been spending their time.

A little backstory: weekend before last, we attended a fundraiser for Food4Thought, one of our local faves when it comes to mission, donating, and events. They do amazing work in the community and are excellent at engaging kiddos in their cause. They have this not-so-little fall shindig with a Mario Brother’s obstacle course that our crew adores, and this year the event also included a projector hooked up to a Wii with Mario Kart on tap. img_4517

Now, Mario Kart is not entirely foreign in our house. I am positive my kids have seen Ben play it before (but not nearly as obsessively as he did in college, tyvm) and have maybe even tried it themselves, but not extensively, by any means. But they got a chance to try it at the fundraiser and liked it (even though, really, a 3yo? Not exactly the best racer skills…), so we’ve played a few family rounds with our own copy of the game since then.

OK. Fine. No harm done.

Until this morning when one of them got a freaking wild hair to wake up his (I’m guessing here) siblings and entice them to go downstairs where they raced for an hour and fifteen minutes unawares to their parental units.

Actually – that’s not entirely true.

I was totally woken up by thumping above my head, but since I don’t (can’t) sleep near a clock, I have no idea what time that was and, at the time, I just assumed it was bathroom breaks (except then no one came down to tell me good morning and after a bunch of tossing and turning I fell back asleep only to be woken up later in the middle of a really weird dream to the news that my children were downstairs helping themselves to video games before the crack of dawn. Awesomeness).

As you can imagine, their behavior and awake factor was wonderful the rest of the day.

Actually, I could already see the ill effects of that much screen time that early in the day before anyone left/went to school, and I honestly considered sending apology notes to their teachers but that would have involved explaining the apparent free-for-all nature of our house and that just didn’t seem like a good idea.

Somehow everyone got through the day without falling asleep (except for the sweet babe who still naps), but the end of the day was not without tears and extra long stalling, because that is what overtired children do best. They also excel at getting up really early instead of sleeping in to recover, so you can bet we are unplugging and hiding the Wii to avoid future such adventures.

For Pete’s sake. Or eff’s. Take your pick.

 

Don’t Blow Your Top

Believe it or not, from time to time, I stop and think, Should I really post that?? That being a status update or a picture I quickly snapped of my kid or sometimes even a blog post. Yes, there is in fact a filter in place. Occasionally I let the filter broaden a bit and I get a little more real because life ain’t always pretty. It’s just not.

You can consider this one of those less than pretty posts.

Actually, it’s not all that bad. OK – it’s not all that great either, but it is very much real.

In the last two weeks, our morning routine has been, ummmm, strained by the 3yo. Take your pick of the threenager vs. 3yos are a**holes debate as evidence that I am not alone here, but wow. When the 3yo decides to be VERY 3YO before 8 a.m., Mama about loses her damn mind. For one, I have not had my coffee yet by then because I have to wait for my first cup until after I nurse the baby down for his first nap. So, my Go Get ‘Em-ness isn’t quite functioning well, much less prepared for meltdowns and BATTLES OVER WEARING PANTS.

Yes, pants. PANTS have been the culprit of both of our disaster mornings with Lincoln here recently, and for the love of all things holy, can someone please explain to him that we live in NEBRASKA and WINTER IS COMING? He is going to have to start wearing ever-lovin’ pants and soon.

The second reason this crap makes me crazy is that it unfairly puts stress on Harrison as we are then late to get out the door and walked over to his school. He shouldn’t have to be counted tardy because of his brother, but we can’t just leave said brother at home in no pants, so we have to wait until I can get something on Lincoln’s legs and then get him hauled into the stroller.

This morning’s meltdown was heightened by the fact that when I finally got LT out to the stroller where the Bigs were waiting, I found that they had managed to break the only opener we have for our garage door by pushing it too many times.

I’m sorry. Am I the only one out there who is constantly amazed by all the shit kids can manage to break? Things you never could have predicted they would break? Kids break all your shit is a parenting Truth that all people should be warned of when they bring their first kid home. Honestly. [side note: please, do not take my reality sharing for lack of gratitude. I love and am thankful for my shit breakers, even when they are currently breaking my shit.]

So. Screaming/refusing to wear pants (I got him in shorts) 3yo, and shit-breaking Bigs. Not the best 7:40-7:50 a.m. I’ve ever had. And, because I am human, I got frustrated. And when I get frustrated, I tend to throw things.

Now, I’ve never been a hitter and sometimes a yeller, but here is the truth – throwing things happens. Normally I throw pillows. Yes, pillows, from the couches in my living room (you guys, I just realized they are called throw pillows, so I don’t think I am actually that off target here). I do not throw them at people, just as hard as I can at the floor and that usually helps.

Here comes the shameful part: today, because we were already in the driveway, I snatched HD’s backpack off the top of the stroller (Why? Because I suppose I was quite pissed about the garage door and wanted him to carry his own dang bag to school instead of making me do it?) and chucked it at the ground. And guess what happened next? Water started pouring from his backpack.

Yep, in my childish angst, I broke my child’s cheap-ass water bottle that was inside his bag. Awesome. What a terrible and immature lesson I just gave my kids, right? Right.

In panic and remorse and already late anyway, so why  not? mode, I went back in the house where lo and behold, we had an extra bottle that would fit the same nozzle and began to fill it up for HD. He followed me inside and, because kids are amazing like this, wrapped his arms around me as I filled up the “new” container for him. And he just held on until I got the task done and talked to him; when we left the kitchen – again – a minute later, we were both OK. I apologized and he apologized and we high-tailed it to school just fast enough to get there in time for a quick Kissing Hand before his class went in for the day.

img_3938So why I am sharing this? Because this is real. I had a crap moment and my kid forgave me anyway and I learned that the throwing has got to stick to the pillows. I don’t hit my kids because I don’t want them to hit others. I also shouldn’t throw their stuff because that’s not exactly teaching them to care for the belongings of others.

No pillows around? No throwing. Foot stomping and deep breaths, it will have to be. Because guess what? My kids are going to continue to break my shit. Apparently I am capable of breaking theirs too, and cripes, if that isn’t a kick in the pants moment of humility, I don’t know what is.

 

P.S. Ironically (not really – just a moment of No Mama Alone), my friend Kim just wrote about forgiveness and apologies and kiddos. You should check it out here.

 

Shoe Tying Hell

So it’s been a few years since I read Dante’s Inferno, but it is not hard to remember the basic concept of various levels of hell (connected to various levels of sin, but so not where this post is going, so let’s skip that part, OK?). Today I discovered that certain tasks of raising Littles must come straight from a Parenting Purgatory, in which it too has levels, and one level is definitely dedicated to sleep, another to laundry, and still another, teaching – that is, teaching life skills, such as wiping one’s own ass (also not where this post is going, thank goodness) and tying one’s own shoes.
Shoe Hell is where we found ourselves on this, the last day of summer break before school starts tomorrow.

Do I feel in part like a (not so proud) Bad Mom that my now 7yo/first grader still doesn’t know how to tie his shoes? Yes. But do I also have confirmation from friends who also have first graders who cannot tie their own shoes? Yes. Whew.

This life skill was a total summer goal of ours and we totally didn’t even try it until today. Not the best planning on my part, eh? But you guys, I totally believed the Pinterest lies, I mean links, that told me this could be accomplished not only in just one day but in five short minutes! I even watched the video last night and thought, OK, that should work.

Here was what we will now call Attempt No. 1: Magic Fingers

It very much did not work. I am sorry, but Magic Fingers, My ASS.

img_3391Problem No. 1: my children cannot even do the “simple, like normal” tie that is the foundation of the whole damn process. Automatic red flag, my friends.

Problem No. 2: the video goes way fast and does not keep repeating instructions so it is either get it or get super frustrated.

Problem No.3: I can’t freaking do it. I sat on the floor with my two oldest and my very own shoe, watching and listening and trying for 5 minutes times at least 5 or 6 and NO DAMN DICE. Not once did I – the 34yo – actually tie my shoes using this method.

Which led us to what we will now call Attempt No. 2: Magic Molly (seriously, folks – what’s with the magic?? You are making a Muggle out of me because I just ain’t buying it!)

It also very much did not work.

Problem No. 1: Because this was just what came up next on YouTube, I had no idea what she was going to say or what prep work (knots and marker colored strings) was involved, so we immediately got lost and the children started blaming me for not helping them/their stuff not being right (I was mad dash scrambling to tie knots on one side of their laces and use masking tape – the closest thing nearby – instead of markers on the other).

Problem No.2: See above — yelling, whining, finger pointing children. No way. Not having it.

Problem No.3: I said “No way. Not having it.” and took a step back rather than trying to continue down this purgatory spiral (as continuing would have easily resulted in my flipping the eff out) which totally backfired because then the children also wanted to quit (face palm) and the whole thing was just clearly not happening.

We needed snacks and hydration at this point, so I don’t know if this method is actually flawed or if our timing was just bad, but as it was, it still was not the answer for us.

And then, because FB and the universe are little bit crazy, we landed on Video No.3 (look for vid on shoe tying, of course), which a friend happened to just share on the FB this afternoon, as she was also trying to teach a Little to tie shoes today. No mama alone, right? Right.

So this one looked good. No mention of MAGIC in the title, for one thing, and her voice sounds just like that of one of my dear friends, however, the same fundamental flaw also found in the first video — assuming my children understand the basic first loop/tie move — exists here, which is tricky. I’m not sure you can call something the EASIEST if in fact the first step is actually not yet easy for the attemptee. Anyway. It’s not like anything could go much worse than the first two rounds, so I decided why not? and gave it a whirl.

After a little work with just me and the two of them on the assumed step, we watched the FB video to see the remaining steps and lo and beholdimg_3394HD did it! Only once (he tried again for good measure and was not happy when it didn’t pan out a second time), mind you, but it was totally there for a moment, so I am taking it and running with it as a victory, damnit.

RL was still in frustrated whiny tears over the assumed step, but you know, considering she’s not even 5 yet, I figure we have a couple years, not a matter of days, to figure out this crap.

Also, there is this – a three-minute TED video my uncle shared with me about the science of shoe tying that explains that pretty much all of us are doing it wrong anyway. WHO KNEW THIS WAS SUCH A COMPLEX SUBJECT?! Guess I will cut myself some slack in the mom department on not knocking this out of the park today.