We Are Living in a Toddler’s World

And it is a scary, scary place. Actually, for him, I think it is quite fun and entertaining, but from the standpoint of the person mostly responsible in the day-to-day for keeping him from a) hurting himself and b) destroying every blessed thing in sight, we are are struggling.

Am I alone in thinking that with each new stage of independence/mobility, a different side of the personality comes out, too? I have a feeling this will continue all the way through parenthood (i.e. when they start to drive, leave for college, etc.), but it certainly rings true in my world in The Tunnel as of late.

Now that Trumy is officially upright and mobile, and trust me it’s not walking – it’s running – I feel like most of my time spent with him when he’s awake is an even split between feeding him (he’s growing so much lately, it seems) and keeping him from danger. I’ve had friends tell me in the past that their kiddo was a wrecking ball as a toddler and the image always made me chuckle a bit, I thought sympathetically, but nope – I did not truly understand that term until now.

The biggest problem is that what TJ thinks of as danger (nothing) is not the same as what I see as danger (um, everything?). Let me give you some examples:

He LOVES to climb up on anything he can and even when he’s on the floor, he’s got my img_5405crazy long arms that LOVE to reach up and pull whatever they possibly can from any and all tables and counters and surfaces. This means no ones’ cups or plates are safe if left too close to the edge of the table when he is loose, and don’t get me started on the piles of school papers that he keeps spreading all over the kitchen floor before I get a chance to deal with them.

He LOVES to get into the bathroom where he inevitably sticks his hand in the toilet if someone was forgetful enough to close the lid (*ahem* everyone but me) and also LOVES to get up by the sink to mess around with the sink itself (which, let’s face it, probably isn’t the cleanest spot) and/or the toothbrushes.

He LOVES to throw shit down the laundry chute. In the last month I have found so many toys and books and shoes and food items mixed in with my laundry; while it makes life a bit more interesting when doing the wash, it is less cool when it involves a sibling’s shoe that is MIA before school the next day (or three days later and we still haven’t found the thing).

He LOVES to throw shit in the trash, too. Now, that wouldn’t be such a bad deal if he actually restricted himself to putting trash in the trash, but oh no. A toddler’s mind is not wired that way, and mostly he LOVES to put whatever he wants in there (and sees nothing wrong with trying to retrieve things, either).

img_5338He LOVES to rip things. Dang it. I have always been so lucky in the past when it comes to kids and books, but No.4 is giving me a run for my bibliophile money because he KEEPS. RIPPING. PAGES. No, Baby!

He LOVES cords. And turning off power strips. And basically any other manner of electronic thing he SHOULD NOT BE TOUCHING.

So, OK. I’ll stop there. Not all of that is dangerous, but it does feel very Wrecking Ball-like, and it is wearing me out. Literally. My back and my right shoulder are sore from all the scooping up/retrieving of him that I have to do in any given day to keep him away from these (and other) potential hazards/problems.

Obviously I am thrilled with his walking and his development. And I even don’t mind the mischievous grins on his adorable little face when he’s pulling this crap, at least not most of the time. But I am questioning just how far I can go before this 4th Kid wears me down into the Oh Just Do Whatever You Want Stage.

Considering that he’d ransack the house and hurt himself in the process means that even once I’m there, I still can’t let up on the vigilance.

Advertisements

New World Record (for me)

Because my kids come from competitive stock, and they watch a lot of sports highlights with their Daddy, the phrase “NEW! WORLD! RECOOOOOORD!” is not unfamiliar to me. I hear it a lot, actually, and mostly from the 3yo which is just flat out entertaining because who knows how many new entries he has made for the Guinness Book of World Records of his own creation.

1483655075742
My Tree of Life PicsArt – from 16 mo, because we just haven’t been able to get a new one done yet.

But, for real, yesterday was a big day – 17 months of breastfeeding Truman, which yes – IS a new world record for me. To recap: HD – 16mo, RL – 13mo, and LT – 14.5mo. All came off the boob, so to speak, for different reasons. And, true to form, TJ is also doing his own thing by going the longest and showing no signs of stopping anytime soon, which is fine with me.

Actually, this is especially fine because as cold and flu season continues, I am more than happy to keep giving him any antibodies I possibly can, not to mention fluids when he doesn’t feel like eating much. Such is the case this week as he seems to have picked up (shockingly) Lincoln’s head cold from last week. Poor baby. He is so congesty and miserable. When you add in the fact that in the last month he really just got the hang of walking and that he hasn’t been sleeping so well ever since Norovirus Hell 2017, I’ve actually got a fairly fussy but determined to be independent little dude on my hands. It’s been interesting, to say the least.

Some of you saw this yesterday, right? The bloody nose debacle? That’s because he fell img_5187while carrying around unopened Mt. Dew (which he did AGAIN this morning but thankfully – I guess – just landed hard on his bum and not his face) and then sneezed his snot face out into one heck of a Kodak Moment. Mom Life sure is glamorous, eh? But again, I say – you try telling him that it’s not a good idea to walk around with big awkward objects in your hands while wearing footie pajamas and with a head full of snot and still-newish to walking legs.

Logic and Littles rarely go together.

Hence the totally different approach to nursing this go, to which I say, you do what you need to, Kid; I’m cool with wherever this record decides to land. Although, let’s get over this cold quickly, OK? While I know sweet babe is not feeling well, a congested latch is NOT a fun thing for the mama either. Ouch!

Fourth Kid: A Short Essay on How I Do It

Just kidding. There is no way I am about to get all pontificat-y on parenting. If anything, you know that when people ask me how (or praise me for doing) what I do as a mom, I have a hard time not laughing and saying, “I have no idea how I do it either!”

But really, there is some truth in that. Much of my mom life is completely winging it, just like everyone else, because – as we all know full well – there is no one right thing that works for every kid and every parent. That’s life.

While I will stick to my long-ago claim of it doesn’t matter how many kids you have, raising tiny humans is hard, I will admit that some things have changed about me as a parent since I wrote that post. For one, I’ve let down some of my standards.

Before you think I’ve lost it, let me clarify: I have learned to let some of the minor shit go so it doesn’t become major, and that too is a personal and unique journey for each of us as parents (or as individuals). In my parental life, the best (albeit maybe silly) example I can give you is this: I no longer force the children to stay at the table when they eat (snacks, that is).

img_5060
Yes, I legit took a picture of floor sweepings. Yes, I had just swept this flour in the last 36 hours. 

Ground breaking, eh? But it’s actually an interesting progression of control and what it means to relinquish some of that in the name of embracing the mess. No, really, because this slippery slope has led to waaaay more mess in my house and it’s the really annoying kind where you step on pretzels and Cherrios all the time, but honestly, I just don’t have the fight in me to make them stay put anymore while they snack.

For one, I don’t want to be at the table for 80% of my day, and as my friend Megan’s blog name will attest – being a Keeper of the Snacks is a legit part of motherhood as far as any of us can tell.

For 1.A, I have other shit to do. Most of it involves picking up after my little crumb spillers and mess makers, so you know, Catch 22, but seriously. When it comes to battling over keeping them in their seats versus following them through the house with a broom, well, fine. At least I’m up and moving.

But what this phenomenon is really all about is The Tunnel and the fact that I know have one, almost two!, kids out of it. And this is why it doesn’t matter so much how many children you have, but how far apart they are in age. Because once your littler one(s) see your bigger one(s) doing something, by goodness, they are going to want to do it, which should mean that my older children have been setting wonderful snack consumption manners examples for my youngers (because the Bigs actually did have these rules enforced), there’s just a bit too much coming and going and here and there to worry about where so-and-so is when they eat an animal cracker. Or a graham cracker. Or a WheatThin. Or Ritz. Goodness. Why do we eat so many crackers in this house?

img_5063
This guy is Culprit No.1, followed by LT at a close second. 

And so. Along with the mountains of laundry, I sweep the floor umpteen times a day. My couch cushions are at times crunchy feeling, and Lord in Heaven, I once found the 7yo eating a graham cracker in my bed (that was NOT okay, btw!). In other words, motherhood is messy. Literally and figuratively. And what I’ve learned from/by the fourth kid is that that is perfectly acceptable.

 

It’s Been – One Week

Actually, over a week now, but I’ve been meaning to write this post for a few days and sometimes you just can’t get an old BNL song out of your head, so you go with – actual timelines be damned.

One-plus week of/since what? Coffee. Yes, my friends. I am over a week out and still coffee free, if you can believe it.

And truth, other than two times when I was really, really jonesing for it (once, less than half a week in when I finally felt well enough to attempt cleaning the house post-flu and another time this past Thursday when it just sounded so nice), I’ve been good. Never any headaches and no major blow to my energy level from what I can see; and that, I must say, is a complete miracle because the baby decided to have A Week of it in regards to sleep.

Call it walking skills developmental crankiness or potential teeth crankiness or post-flu crankiness…Truman has not been sleeping well at night. But here’s the deal….at 16 months you don’t get to backslide and suddenly not be a sleeper. That’s just not cool, kid. However, this week there have been more nights than not with him not sleeping through the night, which results in him waking everyone else up in the middle of the night and goodness me, we’re all just a bit worn out at this point.

It occurred to me while typing this that perhaps he is napping too long or too well during the day, seeing as he still goes down for both morning and afternoon naps, but I’m also going to pull a big NO! on nixing that because if he drops a nap, I’m screwed for any chance of getting work done during the day which simply won’t fly. We don’t normally keep two naps this long, mind you, but I really am hoping it holds on a bit longer, although certainly  not at the expense of night sleep.

Oh, parenting. You are always so fickle. I mean funny. I mean – well, perhaps another f-something.

So, yes. To have made it through my first week back at CCC (with the same number of classes from last semester but double the students) and through the sleepless shenanigans and still be coffee-free? Well, I’m writing about it because it feels like a bizarre accomplishment of sorts, and thereby worth documenting.

Here are the various goods I’ve been drinking instead (because, remember, I haven’t walked away from caffeine entirely – that would be insane):

img_4928

The fruity stuff is not my favorite, and I ordered a chai latte mix because as much as anything, I miss the consistency of what my coffee + creamer/milk combos were.

Speaking of creamer, I totally found something to do with the leftovers: img_4901salted caramel fudgy brownies. While they may have made me gain five pounds this week, I don’t care a bit because they were totally phenomenal. Recipe can be found here and is so much worth investing in some coffeemate, butter, and chocolate chips because holy fudge heaven. I mentioned the five extra pounds, right?

So it looks like this is legit. I no longer drink coffee. And I appear to be cool with that, however, I need to maybe unfollow some bits online because all the coffee memes I see make me miss my magic beans. But naw – I love Sweatpants and Coffee too much to remove it.

magicbeans.jpg

 

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!

Endless Numbered Days

Can someone please explain – why does this baby smell so darn good? Is this some sort of mother-baby bonding thing (that can still happen when the baby is 13+ months old??)? Is it my ubernose? Is this the symptom of my somehow, shockingly still there baby fever that I totally thought was going to go away when said baby arrived those 13+ months ago??

I just don’t get it. But I’m not exactly complaining because I can sense the ground shifting under our feet a bit here lately.

For one thing, I know our nursing days are limited. Truman has been eating more and more solids in the last couple months and my milk supply is showing signs of that. When I pump at night (which I do every night, since mid-summer, because his final feeding of the day has turned into a bottle one, even on nights when I am not teaching), I don’t get as much milk as I once did. And even during the day in the last couple weeks, the length of the breastfeeding sessions has dwindled more and more. Having made it to 16 mo, 13 mo, and 14ish mo with the other three, I know this territory well. We have entered the land of being much closer to the end of what once seemed limitless which is both glorious and sad making.

Because, truth? Even though lately it is less comfortable to do, I still love to nurse Truman. The less comfort comes on several levels, one of them being his mobility. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I don’t think anyone understands just how wiggly these children of mine are, even when they eat! It’s no wonder they remain on the low-end of the % scales.

Anyway, I really do cherish those times together in the rocking chair, even when I am half-wrestling Truman to keep him in my lap (even though keeping him on the boob is not the issue. Oof. No wonder it’s uncomfortable sometimes!). He is so warm and cozy and when he’s not busy pulling on my shirt, hair, or his foot, it’s all very sweet. And he smells so darn good. Again, I ask you, what is the deal with that?! How does he smell so good?

img_4094And let me clarify the craziness with a bit more craziness – if you asked me how he actually smells, I would say warm. And then sweet. Is he suddenly a baked good? Am I more sleep deprived than I realize? I can’t quite say what is going on here, but I know that no matter how many more days/weeks/months we get of these times together, rocking and nursing in one of our beloved chairs, I’m just going to go with it because eventually things will change.

We won’t do this forever, so for as long as it is our now, so be it.

Zip It, Lock It (send Mama in a rocket?)

Truth be told, the Welschies are doing well. We are handling the plate spinning and baton passing and are still smiling.

Perhaps the tone of the blog as of late doesn’t quite reflect that, but you know me – never one to shy away from reality, so in that spirit (and not one of flat-out complaining or hair pulling (no wait, the baby did pull out a fist full of my hair this morning! OUCH)), I present to you my two Littlest Men: The Somehow Suddenly has ALL the Clothes Issues Possible in a Toddler/Preschooler, and The Getter-Intoer of All Things Quick Guy.

First: The Won’t Zip It (because he won’t put it on) Dude.

Oh my word. You know about the pants debacles. Right? PANTS. Today it was also a long-sleeved shirt disaster. I remember these days from Harrison’s toddlerhood, so I know this too shall pass, but I need to find a way to make this go better without 1) wrestling him into the clothes and/or 2)S.O.S. texts to my bestie before 8 in the morning. Thankfully, the shirt thing was over soon (and all I did was ignore him long enough for him to finally stop pulling on the sleeves and put on his socks. Winning) and I was able to snap this happy pic of him: img_3963

But the shirt was actually a secondary issue this morning for LT. The REAL concern came from his swimming trunks as today is his first time for preschool swim lessons and Little Dude did NOT want to put on his trunks.

Now, Lincoln is my water guy. He LOVES the pool when we set it up in the backyard. But when we tried this summer to get him to stop wearing swim diapers, he flipped out, and so this morning’s reaction to our request of Here, put your trunks on so you can swim at school was not exactly a shocker. What was surprising was that I “lost.”

Yep. Even though we had the *#$# trunks on him twice before 8 a.m., they did not stay on, and I ended up taking him to preschool in his shorts (duh) with his trunks and towel in his backpack. Even with two hesitant swimmers in the past, this has never happened before, and I felt a little bit ashamed and embarrassed when I had to tell his teacher what the deal was. Side note: he was totally fine – thrilled, even – to be carrying his extra bag with all of his swim stuff in it. Thankfully, she was super gracious and said she would work on it with him and they would just see how things went. I wish her all the luck in the world and I will continue to shout it from the rooftops that we love our preschool so much, exactly for reasons like this. I am beyond curious to hear how it went when we go pick him up in an hour.

Second: The Door Opener Extraordinaire!

Oh, Trumy. Why? WHY must you be hell bent on all things not meant for you? img_3551This includes shoes, grass, rocks, small things, stairs, and yes, doors. Any door will do, but his favorites are of course the gate to the front door, the low cupboards in the kitchen, the pantry cupboard doors, and yes, the SHOWER.

How the eff does an almost 13 month-old open a shower he can’t possible even reach the handle of you, you might ask? With his perfectly sized to fit in the crack fingers where he can then pull and pop it open in two seconds flat. And naturally, to open the door is not enough. One must also venture through the door into the shower which is always wet in the morning and never a place I actually want him playing.

img_3964So yesterday, in a moment of brilliance and desperation, I went searching for a child-lock that I bought years ago for our fridge (I have forgotten which sibling was the culprit) but never used, and was able to find it (small miracles, my friends). And by another small miracle (and a lot of careful positioning because it had to be just right), I got it attached so that you can now in fact lock our shower from the outside. And it is actually even Truman proof! Winning again!

Oh, these children. Bless their hearts for keeping me on my toes always. And bless this space for being a safe zone for recording all of their shenanigans. Otherwise I really might be in a rocket to the moon by now. 😉