Kitty Time

Motherhood, babies, life, celebrities, politics…kitty’s claws come out when she’s in the mood.

Meet the New Nanny August 31, 2009

Filed under: Motherhood,Toddler Antics — Wired_Momma @ 12:53 pm

There seems to be a pandemic sweeping our nation – and no I’m not talking about swine flu – though this pandemic is also highly contagious and can result in unplanned Emergency Room visits.

What I’m talking about is this sweeping attitude amongst lazy ass parents that the park is their new nanny. It comes with the best price, right – free – and apparently its there to entertain their child and render their roles and responsibilities as parent obsolete.

The consequences of relying upon the park as nanny, however, impact more than just that particular family and frankly incite rage in most of us. My conclusion to avoid this pandemic was to purchase my own swing set and slide, have my husband build it in our backyard, thus my own yard can act as my nanny and it need not bother anyone else, and I can avoid the rising blood pressure and rage that is almost guaranteed with a park visit lately.

I’ve blogged on this topic before and yet this subject is more common among brunch guests, email tirades and casual conversation at the beach, than is trashing husbands for being lazy around the house, so it merits a revisit.

Why do parents find it appropriate to check out at the park? To just sit in a corner and gab with each other while sally is running up the slide the wrong way, as your child is tying to slide down the right way? Or to pretend that they don’t see junior tossing sand in the eyes of his sandbox playmate over and over again? Or to let their 8 year olds tear up and past a climbing wall as my almost 4 year old is trying to navigate her wobbly way to the top? And why do I have to spend my time policing these junior tyrants and barking at them when my time is better spent monitoring my own kid, who herself is no innocent lark in occasional bad park behavior?

Do we need a nationwide bulletin to remind parents that the park is, in fact, not their nanny but is instead there provide a fun outlet for all children, and when visiting the park, their job is to keep an eye on johnny, enforce good behavior and discipline bad behavior? And guess what, when little kendra acts out, don’t let her explore her boundaries and learn how to play based on her peer’s response, grab her, discipline her and remove her from the play area. I don’t care if I’m inflicting my discipline philosophy on you – if your kid is going to misbehave and my kid is the victim, then your kid gets my approach if you do nothing.

Can we include this in the bulletin?

It’s easy to trash lazy moms who have clearly checked out – they do seem to be the most common culprit in this behavior – but that’s because more moms are home than dads. I have seen my fair share of dads too busy on their blackberry or cellphone to bother dealing with their snot nosed twerp.

So please parents – get your shit together – and remember that the park isn’t your  nanny and your kid isn’t awesome when they are breaking the rules and making an otherwise enjoyable park experience – miserable.

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The KT List: Beach Edition August 21, 2009

Filed under: Husbands,Life with 2 kids,Motherhood,Toddler Antics — Wired_Momma @ 1:21 am

I’ve spent a good part of the summer at the beach. From my many trips alone with the girls, we know I’ve concluded one important thing: husbands are good for hauling crap onto the beach. Divorce would be bad.

I’ve also had a few months to put together my list of beach essentials.  Before you go on, a few notes. First, I am not a minimalist. If you are a minimalist, then KT’s beach survival list is not for you. Also, this list is particularly useful if you have more than one child. I didn’t necessarily need all of these things last summer. And well, I’m a gal who likes to need and collect things, so I do not say that lightly.

I made my peace with the true fact that I am no longer able to toss a few gossip rags, a bottle of water, some sun block (who the hell has time to apply sun block anymore?), and a cheesy beach read into a cute straw beach bag, grab a chair and hit the beach. Those days are long gone. As they are for you. So here goes, kittens.

Topping the list, without a doubt, is the very thing that saved summer. If you are a regular beach-goer, then this item is a must have. Easily the best $80 or so I’ve ever spent. And once you own one, you will note that it is like a veritable convention of these surrounding your beach camp each and every time you go. And if you relish in shopping, as do I, then you will size up the cousins of this contraption and determine that your deluxe model, with it’s big wheels fit for pulling over sand with relative ease (for the husband, of course), was well worth the extra cash.

Behold the Wonder Wheeler Deluxe – in all of its plastic perfection and big wheeled glory.  It is the ultimate visual representation of parenthood, of dorkiness, the minivan of the beach, if you will. Being seen pulling or standing close to one of these tells the skinny bikini clad teens and young lovers around you that you gave up on being cool a long time ago. And as I went to dig up the link – don’t think my stomach didn’t turn upon realizing this life-saver of summer is now on sale for HALF PRICE. The rush I get from a great deal on a great item keeps me going for months, I almost want to buy them in bulk now and then sell them to others at the onset of Memorial Day 2010.  The only thing this summer champ can’t do is carry a baby – and don’t think I didn’t consider where a baby might be strapped in, similar to a baby bjorn, thereby freeing up both hands of one parent (the one clever enough not to be pulling or pushing the WWD).  I considered how the sturdier baby just might be fine sitting in the main basket. Trust me, desperate times call for desperate considerations.

So now that I’ve tipped you off on the ease of transporting all the gear, including chairs and the ever-important beach umbrella, to and from the beach, let’s now get into the actual gear.

Surviving two hours on the beach with two children under the age of 4 is no small feat.

Because DD2 was immobile way back in May, and in my naivete I presumed she would be immobile all summer long as was her sister, I purchased the covered tent for baby. As luck wouldn’t have it, she was crawling shortly after July 4 and so she maybe played and napped in the thing twice before she spent her next visit pushing her head up against the mesh netting that was zipped closed and them promptly began screaming bloody murder for someone to retrieve her. So – it worked well for DD1 and was a total waste for DD2, and as any self-respecting shopping lover would do, I lost the first tent from DD1. So we have this useless second one. IF she had stayed immobile, as I had planned, then it would have been a real asset to our beach-going experience.

Which brings us to our second question: how to keep the mobile baby distracted long enough not to eat a pound of sand each beach visit?

Enter the baby pool. You got it. We are big fans of the baby pool on the beach, steps from the ocean, filled with like 3 centimeters of water. I don’t think the baby pool will be useful for us next summer, but it was a life saver this summer and because DD2 would play in the pool with rubber ducks and whatever else she could find, DD1 was then interested in playing in the pool and ripping all the toys from DD2 hands (read: enabling some ‘relaxation’ time for us away from playing “let’s jump waves” in the ocean).  The baby pool gets ranked second for me after my beloved WWD.

In case you’ve lost track, you are now hauling several chairs, a baby pool, a baby tent, gobs of beach toys, towels, a cooler, snacks and a beach umbrella to the beach. If you are anything like me, you are wondering why in the hell you are even bothering.

Which brings me to the joys of applying sunscreen. I don’t know about your children but applying sunscreen to DD1 is like chasing around a chicken whose head was just cut off. As it turned out, the Coppertone Water Babies sunscreen in the form of roll-on, that she could apply herself (Miss “I’m three, I can do it by MYSELF”), eased my pain and misery. I can’t recommend this product enough if you don’t already have it or if your child hasn’t turned into the taz devil yet when trying to apply sunscreen.

And finally, let’s end with me. I still haven’t found that fabulous, stylish and practical beach cover-up.  Happy summer kittens, there isn’t much left to go.

 

Crime & Punishment July 26, 2009

Filed under: Life with 2 kids,Motherhood,Toddler Antics — Wired_Momma @ 8:04 pm

All of you avid KT fans out there know that we talk a lot about disciplining preschoolers here on KT. I have a veritable hoodlum living chez moi and as any parent knows, we must creatively re-invent our punishments constantly, otherwise they fall on deaf ears.

My current punishment du jour is this “If you land in 2 time outs, then you don’t get a popsicle for lunch.” (This is usually threatened by oh – about 6:24am, with the first time out locked in by 7am. And of course, I am pretty generous, for to use the timeout too much with my hoodlum is a total waste of time and energy).

It’s working. But this one has only been used for a few days.

Ahh…behold the power of the sweet, easy to melt, unbelieveably cheap popsicle. Who knew?

The old rules chart worked pretty well for about 2 weeks. Then it lost its luster. The cheap thrill of drawing a smiley face next to one of the followed rules quickly grew boring. And really, who can blame her.

I’m thinking of bringing back the rules chart, however, as it’s been a few weeks and I scored some new stickers at Target’s One Spot (where, am I alone in this, I easily wrack up like $20 to my final bill because not everything is $1).

But here is my current dilemma – finding a punishment that solely punishes DD – not me. I am not alone here people. If I take away, say, cartoons – then who am I really punishing when the going gets tough?
Me.

So I try to take away things that I either don’t care about (like popsicles) or things that tend to drag on into perpetuity (songs, stories at bed time).  Again – I should get a reward for having to endure the crime, no?

What I’m desperately searching for is a creative list of things I can also take away from her that again, only punish her, and not me. I am all ears for any ideas here…..please….I bet of you……help a sister out.

Here is a list of some offenses that warrant punishment:

Pinching mommy because she doesn’t like what I’ve just said

Assaulting baby sister under the guise of “gently playing like such a good big sister”

Taking all of baby sister’s toys away from her and then hiding from her – with the toys- because she can now crawl

The old power trip that started with the arrival of baby sister “No, I don’t want daddy to take me out of my carseat, I want mommy to do it” (because mommy has baby sister, basically whomever is preoccupied with baby sister then becomes the only person who can complete the task and this gets old after about 10 seconds but a heartfelt battle inevitably ensues several times a day complete with kicks and screams)

I could go on and on with the lists of crimes but what I’m looking for are creative punishments. And spanking – doesn’t work on this kid – I tried it. I was never sure if I would spank her. Not because I am opposed to spanking but because I just never was sure if the crime would warrant the spank. Oh indeed, that day did come and it was just obvious that the only appropriate response would be to spank her and then send her to her room.

She didn’t care. And she also likes going in time out. I’ll say “Do you want to go in time out?”

And her response is “yes.”

OK then.

Hence the need to take things away…things that only punish her and not me…..put your thinking caps on kittens…..for I am all ears.

Signed,

Pleading for ideas

 

Adult Conversation July 14, 2009

Filed under: Life with 2 kids,Motherhood,Toddler Antics — Wired_Momma @ 1:24 pm

Over the course of the past two days, there has been a really interesting dialogue in the Carolyn Hax column of the Washington Post about having adult conversations when toddlers are afoot. Yesterday a woman wrote in about how she drove two hours with her toddler to visit her sister, who has no children, and she spent the visit chasing after her toddler in the sister’s house to avert disaster and the destruction of the sister’s house, leaving no time for real meaningful adult conversation. The sister without kids went on to chastise her for being unable to give her attention, let alone control her toddler. According to the sister without kids, she’s seen plenty of moms handle their toddlers and have perfectly normal adult conversations.

Uh huh. Bite me, sister, is what I would have written in response if I were Carolyn. Aren’t we all such great parents, until we actually become parents?

Anyhoo, as we all would guess, there is now a firestorm of comments from both those with children and those without, warranting a follow-up column in today’s Post.

Here’s the rub, I find the comments from those without children to be fine, whatever, until you are personally managing and in charge of a toddler, you cannot possibly know what it is like and how the notion of an adult conversation beyond some sentences, constantly interrupted, is impossible.  I actually don’t pretend to expect the other adult to understand it. I deeply appreciate it when they are patient and bear with me and keep their patience with my curious kid.  But they can’t know what it is like. I couldn’t have known what it is like until it became my world.

It’s the parent who also has children who passes judgement that enrages me. Either their precious cherub is still too small to behave this way – so they have no f’ing idea what kind of ordeal is speeding right into their world, or they somehow lucked out with a toddler who is just obedient and sits still and isn’t disagreeable.  For those of you laughing and spitting your coffee over your computer at this notion, trust me, it can happen, I’ve seen it a few times and am still annoyed, envious and generally irritated that that is their reality. I just figure we all get ours some day, so at some point that miracle kid will act out, even if  they’ve made it several years into life being an angel. But as parents, why the judging? Why the assumption that you are a fabulous parent and the one with the curious and boundary-pushing child is somehow less than you? Why the belief that their kid is a monster and yours an angel? Why? This is what I find unacceptable.

Carolyn points out in one of her responses that what many people forget is that the parent of this curious-challenging child is the one who is the most desperate of all for a break, for some adult conversation, let’s be honest – for their kid to sit still for one freaking minute- but their job is to remain patient and continue setting boundaries – thus rendering meaningful, uninterrupted, adult conversation – impossible unless the child is sleeping and a babysitter is hired.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the constant, daily challenges that DD1 presents not only beat me down but they make me far less judgmental. Maybe sheer exhaustion and no more patience does that to a person, but the bottom line is this – the challenging child is nothing if not humbling.

So like – why do other people just assume that as a parent, we would actually rather be chasing around a kid, than having an adult conversation? Or that somehow we have failed because our kid is restless? Perhaps the hard truth is until you’ve walked a mile in those shoes, you can’t really get it, but I doubt it.

Maybe other parents just feel better about their own parenting and their ability to produce perfect progeny, if they judge parents with challenging children? I mean – isn’t this the reason we watch shows like Super Nanny and Nanny 911? Everyone says they watch it to learn discipline techniques, but really, isn’t it also to watch those train wreck families and feel better about yourself and your family?

Who knows.

All I know is I long for the day when adult conversation is possible. When the kids can go down to the basement and play and duke it out and I can sit upstairs and have some wine.  And I’d like to think my colorful and curious children are just making me a more interesting person, along the way, by keeping me on my toes.

If anything, maybe they are giving me years of conversations to save up for the future, because lord knows I have almost no time for adult conversations now.

 

Broken Record July 6, 2009

Filed under: Motherhood,Toddler Antics — Wired_Momma @ 3:16 pm

Loyal KT fans know that I cautiously blogged about DD1’s behavior improving a few months ago. We progressed from every mundane task throughout the day being a huge battle filled with drama and fits, to her becoming agreeable and well, civilized. It felt so good. I worried it wouldn’t last. I conferred with a dear BFF, she said that it was fair for me to believe things had improved but that we could regress somewhere in the 3s.

Seven months into the 3s, we have regressed.

I am tired.

Of course I wrack my brain for reasons, has she regressed because school’s out for summer, so there isn’t as much structure to her day, let alone the outlet of school and crafts and friends? Has she regressed because I am home more – of course I find myself wondering? Has she regressed because she was away from daddy for a few days and she wanted his attention and chose to act like a devil, to try and get it? Is it a combination of things? Will I ever know?

No.

The only thing I am certain of right now – as I type this completely exhausted and out of patience – is that I will never know why she’s regressed. And also, it’s not as bad as her 2s behavior because the battle isn’t over every single mundane task – it’s just over some things. It’s challenging because she is more forceful in her protests than she was at 2, she is more sophisticated in her arguments, but still, she will not prevail.

But see, it’s the broken record that has joined us in these battles that is really catching me off guard. Example – she is done with dinner and wants to go outside to eat her popsicle on the front step (that is, if she’s been good enough to earn that popsicle on that day). She knows she needs to wait for mommy and daddy to be done with dinner before she can go outside. She is welcome to eat her popsicle at the table while we finish and eat the rest out front. But no – she is going to wait to eat it until she can go outside.

So here is what happens:

“Are you done yet? Daddy are you done yet”

“No”

One second later, “are you done yet? Mommy are you done”

“Not yet”

Milliseconds later  “are you done yet? are you done yet? are you done yet? are you done dinner yet? are you done yet?”

I say “DD1, what did you say, I’m pretty sure we didn’t hear you the first time”

“Are you done yet, are you done yet, are you done with dinner yet”

We are done. Not because we actually are done but because we can’t take it anymore.

OR phone manners. I am trying to teach her that if mommy is having a conversation with someone, she needs to say “Excuse me” if she feels it is important to interrupt (note, it is ALWAYS important to interrupt when you are 3, apparently).

OK – well – what do you do when they say “excuse me” repeatedly over and over and over and over again, as you instructed them too  – basically until you give up and stop the conversation?

She’s doing what I asked. She just won’t stop until she gets what she wants.

My mom tells me that this particular example is one that goes on for years – it’s really about instant gratification. But it is exhausting.

Or take this morning, time to go to camp (thank god – another week of camp).

“OK, time to leave for camp”

“I don’t want to go to camp. I don’t want to go to camp. I don’t want to go to camp. I don’t want to go to camp.”

“Ok, turn off the tv,” I say, as I am gathering her stuff and DD2 to take DD1 to camp. She turns off the TV only because she thinks my “OK” means she doesn’t have to go to camp, we move to the door and from the time I close and lock the door, to the time I load up two kids and pull out of my driveway and then make it to the light to exit my neighborhood, this is what she says non-stop:

“I don’t want to go to camp, I don’t want to go to camp, I don’t want to go to camp, I don’t want to go to camp.”

To humor myself, a few times I actually say to her “Seriously, I definitely didn’t hear you the first time, could you say it again, I don’t know what you are saying.”

Then guess what? We pull into the parking lot at school and this is the reaction “I LOVE SCHOOL!”

I forgot to strap myself in for the emotional roller coaster ride that would be my attempt to get to camp, apparently.

Is 9am too early to start drinking? Will alcohol numb my senses? Will it make me go deaf? Can someone send me some ear plugs?

How in the world do I stop the broken record?

Did anyone warn me that parenthood just keeps getting harder and harder and harder as they get older?

 

Quiet June 22, 2009

Filed under: Motherhood,Preschool,Toddler Antics — Wired_Momma @ 8:08 pm

I think the collective sigh of relief must have been heard around the neighborhood today…..summer camp started at DD1’s school.

I know I wasn’t the only relieved looking parent peeling into the parking lot as the clock struck 9am (somehow I have trouble being so on-time for pick-up….)

Never, ever, in my life have I been so thrilled for summer camp. Well, it’s also DD1’s first time attending summer camp. But seeing as how she was sick as a dog and missed the last two weeks of school, she’s basically been home full-time and lacking the structure of school for a month now.

Add in the fact that it’s like freaking Northern Europe except no where as cool and the beer isn’t as good – in that it’s been raining every single day for like this entire past month – and you can see that it is a recipe for bad behavior.

It finally dawned on me on Friday night when we were having dinner with friends (whose rooftop deck includes an amazing view of the Capitol, Library of Congress and Washington Monument…amazing). One friend noted that her 4 year old had been acting so bad lately and she was sure it was because it’s been a while since she’s been in school.

Ahh yes! No wonder the Tasmanian devil has re-entered my home. Of course! Was I so tired and so exhausted and so beaten down that I couldn’t piece this together on my own? I mean, for months, we actually referred to DD1 as “The Taz.”

And trust me, Taz has been back.  And with the return of  The Taz has come the return of the “Rules Chart.”

Anyone else have one of these displayed prominently in their house? Ahh….the joys of being 3. Curious about the rules?

“Obey Mommy and Daddy” tops the list….this seems like a broad-sweeping category that will be conveniently used as a threat, by moi, whenever I can’t think of anything else

“No Whining” comes in a close second. I mean really. Whining sucks. It’s painful.

“Put on your shoes when asked”

“Come to the table when asked”

“Be quiet outside baby’s room”

“Turn off the TV when asked”

Round out the remainder of the list.

Riveting, isn’t it?

Like I said…thank god for camp.

So after DD2 and me dropped off DD1 at camp…..we came home…..had a bottle…..DD2 had a nap…and suddenly I realized….everything is so QUIET.

I felt like I could hear myself think for the first time in a month. I mean seriously. I could finally hear a coherent thought. Never a deep thought but still – I could hear myself think. And we know my thoughts are precious.

Camp lasts every day this week. One full glorious week of daily camp until 1:30pm. I used to think camp was expensive.

Now I think it’s a god send.