Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Confessions of a 7-year-old Girl - and more poop updates

The ongoing saga surrounding the littlest one pooping in the toilet took a turn for the worse when he made a deposit in the bathtub, just two short steps from the damned toilet. This is a new low for the boy, who continues to impress with his ability to "stay dry" throughout most of the day, only to continually disappoint in the evening. The bribe behavior chart, such an effective tool for the first two children, has had no impact on the stubborn third child. What do you get the kid who apparently has everything and doesn't poop?

Meanwhile, the girl had her First Confession (capitalized for effect) tonight, even though technically in seven years, she hasn't done anything wrong, at least that I could see. Certainly nothing sinful, and definitely not coveting her neighbor's house or ass. Perhaps she bore false witness those handful of times she tried to get her brothers in trouble. Maybe she failed to honor her father and mother a time or two...maybe forgot to remember the Sabbath and stayed in bed and prayed at St. Holy Mattress of the Sheets. OK yeah, confess your sins, girl. So she did, and without incident. When her little brother's turn comes up, he'll probably be pooping his pants somewhere...which by then will be in violation of our house's unofficial 11th Commandment.

Oh, and today was Veterans' Day, so thank you, vets. Come on, New York Stock Exchange, capitalism won't die if you close one more day. Better this day for our next major national holiday then the day after the Super Bowl.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

9 Completely Unrelated Thoughts

One week down, three to go in the Post a Day for a Month Challenge. Whatever doesn't kill you, may still hospitalize you.

Quick thoughts on a Saturday night:

--Days after trying to poop 10 times in one setting to quickly earn some toy trucks, the youngest has since soiled his drawers twice while only peeing on the toilet. This negative-two effort now means he must poop 12 times on the toilet before getting his toys. If he were smart, he'd take up prune juice. He also still finds ways to poop in his sleep at night, which may explain why his brother comes over in the middle of the night. You can practically see the little squiggly marks emanating from that room the next morning. I jump in the shower and pretend not to notice.

--Any time we eat out, the over/under on number of items that hit the floor is 8.5, the number of kids who spend time under the table is 2.5, and the number of trips to the bathroom we make is also 2.5.

--Sometimes it's not unreasonable to expect the fort to hold itself down.

--When I have to share a room with someone who snores all night, then hear them say the next morning that THEY didn't sleep well at all last night, I want to throw them off a balcony.

--We don't have a "house cleaner" because nobody else really wants to set foot in this house. We also don't have a Roomba because it would have suffered a concussion by now.

--Our oldest, the self-proclaimed "Boss of the Children" doesn't realize that, in her role as middle management, she gets blamed for all of her younger brothers' missteps, which includes the potty training fails. She may soon relinquish that role and resume just being a seven-year-old.

--We're raising our kids Catholic, and so minutes after having a frank discussion with our oldest about her First Reconciliation and the importance of asking God's forgiveness for her sins, we tell all our kids that the boxes the mailman brought to their door (containing some of their Xmas gifts) aren't for them. Later we'll tell them they were brought by a fat, jolly elf who operated a reindeer-powered sleigh.

--Nothing that has black olives on it should ever be called "Supreme."

--The iPad screen is quickly replacing the crack between the bed and the wall as the go-to place for kids to wipe their boogers.

Friday, November 7, 2014

We Are the Dishwashers

Our dishwasher broke several weeks ago, so we are now the dishwashers. Makes us realize the dishwasher is something you don't realize you love until it's gone. Like gluten. (Thanks, Rice Chex.)

The green light at the top won't stop blinking. It's trying to tell us something?
Still, there is an opportunity here. The youngest, of all people, has noticed that we are spending more of our ever-diminishing free time washing everyone's dishes and has even offered to help wash them himself. That presents us with the ongoing conundrum of letting him help and splashing water all over the place and making the process way more tedious than it already is, or just doing it ourselves and finishing it in under five hours.

The kid has also suggested that the Easter Bunny wash the dishes. The Easter Bunny? Where did that come from? While we would appreciate a make-believe animal coming through and doing our work for us, the Easter Bunny comes but once a year. Actually, we're on the same pace, so why not?

Meanwhile, the poor dishwasher seems to want to help...lights blinking all over the place, gives you the impression it wants to live but just can't, but won't give up. It fights the good fight but ultimately it died doing what it did best, saving us a few minutes each

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What Did I Miss? November 6

Another day when my kids hit the sack before I get home...sigh...this is what happened...

We finally brought out the armada in the war against pooping our pants. Tired of listening to how continent our youngest can be within the walls of Day Care only to have him come home and slide away and hide under the kitchen table to load up, we bribed him with offered him a fleet of toy trucks. (Retail Price: $5.88)

The toys that will keep our house from smelling like poop. Pictured at bottom: A two-year-old pic of the Easter Bunny.
He declined for six weeks, opting instead to suddenly disappear and quietly soil himself instead of going through the rigors of pooping on the toilet. We suspected something was amiss when he started disappearing. He never disappears, he's always in our faces, making himself available at all times and leaving a trail of toys in his wake, which we find in the middle of the night with our feet.

Tonight he found the trucks and decided he wanted to play with them. This, shortly after once again smudging up the face of Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

"Ohhhhhh, no," my wife said she said, before explaining that he can't have the trucks until he poops on the potty at home ten times in a row. He seemed so agreeable to the deal that he immediately went to the can and tried to poop all ten times right then and there...nearly giving himself a childhood hernia, if there is such a thing? Or bursting a blood vessel in his anus. We'll see if the enthusiasm continues or wanes, but if trucks are on the line, then these days might be over (I hope you took the over.)

For Christmas and then his birthday last year, we got the middle one the complete set of mini-NFL football helmets. (OK, maybe they were for me, too.) Every week, we organize them in order of the week's NFL matchups, and each week, when I ask for the Seahawks, Texans, Bears, Falcons, Jaguars, Panthers, Ravens, or even Buccaneers helmets, he always hands me the Broncos, and I have to say a variation of "That's not a bird, that's a HORSE."

So now he has become obsessed with death, which always unsettles me when he speaks so frankly about it. Tonight he asked what people are like when they're dead. When my wife responded that they don't do anything, he insisted that Dad (who apparently will go first) will still eat with us, go to work, and, most importantly, move the football helmets. Somebody PLEASE move the football helmets for him when I'm gone.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What Did I Miss? November 5

Today was yet another day when I didn't see my kids to ask them how their day was, so I got the scoop from their mother, who reported as follows:

The youngest continues his quest to extend Halloween into November by riding around on a broom. He also rushes to his mother's side after she blows her nose and asks, "Do you have boogies?" He has a way with women...

The middle child, who is trying to learn the piano, will be getting a holiday song book courtesy of his teacher. His teacher says he has never seen anyone that age with the attention span of my son. I'll take his word for it, since his attention hasn't spanned wide enough to actually practice at home, ever.

And the oldest, the girl, reprises her role as the supreme agitator. Time and again, we question why she refuses to be totally happy until someone else is completely miserable. She usually tries to make the middle child cry before the car has left the Day Care parking lot. She is at her best when she's the only kid in the room. When the other two are around, there is a quick, definite degradation in behavior.

We are very thankful that the public rarely sees these sides of our kids, but they're there. We'd invite you over to see it firsthand, but our Roomba is busy giving itself a concussion. Nobody wants to see that.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Halloween In Review

Now that Halloween is over, let's take a look at what we learned this year about the holiday:

1. My wife still hates the holiday. Maybe it's because she has to deal with lots of kids dressed up at school, then has to come home and deal with three more. Or maybe she hates candy.

2. We contributed one Elsa and two ninja turtles to the official final count, so we have kids who fail to think outside the box...just like their dad. Maybe next year they'll just go as a box. Or I'll dress as a box and they can Trick or Treat outside me.

3. The little one has a chance to be the kid who comes up with some good costumes...at 2 years old he has an imagination unlike his older siblings. He has been riding around the house as a witch on a broom, as if he has just discovered witches on Oct 30 and wishes he could extend the holiday out a little. He also still dumps water on his head in the bathtub and shouts Ice Bucket Challenge!

4. My wife stayed home to "give out candy" even though we were the only people in the neighborhood participating. I'm a sucker.

5. Because we were the only ones participating, it seemed awkward going to people's houses and taking their candy. One family shut all their lights off and pretended to not be home but their dogs barked incessantly when we walked past. I wanted to stand there until 1:30 AM just to see what would happen.

6. As awkward as it was, going to eight houses (six people answered the door) and getting home for pizza after an hour is my idea of Halloween...minimally intrusive. The kids reported they got "a whole bunch" of candy, so we'll probably continue to do this and not travel to someone else's development, with people we know even less, spend three hours instead of one, all in the name of enhancing Halloween. We do Halloween just fine.

7. Seriously, no Ana? All Elsa? No Duke of Weaseltown?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Raising Sienna

Do yourself a favor and go take a look at Raising Sienna, a site by Lorne Jaffe. Read as much as you can in whatever free time you're afforded, then bookmark the site, and go back and read more when you're able. Read everything on this site. Such honest, direct discussion about anxiety, depression, and parenting. Plus, Lorne will be on the radio! Tuesday at 11:20 am.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

All Wheel Drive - Part 2

There was plenty of guesswork involved Saturday as we tried to get a tire changed…how many tires? What model of car? All Wheel Drive or Front Wheel Drive? We decided on 2, Equinox LT, and Front Wheel Drive as our final answers and then handed in our exams and felt like we earned a solid C.

The key to the All Wheel Drive thing is that the tire required for AWD was not in stock, (even though I could look around and see enough tires to fill a sports stadium) and would have to be ordered in 1-2 business days. Which is highly inconvenient for someone driving on a donut, whose 50-mile life was mostly used up. This is probably the reason I guessed “not AWD,” since the “not AWD” tires were, in fact, in stock, and could be replaced in 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Wait, what? 2 hours and 45 minutes in the middle of the day? This is something that I, as a parent of three, would pay $10,000 for. I didn’t realize all I had to do was get some tires changed …maybe I should have gotten four.

Except the only place I had to go was a mall. Me in a mall for 3 hours is like sending a kid into a workplace. Lots of crewing around, nothing getting accomplished. The better scenario would be for my wife to have three hours in the mall, and me at home so I can play Mario Kart get some work done around the house.

My wife, if given 3 hours in a mall this time of year, would have all the Christmas shopping done, including the gifts Santa will get all the credit for, plus presents for family, friends, teachers, Day Care staff, random recipient at office White Elephant, random recipient at family White Elephant, mailman, garbage man, and 12 other people I’m not thinking of and won’t until December 24.

Instead I spent 45 minutes in a book store watching a 2-year-old and an overmatched grandparent try to negotiate a down elevator, which looked like this (at the 35:00 mark.) This came after the kid grabbed a CD or book and refused to let the clerk check it out without causing a massive scene.

This means I added three items to my unofficial developmental milestones for kids:

1.    Can your child handle a down escalator without backing up traffic?
2.    Can your child handle himself when he has to give a store clerk his newest favorite thing for 15 seconds?
      2a.    Can your child handle himself when you try to microwave his food for 15 seconds?

I spent the rest of the time in the mall people-watching and trying to eat whipped cream with a straw--because no fancy drink topped with whipped cream ever comes with a spoon—before walking around aimlessly looking for Santa Claus.

With an hour left and me playing with things in the Lego store, I got a call from the shop. Excited that I might get out early, the guy on the other end instead informed me that my car was in face All Wheel Drive (I told them it wasn’t) but they had the proper tires in stock (they told me they didn’t.) Two wrongs just made a right, I think. At this point, with my head spinning during my second trip through the book store, I just shook my head and read 10 pages or so of each football book plus Mindy Kaling’s book.

While there, I made a vow: Enough of this…I’m going to teach my kids everything I know about cars. Which should take 52 seconds, but still. Of course, by the time they’re old enough to operate their own fingertip-operated flying transporters (they’re not growing up until the year 2158), they won’t want to hear about any “cars.” But I’ll at least have them pay attention to the year, make, and model, and have them ask the dealer if it has All-Wing Drive.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

All Wheel Drive vs. Front Wheel Drive

Driving north to work on Interstate 95 last Friday, I felt my car trying to tell me something. I usually don't listen because I hate cars, and they never tell me something good like, "I love watching you drive." They're usually trying to tell me something bad news and jargon-y like, "The governor on your rear differential is about to wear out your fan belt and cause viscosity buildup under the pistons of your catalytic converter. Check Engine." I wouldn't own a car if I didn't have to. I miss the days when I could walk everywhere I needed to go. So does my waistline.

Maybe the car wasn't literally trying to tell me something because I don't have anything fancy equipped with the sultry woman's voice, but there appeared a message on the panel in front of me...the right wheel tire pressure was 3.

3? Seemed kinda low. Usually that number is in the 30s or so, I think. So this is a big problem. Then by the time I process all the information, it's at 1, then 0, and suddenly I'm doing 6 mph on one of the busiest, truck-infested highways in the country. Time to move over to the shoulder, shout some choice words into the steering wheel, call AAA, then pray all of those semis racing by me at 75 mph are operated by competent, awake, alert, happy individuals.

I was glad not to have any kids with me, because they would have gone bananas. But once you get over the initial shock of your Chevy Equinox shaking every time a Dodge Neon drives by, much less a tractor trailer, you're free to check the late NBA and NHL scores and catch up on some emails until the guy comes to put the spare on. (I'm sure as hell not changing a tire on I-95 in my business casual attire. not without a film crew and Mike Rowe on hand.)

Ah, the spare tire. I know there are good reasons (trunk space, weight) why the spare tire is ridiculously small, forcing you to drive like Laurel and Hardy up the Interstate, turning you into that old lady you want to cuss at but you can't because you can't see her when you get by her, making you late for your important business meeting. When I'm named Secretary of the Interior, I'm requiring all roads to have a Spare Tire lane just so those unfortunate souls have a place to drive guilt-free. I'm also inventing a tire that allows you to go faster than 50 mph on it and longer than 50 miles.

All of this brings us to Saturday, when I need to buy a new, real tire so I don't ruin the trusty spare and find myself in another predicament. There are far, far too many questions that need to be answered when buying a tire(s).

1. How many tires? It might as well be a game show with its own wheel to spin. The obvious answer is, "However many went flat yesterday," but you have to account for tread wear, balance, mileage, and at least three other things, none of which I know anything about, so I mentally spin the game show wheel and come up with a number. Today I said two. Who knows.

2. Are there any superfluous letters at the end of the model of your car? For example, please don't say just "Chevy Equinox." Is it an LT, LZ, LZT, LXZT, or B-Sharp? Apparently all of these take different tires.

3. Is the car All Wheel Drive or Front Wheel Drive? For the love of God, who cares. It was explained to me why this is important, but I didn't listen. I simply do not care. Like a "classic" movie that's been oversold to me and I'll never watch, I never want to find out what the differences are between AWD, FWD, or even RWD. Don't tell me. I'm not listening...la la la la la...

I always assumed it had something to do with being able to go really fast through a 15-foot-high pile of snow or driving on steep, rocky terrain like we see in a commercial, but since the only "off-roading" I'll be doing is driving on the striped, weirdly shaped "Land of Indecision" between the highway and the off ramp, I never bothered to figure out the difference and never will.

Still, even though the difference between AWD, FWD, and RWD means nothing to me, I still need to know which one my car is, because of course different tires for each. (Of course.) The owner's manual didn't specifically say it was AWD (apparently AWD is better?) but it didn't say it wasn't, either. So I took to the internets and for $30 I could find out. Not that interested, so I guessed. 50-50 chance, right?

What does any of this have to do with kids or parenting? Here's Part 2!

This silliness has a Facebook Page!