Things I’ve learned from my 4 year old

1.  The ‘5 Second Rule’ is less of a RULE and more of a GUIDELINE- it just depends on how much you spent on the item, or in his case, how much you really wanted to eat it.
2.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you… the first time.  If they continue to piss you off, throw your juice cup at them.
3.  Clothes are ALWAYS optional.  Save yourself money and time- wear your birthday suit.
4.  Sharing is nice- unless its candy or a toy you really love.  If that’s the case, give them your runner up and make it seem special.
5.  Man CAN live on chocolate milk and bananas alone.
6.  Toilets are optional- God gave us the ‘great outdoors’ for a reason.
7.  Be your own person.  Don’t do something just because that’s the norm.  Just because most individuals put their socks on and THEN their shoes, it doesn’t mean YOU have to.
8.  If you jump off the couch and fail to actually fly, try, try, try again.
9.  Sometimes you don’t need to “just try it” to know you won’t like it.
10. You can TOO have multiple best friends, and its even better if they’re imaginary because then you don’t have to share them with anyone else.
11. Everyone has days where they wish they were someone else, and on those days, its perfectly acceptable to be Mario, Luigi, Bowser, or -in my case- Princess Peach.
12. Think outside the box- if your big brother won’t leave you alone, lick him.  He’s sure to stay away, then.
13. Nothing starts a conversation quite like a good poop joke.
14. When in doubt, throw it in the laundry- after all, YOU know the type of days you’ve been having.  That’s probably the safer choice, anyways.

15.  Sometimes nothing can make it all better except being held by someone you love.

Living with kids- its not for the weak

“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…”

These are the words that keep flowing through my head as I find myself going through the motions today.  Its just another one of those days that has decided to zap the last of whatever it is that keeps me going.  Let me take you on a mental tour of my home right now, shall I?

As you walk though the front door, you’re greeted by something that’s akin to Hurricane Katrina with just a hint of “God, what’s THAT?!”  You check the address outside the door in the hopes that you’ve made a mistake- this cannot POSSIBLY be the right place.  But it is, so you attempt to trudge on.

Easier said than done.

You wade through the mounds of toys and -God help you- empty boxes that you realize were SUPPOSED to be turned into cars, trucks, playhouses, etc., but have now been broken down into unrecognizable forms.  You look around, wondering where FEMA has disappeared to, because this should most definitely qualify as a state of emergency… and then you realize that if they ARE there, you couldn’t find them anyway.  Suddenly, it hits you that you’ve only made it through the front door, and the rest of the home is waiting for your inspection.  After trying -unsuccessfully- to brush off the shudders that are now coursing through your body, you put one foot in front of the other.

In the dining room, you look under the dinner table and you see crusty breakfast cereal that was never cleaned up and has now permanently attached itself to the carpet.  No need for a baby book, here!  Dynamite will not loosen it!  You’ll be able to point out to the kids -once they’re grown ups- the ACTUAL food they used to eat.  Astounding!

You walk- well, you shuffle, anyways- into the living room, scream, and search for another room -ANY other room- to run to.  You at once think about attaching yellow caution tape to section off the unnatural disaster, but in the end, all you REALLY want to do is find a safe zone.  Every man for himself- if someone else is crazy enough to enter, that’s THEIR problem.  You hurry past the living room, trying desperately to rid your mind of the horrors you just witnessed, as well as trying to find your footing on a floor you cannot see.

You say a small prayer and work your way toward the kitchen- or, what, in an ideal setting, MIGHT be a kitchen.  You know that before this place was inhabited there was a sink.  You look to where you saw it last and gasp- a pile of dishes 50 feet high now engulfs the entire left side of the room.  No wonder you couldn’t see the kitchen through the pass-thru- the pass-thru is now a wall consisting of dirty cereal bowls, pots, pans, and the rest of what must surely be all the dishes and utensils the home holds.

What’s that smell?  Oh, GROSS- one of the kids must have found a moldy sippy cup and set it on the counter.  Better late than never; and at least it shows that they were cleaning out their room, right?  RIGHT?

To keep from gagging, you hurry on your way to check on the rest of the apartment.  First stop?  The guest bathroom- a.k.a. the Boys’ Bathroom.

Upon entering, you pause at the toilet- can males NEVER learn how to aim properly?!?!  You feel a need -an uncontrollable URGE- to get clean, but that’s not going to happen in THIS sink.  Somewhere along the line, the middle child felt the need to squeeze out an entire tube of toothpaste into the sink.  The bathroom is smelling minty fresh, though, so you thank God for the little things and back on out.

That’s when you feel the need to run.  To run fast and hard and long to escape what -in some distorted definitions- might be described as a room, but OH NO!  Not THIS place!  Much like a 20 car pile up or a nuclear explosion, you want to look away, but can’t.  As you gaze from the door -because that’s as far as you can make it- you think you see the faintest of outlines of a set of bunk beds and possibly a small table and -HA!- and organizational device that must have been left for comedic purposes because its OBVIOUSLY not in use…

Did something MOVE in there?!?!?!?!?!

You slowly creep away -to avoid being attacked by whatever is currently occupying the space- and turn to head toward the master bedroom.  You want to wash your brain to get rid of the scenes you’ve just encountered, but you can’t.  You realize with a resigned feeling that once you’re out of here, you will need to undergo therapy for PTSD.

The master is the only room where you aren’t scared.  The bathroom is clean!  The bed is made!  No toys to be found!  Serene music coming from the iPOD set up, and…

-what’s that rocking back and forth in the corner over there?

THAT would be me, people.  And, let’s be honest now- if you were living in the place I just described, wouldn’t you be going a little crazy, too?

What did you say…?

I didn’t think French would help me, so I chose to learn Spanish in High School instead.
I ended up messing around in Spanish- making up phrases like “The camel jumped through the window” and “My pants are on fire and my legs burn” -and, really, those phrases can only be used in isolated instances- so my Spanish is confined to “Adios”, “Vamanos” and “quesodilla”… or anything else that Dora the Explorer can teach me.
When Jacob was born, I was determined to have a child who could speak another language.  I had heard that sign language was a great way to increase his verbal capabilities, so I bought the most expensive Baby Sign kit I could find- after all, the fact that it cost millions of dollars must mean it works. The bonus was that I knew I would end up learning a little something along the way since I would need to teach him. I learned a few things, he learned that he liked the cartoon it came with, and neither of us became bilingual at the end of it all.
Little did I know, though, that with each child that was born, I was becoming more and more adept at a new language- Baby-ease. The problem is, none of the sounds translate well and the most it does is make your baby laugh and make you sound like you’re speaking some sort of weird tribal tongue. It was brought to my attention the other day by my sons’ uncle that whenever we talk to Nicholas, we find ourselves making clicks, clucks, whistles, and other random noises. This would be great if we were attempting to speak Zulu or wanted to impersonate an African bushman, but it doesn’t do much else.
Hey- can I count myself as bilingual if I don’t know what I’m saying? Because I’m sure that I was saying SOMEthing to Nicholas all those times- I just didn’t know it.
I have friends who have sworn up and down that they hate baby talk and would never do it, but, first of all, clicks and clucks don’t count as baby talk in my opinion. Also, though, much like the cartoons I swore I’d never let my kids watch, if it works, why worry?
After all, baby talk can’t possibly be more detrimental to a child’s health than, oh, say… duct tape.

Sing… sing a song…

Today I was running around town like a mad woman, attempting to get everything done on my insanely long list: registration for the two older boys, doctor’s appts. for their physicals, a “quick” trip to the grocery store (which, if you’ve got 3 kids- boys- and you ever try to describe something as “quick”, you’re fooling yourself), and a few other things that seemed to last forever.  Somewhere between the dairy aisle and the baked goods, though, I started to hum a little hum.  It wasn’t until I got to the canned vegetable aisle that I realized what it was and I wanted to scream.

“Neeeeew friends put a smile on my face- I’m so very happy that you’re visiting MY place…”

It happened.  I was humming the words to a Yo Gabba Gabba song with the same passion that I used to save for, well, songs that ARE NOT from a kids show.

I remember the days before I had kids and I used to make fun of shows like Barney and Sesame Street.  Songs describing the demise of the purple dinosaur creature were sung all around the school, and I sang as loudly as the rest.  Its funny to watch Cameron sing the same songs now, thinking that he’s discovered something new.

Yeah, son.  No.  I was a Barney hater LONG before you were born.  Now, though, I’ve learned a couple of things:

~Barney might be annoying, but he’s making a WHOLE lot more money than I am- and no one knows who he is in real life.  THAT is pure genius.

~Barney is only an annoying purple dinosaur creature until that moment your 2 year old lets go of your leg to sing “I love you, you love me”.  Then?  Barney is amazing- a God-like creature that monuments should be built for.

And its not just Barney.  I remember the first time I sat down and watched an entire ‘Yo Gabba Gabba’ episode.  It was about sharing, and while Jacob was rockin’ out, I couldn’t help muttering,”Oh good golly- they’re brain washing children.  Sure, they’re full of good moral ideas, but lets call a spade a spade, shall we?  When you repeat ‘Sharing is good.  Sharing is fun’ 50 times in one song, its a rhythmic scrub brush for the brain.”

And, me being me, I couldn’t help wondering if I could write a song encompassing all I want my kids to hold near and dear to their hearts:

“Your bladder’s full- oh can’t you see?  Get out of bed and now go pee!  You know that you are beat, beat, beat, but mom doesn’t want to wash your sheets- Go pee!”

“Please don’t argue with your mom- don’t argue with your dad.  They both know what’s best for you and arguing is bad.”

“Eating candy night and day leads to lots of tooth decay.  Before you munch on all those sweets, just know the tooth fairy will yank out your teeth.”

Ok, so the last one needs work.  You’ve got to admit its got potential, though.

The question is, though, would I someday be walking down the snack aisle and hear someone humming one of MY songs?  One can only hope.

Until then, I’ll leave the brain washing of the masses to the professionals.  I mean, after all, if they’ve got me singing about how “its not fun to get lost” while hunting down animal crackers, I’m pretty sure they know what they’re doing.

Fine print

I love babies.
They’re sweet and cuddly and they smell good. I love their smiles and coos and the way they can make your heart melt with just one little half-cocked grin.
Really. I love babies.
That is, until they’re mine.
That’s when I can no longer give them back when they discontinue their sweetness, start squirming to get out of my arms, and constantly smell as if something is either proceeding to die or already rotting in their diapers. Its when they only smile and coo when they are trying to get their way. It when the moment I refuse to give in or am unable to decode their incessant babbling that they give up that half-cocked grin right before they give out a blood-curdling scream or spit up all over me-
-and less had gone in than came out-
THAT’S the time when I start wondering if its really all THAT illegal to sell your kids on eBay. I mean, a guy sold his entire LIFE- how wrong IS it to just want to sell one TINY little part… a part that’s only 23 inches long.
So, yeah- babies are cute until they’re mine.
Always discuss the refund policy, people. And read the fine print- they’ll ALWAYS get you with the fine print. That’s where those sneaky hospital personnel put in the “extras”. Things like, “You MUST leave the hospital with your child” or “Your maximum stay time is 2 days- after that, we’ll be throwing you out, regardless of whether or not you’re ready” or, my personal favorite “We will NOT be sending you home with a nanny”. You might think they don’t mean it or that you will be looked upon as a special case, but trust me- they DO mean it.
At least, that’s what the nice security guard told me.
Always read the fine print.

Zoology is the study of my home

Wanna know the difference between my house and a zoo? There really isn’t one.

Sure, the animals are different, but in the end, if not for certain safety precautions taken, my little animals would eat us alive. Yeah, they LOOK cute and cuddly, but there’s a reason why they have a sign out in front of the bear cage that says ‘Do Not Feed The Bear’. Its not because they’re trying to cut down on the costs of diet products for the poor guy- its because if you get up close, he’s likely to rip your arm off!

Cute and cuddly looking, they may be- friendly? Well, that’s to be questioned.

Today has been – how shall I say it?- difficult. Of course, if you were to look up ‘difficult’ in my specialized dictionary (that I’m planning on having published one of these days because it really is remarkable), you’d see some poor soul about to jump off a cliff rather than face the burning flames about to engulf him.

Have you ever heard the warning sound that they play on TV announcing,”This has been a test of the emergency broadcast system’? Now, have you ever wondered what it would be like to listen to that sound for an entire day??? I do! I can tell you! Its the sound of a screeching 4 year old when he starts to get annoyed at his 10 year old brother who is INTENTIONALLY annoying him!

All day.


Up until about an hour ago.

After that, they banned together- with Cameron’s friend-, rode a skateboard 4 feet in their room, slammed it into the mirrored closet doors, and cracked one. Amazingly, when asked what happened, neither one could come up with stories that matched.

That’s when I shut them up in barrels like Mark Twain spoke of and fed them through the knotholes.

No, I didn’t do that- although, don’t think the thought never crossed my mind. No, that’s when they were confined to their beds. Come on now- I’m not a monster.


Anyways, so to say that today has been “trying” is putting it lightly. Part of me is already questioning my sanity for having a third, but I’m sticking to that old saying (IS it an old saying?) that you can’t lose what you’ve already lost. There’s really nowhere to go but up from here, so there you go. Besides, we’ve made our beds- now all that’s left is to hide under the blankets.

Besides, I’m banking on the hope that ONE of them will make it big in life and support me and Corey in the lifestyle we’d like to become accustomed to.

And then, when they’re older and have little hyenas of their own, I can look at them adoringly and say,”Some animals eat their young.”

Hey- I just want my boys to know they have options.

Coffee does, too, count as a food group!

As I sit here in the wee afternoon hours, eyes drooping, body beginning to collapse from complete exhaustion, I’m staring at my coffee maker with longing. I’m typing with one hand while holding the tiny dictator with another, so I’m praying that by using “the Force”, I can start another pot. The phrase “If you don’t succeed, try, try again” comes to mind, but Jacob is staring at me, asking me why I’m making faces and squinting at the kitchen, so I should probably get up and practice my one handed coffee making skills and leave the Jedi tricks to Luke Skywalker.
My gramma would disapprove. She has told me more than once that I need to wean myself off of my black liquid of love and acceptance, but I’m not a quitter. I know that I love coffee more than a normal person should, and in all honesty, I’ve been drinking it so long that it doesn’t REALLY have an effect on me anymore- so why am I trying to get all “Jedi Master” on my Black and Decker? Because, if nothing else, my mind has started to associate coffee with mental clarity. Plus, it keeps my hands busy so that I don’t end up trying to strangle my adorable children when they start imitating the wild apes on the Animal Planet.
I used to refer to my love of coffee as an addiction and coffee as my drug of choice ; used to, that is, until the day that Cameron went to his first grade teacher and told her that his mommy was addicted to drugs. Mental note: kids listen to everything, they repeat everything, but they don’t stop for explanations. It took some doing, but I’m pretty sure that I was able to convince her that I didn’t need to go to rehab. I probably didn’t help the situation, though, when I jokingly went into a small rant about the health benefits of coffee and how, really, the USDA should include coffee as a main staple for nutritional completeness. APPARENTLY, pointing out how a single cup of coffee can be everything from a serving of protein to a serving of fruit (depending on what area you’re lacking in at the time), makes you look like a lunatic.
I’m going to go now and make a pot of probiotics.

Its just a dent- it’ll buff out

My youngest, Nicholas, no longer has his new baby smell.
Just so we’re clear, I mean that in the metaphorical sense, not the literal. Personally, I could do without the dirty diaper/spit up smell that comes in most brand new models, so I’m definitely not going to complain about losing that.
No, I’m talking about him officially losing his “newness”. With cars, it might be that first scratch or spilled soda on the interior; with a new house, maybe its the family dog peeing on your brand new carpet; with my brand new baby, though, I let him roll off the bed.
Its not like I intentionally invited him over the edge into the abyss. I set him on the bed in a mound of blankets and then turned my head for a millisecond.  Unfortunately, that was the millisecond my sweet little 2 month old decided to roll over for the first time.
Just so we’re clear, he’s ok. However, the new baby feel? Right out the window. He made it through his first tumble alive. He’s no longer a baby- he’s a warrior. He stared death in the face and mocked it openly.
Ok, so I might be overstating the direness of the situation.
Its funny how parents’ reactions change with each child that comes along. When my oldest son fell off the bed-
Yes. He fell off the bed too. Its nearly a right of passage for the boys in our home. I don’t know why- it just is.
Anyways, when my oldest son fell off the bed for the first time, I practically wanted to take him to the hospital to get an entire work up- EKG, EEG- the works. When my 4 year old fell off the bed, I was scared, cried, but then started to laugh when my husband pointed out that if he makes it nowhere else in the world, he’ll have a lucrative career in the circus because his flip technique was impeccable. Today, when Nicholas fell off the bed, I sat down at this computer, updated my Facebook status detailing my failure as a mom, and then proceeded with this entry. 
Not that I want another child- I’ve said that a 3rd boy was God’s way of saying “don’t do it again”- but I’m wondering if I would just toss him off the side of the bed to get it over with, saying,”You’re going to do it anyways…”
Too much? 

Self Esteem? What’s that?

I’ve figured out that becoming a mom can really mess with your self-esteem.

Sure, you did something that no man could do- and kudos to you for doing it!- but I’m pretty sure- no, I’m positive- that if men were actually ABLE to give birth, the human race would have ended with Cain…

and I’m not so sure I would have blamed Adam in the least.

So, maybe boasting about my ability to run the race that is “labor and delivery” is less of an accomplishment and more of a walking, talking testament to my insanity.  When you really think about it, all moms are masochists.  Even if you didn’t willingly go through labor or a c-section- if you took the adoption route- you still made a conscious decision to let your heart walk around outside of your body.  If that’s not asking for pain, I don’t know what is.

And then, after its all said and done, not only do you have a baby to show for your efforts, but now you have many other “badges of honor”: bags under your eyes from lack of sleep, a saggy stomach, stretch marks, and swollen- well, yeah.  I’m actually in awe of the women I hear about with kids only 10 months apart- with them, for WANTING their husbands near them so soon after, but also with their husbands, for not being scared off.

Me?  I did everything but put up a barbed wire fence around my side of the bed.

Of course, my husband is wonderful.  He tells me I’m beautiful everyday.  I love his dishonesty.  Its like that song that says “Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies”- it NEARLY changes my perception of myself momentarily when I look in the mirror.


Until my  sweet, honest 4 year old climbs onto my lap and says,”I love how fluffy you are, Mom.”

“So, you wanted boys, huh?”

Noah was given an ark to build. Moses was sent to lead God’s people through the desert to the promised land. And me? God gave me boys.
Its funny how after you have one boy, people ask you with every succeeding pregnancy, “So, are you going to try for that girl?” My answer is a resounding “NO”.
I’m pretty sure that God wanted to ensure that I never try for another child by keeping my hands full with 3 boys. Yes, we wanted 3 kids- 3 boys? Debatable. Sure, we knew what to expect with boys… but there’s the problem: we knew what to expect with boys. Well, we THOUGHT we knew what to expect with boys. I’m starting to wonder more and more as they get older.
Today I walked in on my 2 oldest sons using whatever wasn’t nailed down as projectiles. These items included, but were not limited to, blocks, crayons, and -at one point- a plush Elmo chair that actually sang as it hit Jacob. It was as if Elmo was singing out a war cry, which seemed to instigate Jacob, who retaliated by picking up a tee ball bat and swinging it at his older brother’s head. Cameron quickly used a pillow as a shield while wielding a plastic drumstick, but Jacob couldn’t have cared less because he was already on top of a craft table they have in their room ready to jump on his brother’s mid-section.
I’m unsure of why I allowed the fight to go on that long-
Eh, who am I kidding? It was a long day and if they knocked each other out, I wouldn’t have had to listen to another fight later.
Which I did.
Because I ended up stopping that particular fight just in time.Eh, give me a break- blood is difficult to get out of fabric surfaces.  I couldn’t have let it go on too much longer.
And no, I won’t tell you who “won”, although, in the future, if you see Jacob’s name in lights at a boxing match, don’t hesitate to place your bet on him. The kid has some moves. Its as if he’s being positioned by some unseen force…
When I finally stepped in, though, to stop the madness, that’s when I realized that this -these boys- are my mission from God. They looked at me with pissed off looks and whined, “But mom! We were having fun!” Yeah. Fun. Its all fun and games until Elmo takes you out.
If I can raise them up to adulthood without them killing each other (or me killing them- I’m kidding! Sort of.), then I’ll win God’s favor.
I have to tell myself this, honestly, because its either this or God is up in Heaven right now saying, “HA! You asked for 3 kids! Well, here you go!”