Category: Parenting

It’s Because He’s Two

I feel as though there comes a time in every parent’s life when they realize they are saying the same thing over and over and over again.  In our house lately, the rousing refrain is “It’s because he’s two.”

Seriously, I’m pretty sure I say this at least three times a day.  Usually when the Munchkin has thrown a fit over the fact that I still won’t let him eat the cats’ food or watch seventy hours of Elmo’s World in a 24-hour period.  Sometimes those four words are all that allow me to maintain my sanity when something as simple as asking him if he wants water or milk to drink prompts a meltdown.  It’s so easy to lose my temper over the constant whining and pouting if I don’t check myself from time to time.

The other thing that helps me not lose my mind regularly (aside from assistance from Big Pharma) is a reminder to myself that lots of little things in life piss ME off, and I have more than two decades’ worth of life experience to help me deal with it.  I’ve experienced having things not go my way today but turn around a few weeks later.  I know that “delayed gratification” can be fulfilling.  And I’ve had almost thirty years to develop a vocabulary to express myself, to make my wants, needs, and frustrations known.

He doesn’t have any of that.  Heck, half the time he can’t tell me what we did yesterday or what we plan to do tomorrow, so communicating the idea that we’re going to go to the zoo in a week?  Forget about it.  He just hears “We’re going to the zoo” and can’t figure out why we aren’t in the car and on our way ten minutes later.

So, until he starts catching up, everyone in our lives can expect to hear, at least once, a tired sigh and the words “It’s because he’s two” when he does something that just leaves us all shaking our heads.


What I Would Teach My Kids

I read something today that gave me pause and really forced me to stop and think.  This blog post by

My first thought is that I am so glad that I am not growing up today, when everything is posted online for anyone and everyone to see.  Because I did some seriously stupid things as a teenager, things that I’m quite happy not to have memorialized for eternity.

My second thought is that I have to raise my son in this world, and I don’t know if I am ready for that.  A world where someone thought that the blog post I linked to, in its entirety, was an appropriate way to reach out to young women and try to convince them to respect themselves.  A world where Steubenville occurred, and a judge in Montana described a fourteen-year-old girl as “just as responsible” for her statutory rape by her teacher as he was.  A world where it remains as popular now to slut shame and make women responsible for every man’s sexual urges as it ever has been.  A world where we’ve made so little progress in teaching our children to respect their sexuality and everyone else’s.

What do I want to teach my son?

I want to teach him that men and women are, first and foremost, human beings.  That it’s insulting to tell someone that you’ve lost respect for them “as a man/woman and as a person” because there is no separation between someone’s humanity and their gender.  We are all just people, living in this world together.  Our reproductive organs and whether we identify as male or female don’t define our worth in life.

I want to teach him that human beings are sexual creatures.  That it’s far healthier to embrace that and celebrate it responsibly than to suppress it.  That he is responsible for handling his emotional and physical responses to the people around him — if he finds someone attractive, that’s his deal, not the other person’s.  The friend zone doesn’t exist, because people he’s attracted to don’t exist just to date him; they’re people first, and friendship with them should be its own goal, not a step toward a sexual or romantic relationship.

I want to teach him to be responsible for his words and actions.  That just because you can say something online doesn’t mean you should.  That if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, it’s time to walk away from the computer before you say something you can’t take back.  That not every picture needs to be for public consumption, so be careful what pictures you and your friends take, even in jest.

I want to teach him about the value of second chances.  That one mistake does not necessarily define you as a person.  Because if you are going to play by those rules, you have to remember that you make mistakes of your own, and you’re going to want to have a do-over at some point yourself.

If I had a daughter, I would teach her the same things.  But I would also teach her that it’s pretty damn cool to be a woman.  That breasts and all (okay, most of)  the physical aspects of the female body are fun and made to be enjoyed, not to be ashamed of.  Don’t let anyone try to tell you that not wearing a bra is necessarily some horribly inappropriate thing to do or that you must hide your nipples’ existence at all costs.  Oh, and I promise, your body is in better shape than you think it is when you look in the mirror, so embrace the hell out of that.  You are beautiful.  That is something that is so easy to say in retrospect but so very difficult to do.  I know.

Boys and girls alike, have fun getting to know yourselves and growing into yourselves.  You only live once, so love and respect yourself.

But seriously, kids, not every picture and every thought needs to go on the Internet.  If it’s something that you’d be embarrassed to see a parent posting about himself or herself, it’s probably not something you want to post about yourself.  Because that shit is out there forever, and either your parents will find it or your worst enemy will, and nobody wants that.

This month has been a tough one from a work perspective: I was supposed to be gone at least one day a week every week this month, which got changed to being gone at least one day every week this month but one.  And did I mention being out of town almost all of this week and then for the next two weeks straight?

It’s the first time I’ve been away like this since the Munchkin was born, and it’s turning out to be a lot harder than I ever realized it was going to be.  I never used to have an issue with long-term trips.  Heck, it wasn’t until a year after we were married that we managed to hit the point where we’d lived together as much as we’d lived apart, and we’d been a couple for six years by then.

This time is different, though.  This time I can’t help thinking about all the things I’m missing out on while I’m gone.  All the good night kisses I’m not getting in.  All the books I’m not reading to the Munchkin.  His non-stop chatter on the way to daycare in the morning and back home in the evenings.  Heck, all the bathroom trips we’re working so hard to encourage him to make when he’s ready, which is so not glamorous parenting at all.

Tonight really hammered it home for me.  On this trip, in preparation for the two weeks solid I’ll be out of town, we both downloaded Skype; once the Munchkin got his bath tonight, we started chatting.

And it just hit me how much I wanted nothing more than to be there on the couch with them both, just hugging him and reading his tractor book and trying to get him to chew up his strawberries and oranges before he swallows them.  I don’t think it helped that I know that, when I get home tomorrow, he won’t be there because he’ll be having a Nana night, so I have to wait that much longer to see him in person.

But I’ll get through this week and be extra glad to pick him up from daycare on Friday.  And then we’ll get through the next two weeks.  I keep hoping it will get easier, especially since this likely won’t be the last time that I have to be out of town for extended periods of time for work.

So, it’s been a while since I’ve updated.  I’d love to blame that on the fact that, since Thanksgiving, we’ve been rushing around in and out of town almost every weekend, but, honestly?  It’s just been laziness.  We have been incredibly busy this year, however, and our (multiple celebrations of) Christmas helped to wind things down and wrap it all up.

Or unwrap it, if the Munchkin had anything to say about it.  Last year, he couldn’t have cared less about presents and lights and trees.  This year?  That all went out the window.  He loved tearing into the wrapping paper to get to whatever was hiding underneath.  Of course, if what was underneath had the temerity to be clothing, he was done and on to the next one.  We made sure he thanked everyone, but it was hard to keep his attention on cute shirts and jeans when he could be playing with Elmo or his new tricycle.

My two favorite memories of the big day?  Him coming around the corner of the couch to see what Santa brought him and yelling out “Bicycle!”  And then later, throwing himself through his new play tunnel, only to come out the other side to look up at Southern Honey and yell happily, “Hi, Daddy!”  It was just so cute that even thinking about it now makes me grin.

His biggest obsession of the holiday season was something I hadn’t anticipated: He has become absolutely passionate about Christmas lights, which he calls “tree lights.”  Whether they’re on Christmas trees, on houses, on bushes, they’re all “tree lights,” and he adores them.  Even now, almost a month after Christmas Day, he still talks about them as we’re driving to daycare in the morning and home in the evening.  Fortunately, what he understands is amazing, and he now talks about how “tree lights all gone.”

And in terms of what he understands — and what he says — he amazes me constantly.  Last night he was busting out six word sentences in the car on the way home.  He’s my little chatterbox, just going a thousand miles a minute.  He has some favorites he recycles, as though he’s constantly reminding himself of fun things he’s done, but then he comes out with these gems out of nowhere that show me that he understands more than I frequently think he does.  It’s a good reminder not to let any unfortunate four-letter-words slip while he’s around.  😛

Sunday worries

For summer, it’s a fairly mild Sunday outside, although that probably has as much to do with all the rain we’ve gotten lately as anything.  Southern Honey is off to pick up the Munchkin from a night at Nana’s house, and I’m on the couch debating whether or not it’s acceptable to sell one’s child to the circus after he makes one sick for the umpteenth time in the past fifteen months.  I hear that it’s frowned upon.

Despite the rampaging illness scourging the family countryside, the Munchkin is doing pretty well.  Poor little thing has a friend at daycare who loves to bite, so he’s changed rooms.  We’re hoping this will make him happier to get there in the morning, especially since he’s in the same room with one of the little girls he had been seeing pretty much every day for ten months at his old daycare.  It’s been hard, as much of a fuss as he’s been routinely putting up when I drop him off in the mornings — Unless they’re eating breakfast when I get him there.  Then he just settles in to stuff his face and ignores me leaving.  😛 — so I’m hoping seeing a familiar face every day will help him, especially once he realizes he’s not going to be gnawed on regularly.

The only thing I worry about is that it’s too much change too fast.  He really has bounced around a lot in the past two or three months, with changing daycares and then staying with Southern Honey’s mom for a week, and it’s taking him some time to settle back in.  I wonder a lot if we’re doing the right thing for him.  But his daily report sheet from daycare almost always indicates that, once he settled in in the morning, he was happy and playful the rest of the day, so that must count for something.

My apologies for the lack of posting recently.  We’ve been having some absolutely insane weather lately that has led to two weeks of illness, multiple doctor’s visits, and confusion over just what the hell season is it, anyway?  (The answer to that, by the way, appears to be “tornado season.”  😦 )  It has just not been anything remotely approaching an atmosphere amenable to writing decent posts.

The Munchkin is growing by leaps and bounds.  It’s absolutely incredible sometimes when I stop to think about it.  But mostly we’re too busy experimenting with new foods — Cincinnati-style chili, meatloaf, and broccoli are all favorites — and battling the evils of teething and diaper changes.  Oh, and trying to find new ways to keep him out of the cat food.  An improvement over cat poop, but still…

On my part, I’m trying to get myself healthy and comfortable with new habits so I can set a good example.  To further this, I took a day off work to go to the doctor and dentist, where I discovered I had a sinus infection and an abscessed wisdom tooth.  I now have antibiotics, a steroid shot in me, and an appointment with an oral surgeon to see about getting my stupid wisdom teeth out.  *headdesk*  My mother, in the meantime, has the Munchkin for a couple of nights to facilitate my infection recovery.

I’ll be glad when it’s all over so I can concentrate on getting ready for the Munchkin’s birthday party next month.  I can’t believe he’s almost a year old already!

Oh my!

This has been one crazy week in the Southern household.

Sunday and Monday I dedicated to loads of cooking and prep work to have dinners ready to go for the next month.  The Munchkin is all too ready to eat adult food at night (he flat-out refuses baby food most nights), so no more waiting until he goes to bed to cook dinner.  Instead, I gave once-a-month cooking a shot, and, if the interior of my freezer is any indication, this is going to work pretty well.

Unfortunately, I spent so much time focused on busting my butt to get things taken care of that I didn’t take care of myself.  I dehydrated myself to the point of a fever by Monday night.  Although it took me a day and a half to figure out that that was why I felt bad.  *rolls eyes*  So I missed work on Tuesday and most of Wednesday (had to go in to handle some time-sensitive issues).

But, hey, Wednesday night was family night, so we would all be home and have a yummy meatloaf dinner.  Hooray!  Right up until I asked Southern Honey to come into the kitchen to pull the meatloaf out of the oven while I got the rest of the Munchkin’s dinner together.  At which point the Munchkin followed him and managed to burn his fingers grabbing for the inside of the oven door.  Cue what was supposed to be our relaxing family evening at home turning into night at the ER.

Fortunately, it was a very minor burn, but it was on his hand so the on-call ped told us to take him in.  A dose of Ibuprofen, a bottle, a dry diaper, and a nap later, he was entertaining people in the ER by walking around holding onto one of our hands.  (We kept him away from people in general and took him to/from the kid play area; I make that statement based on the number of hellos/smiles/waves he was getting, not the fact that I think he’s a fairly cute kid.)  We were home by 10 with a tube of antibacterial ointment to treat the burns for the next week.

Needless to say, he didn’t really sleep well that night, what with the disruption to his evening and the sock on his hand keeping him from licking off the ointment.  Or last night, due to the above reasons and a runny nose.

Which, I found out when I went to pick him up from day care, may be RSV.  They have three kids out with confirmed cases.  *headdesk*

Needless to say, we go to the doctor on Monday unless he gets worse over the weekend.  It sucks that all these negative things happened this week, because it’s been so much fun to watch him explore feeding himself and discovering new foods: meatloaf, broccoli, tonight’s Cincy-style chili and spaghetti.  We’ll get through it, though, and there are certainly plenty of fun dishes on the menu in the next few weeks for him to enjoy.


That’s what the Munchkin has become: some kind of enormous, mutant baby monster rampaging unsteadily through the house.  I shudder to think how bad it’ll be once he’s walking on his own instead of lurching around grabbing onto everything and shuffling along sideways.  *grins*

The little guy had his 9 month appointment this week.  He clocked in at 28 inches long and 22 very solid pounds.  That’s as much as our friend’s two-year-old weighs.  *facepalm*  Poor thing had some blood taken from his finger and had to pee into a bag so some lab work could be done; hopefully that will all come back clean, especially now that we’ve finally got him healthy (for the time being).

We also get to start weaning him off formula and onto whole milk and real food.  I just felt like it was a step in the right direction that he’s eaten baby foods with meat in them the last two nights.  And some tiny bits of spaghetti, with sauce and without, from my plate and his tray tonight.  We’re going to get there, slowly but surely, which is good, since the price of formula jumped four dollars a can about a month ago, and we had been up to almost two a week.

Now I just guess I’m going to have to get used to cooking for one and a half most nights…


I have to admit to really liking naptime.  It’s my chance to catch a breather on Saturdays when it’s just the Munchkin and me; maybe I grab some food or something to drink or just sit here on the couch and veg out.  (Guess which I’m doing this morning?)

It’s also giving me a chance to recover from fighting with the Munchkin over eating his cereal.  He wanted no part of it this morning, at all.  I’m hoping that he’ll be hungry after he wakes up and will be interested in grabbing a bite instead of grabbing the spoon.  We’ve had some trouble getting him back on track eating since he was sick, and I think some of the his resistance today stems from that — hand, foot, and mouth includes blisters inside the mouth that make it painful to eat, and he had several.

On a lighter note, we just got the online proofs of his pictures from daycare (yeah, don’t even get to wait until school starts to get hit up by THAT pitch anymore), and they’re so adorable!  This one might be my favorite:


I love my teddy bear!

Naked baby time!

Sick?  I wasn't SICK!

On the way to the entertainment center to try standing... again.

In honor of the Munchkin gradually recovering from having hand, foot, and mouth (Coxsackie B virus) this weekend, he got some naked baby time in the living room tonight.

It wasn’t planned.  I just didn’t have the heart to corral him after I got him out of his wet diaper when he took off with a giggle and a squeak.  So I let him go free for a few minutes before managing to squeeze him into a clean diaper and letting the rest of the idea of clothing go.  He spent the next half hour watching “Dancing with the Stars,” rolling around on the floor with an empty box of Grippo’s BBQ chips (OMG, so good!), and cackling like a tiny, tottering loon.