Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ages and Stages and Words With Kids

Ages and Stages and Words with Kids ~
As of this Thursday I will no longer have two toddlers. I can officially up the ranks to one toddler and one preschooler in our household. This means a whole new level of fun. This also means I really need to step up my game.

Over years and years of working with kids I've learned to never ask a child anything in question form. If you do, you're most likely setting yourself up for that favorite word . . . "NO"! I'll admit, I must be some sort of slacker when it comes to practicing what I preach. I hear that word a lot. Even if I ask something like "Do you want to go to the park?" I'll often get a big, fat "NO". Making a statement like "Come on, lets go to the park!", usually has a better effect. I've also learned that giving kids choices ends up with better results as well. "Do you want to wear this outfit or this outfit?" I'll usually get my way with the clothes, but at times an extra accessory might be thrown in the mix. For example: A summer sundress with a winter hat. You know what, you want to wear a winter hat in 95 degree weather . . . fine. Some choices have consequences though, and I usually get my way as soon as the first drop of sweat rolls down her face. Remember picking your battles is key. Plus we have AC, or as my oldest calls it . . . ABC. If we were heading out somewhere I may be inclined to actually take a stab at that battle.
Three ~ Ages and Stages ~

Now that I have a (almost) three year old running around the house, I have to be very cautious when it comes to wording my statements as well. This past Sunday we celebrated her birthday with a family party. The night before I had taken her to a party shop to pick out some balloons. I said to her on the car ride over that she could pick out any balloon that she wanted. She was very excited. She ran right over to the balloon section and within seconds had two favorites. . . The first was a large, black balloon that read "Over The Hill".  The second was a big pink playboy bunny. My thoughts: Crap. I told her she could pick out ANYTHING. Whoops. Now I'm not one to go back on my word, however, my first thought was . . . your party is at our house, not Hugh Heffner's mansion. My second thought was . . . my plan is to throw a party geared more towards turning three, not three going on senior citizen. Thankfully, I was able to direct her attention to a large number three and a big yellow smiley face wearing a party hat. It only took about 15 minutes to convince her that those were just as good. I was lucky.

I've also been saying things to her like "You're so big! I can't believe you're turning three!" Well that came back to haunt me too. This was one of our recent breakfast conversations . . .
Lanie: "Mommy, I don't want to watch Arthur. I want Bouchard." 
Me: "What is Bouchard?" 
Lanie: *rolls eyes* "Channel 7 Pete guy who tells me if its a pool day."  
(Pete Bouchard is a local weather reporter that she has caught on the morning news a few times.)
Me: "Well, news is for big people. I think Arthur is a better choice." 
Lanie: "I'm almost three. Bouchard is fine." 
I'll bet if I looked up "age three" in The Parent Handbook it would read as follows:
Winking Smiley Face ~ Ages and Stages ~
Welcome to 36 months! The age that talking back is the norm, and they are too smart for their own good. You thought "NO" was bad. Good luck! ;-)

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Changing With The Times

The days are long, but the years are short. ~
I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. Especially with my oldest turning 3 at the end of this month. It started with . . . what should I get her for her birthday? What did I like when I was 3? Then it dawned on me that I really don't remember much of anything about being 3. I remember getting a baby sister when I was 3. I remember my mother leaving me to go to the hospital to have her, but that's pretty much all I remember. This got me thinking even more. More to the times when I was a bit older and all of the fond memories that I had as a kid. It was a time when life was a lot easier. Everyone seemed to live more care free. 

Licking the beaters ~
You wanna lick the chocolate off the beaters while we make brownies? Sure thing! Now it's more like . . . AHHHHH don't touch that! It has raw egg on it.


Oh, you're thirsty? Well look at that you're in luck! There's a hose right there! Now it's like . . . AHHHHH don't drink the pool water! You'll probably get some sort of bacterial infection, or a flesh eating virus if you drink that!

Michael Jackson Off the Wall ~
I don't remember car seats, even though I'm pretty sure I had one. I remember riding in the way back of my parents old Suburban and bouncing around with the groceries. I remember riding in the back of pick-up trucks. I remember being on my fathers shoulders while he water skied. These are things that my kids will never experience. They won't know that at one point in time Michael Jackson was super cool. Actually, they'll probably never know who Michael Jackson was. They'll never know the feeling of getting shot in the back with a cap disk gun while playing "Cops and Robbers". I'm not saying that's a bad thing . . . I'm just sayin'.  They'll never know the awful feeling of sliding over a rock while using a slip and slide. (Unless they go to someone else's house. We really don't have the yard for one.) They'll never know the feeling of being so young and free. The feeling of leaving your house first thing in the morning and not coming back till you were hungry, or when the street lights came on. 

Brigham's Raspberry Lime Rickey ~
My mom was one of the lucky ones, she knew she could bank on me being home by 5:30 on the dot. Just in time to watch The Brady Bunch. Parents were so laid back then. They'd be quick to hand over their spare change so you could ride your bike (without a helmet) to the corner store to get a Richie's Slush, or a Raspberry Lime Rickey from the local ice cream shop. Moms didn't seem to worry too much. I think the biggest concern back then was who shot the iconic villainous oilman, better known as J.R. Ewing in the hit series Dallas.

I broke bones and don't remember a time that I didn't have skinned knees. I lived life to the fullest. I think it's safe to say times have changed. For the better?  I don't know . . . you can be your own judge of that.

Parents tend to freak out more when their child gets hurt. I've observed so many parents at the playground not even giving their kids space to play because they're so fearful of injury. Loosen up . . . that's what playgrounds are for. Kids jump, climb and run . . . let them. Kids get hurt too . . . it's part of life.

Super Mario Brothers ~
I worry about the fact that I let my kids play educational games on the iPad for a maximum of an hour a day. Then I look back to the endless times that I played Mario Brothers all day if it was raining outside. I turned out fine.

I worry about my kids eating habits. Are they getting enough vegetables? Probably not, but they are always offered to them. Just like us, kids will eat when they are hungry. I can't  force broccoli in their mouths. (Despite my airplane like attempts, I gave up on stressing about that.) And yes, we are still on a big grilled cheese kick. I think it's been 437 consecutive days that I've been making them, but you know what? They are eating.

My biggest pet peeve about parents these days is not letting their kids explore and get dirty. I am a borderline OCD, clean freak with 2 small children. My house gets messy and I deal. My kids get dirty and I deal. We paint, we make mud pies, and we fill up buckets of water with bubbles to give their dolls baths . . . we have fun. Though they wont have the same fond memories that I had as a kid I want them to have good ones.

When we started up The Quirky Confessions website and I started blogging, an old boss of mine emailed me. She gave me some good advice about my somewhat new role in life as a stay at home mom. She said, "The days are long, but the years are short. Enjoy it." Those are words to live by.  

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Happy Father's Day! . . . and yes, there is a Quirky Dad

This Sunday is Father's Day so,
I thought it was about time to add
The Quirky Dad to the picture.

Happy Father's Day!
to all the amazing, and somewhat
quirky, dads out there!

Happy Father's Day ~

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Trash Talking Toddlers

Ok, so kids are like sponges . . . I get it. I've learned that even at a very young age things soak into their tiny brains when you least expect it. I may have said a handful of choice words (by accident) around my oldest when she was young . . . very young. I quickly learned that I needed to clean up my trash talking ways. I could no longer say things like "Sh!t" if I
Trash Talking Toddlers ~
dropped something. (Even though, I thought at the time, she was too young to understand.) By saying this I may come off as a very clumsy person who drops things all the time, I'm not . . . "Sh!t" was one of her first words though, right after "Dada" and "Mama". Now, before you think that I'm an awful parent, she had a whole list of other choice words that she had picked up on her own. "Cock" was Clock. I'm not sure what "sh!t" was in reference to, but she said it all the time, and the mother of bad words was "Fa-Q" for Thank You. I'll never forget the time I was out on the back deck filling up her pool with water and she was at the screen door yelling "FA-Q MOMMY!  FA-Q!" over and over again. She had just turned two, and I got some very surprised looks from my next door neighbor as he glared over. That being said, it's pretty clear that it was just a pronunciation thing, and over time, with lots of reminders it was resolved. "Sh!t" however, stuck for a long time.

Now we all know that kids will often seek attention. Whether it's positive or negative they'll feed off of it, so sometimes the best thing to do is to not give into it and ignore it. Ok, fine . . . I'm not going to acknowledge the fact that she's saying "Sh!t" on a regular basis. Honestly, I was kind of obsessing about it.  I'd text message my husband and say things like "She said that bad word like 7 times today!" I vividly recall a time she was in the bathtub sticking her foam letters and numbers to the shower wall and right before my eyes she spelled it out . . . the number 5 backwards H-I-T.  I thought to myself OH.MY.GOD. She's not only saying it, but she's spelling it too! I'm pretty sure it was just a fluke thing and I was reading into it way too much. I wasn't sure if I wanted to laugh or cry.  I mean it was funny, kind of . . . but, I had a huge fear of my kid eventually going to school and being responsible for teaching all the other kids in her class bad words. I didn't want to have that conversation with my child's future school principal you know, telling me that I'm the reason my daughter's entire class swears like mini truck drivers. That word had been erased from my vocabulary completely. After about six months of me ignoring it and not obsessing about it (in front of her), it went away.

UNTIL . . .

We live in the wooded hills of a state park. We often see all kinds of wildlife. Birds, squirrels, chipmunks, wild turkeys, foxes, woodchucks, rabbits, and kangaroos. (Better known as deer, but don't tell my kids that . . . they are kangaroos no matter how many times you say they're deer.) Lanie and I were pulling Charlotte along in the wagon and we were all enjoying the nice day. We were pointing out all the flowers and soaking in the sunshine and fresh air. Lanie starts yelling "Oh Look, Mommy! Look! A Marsupial!" While I'm thinking she had one upped me with her kangaroo talk, I'm expecting to look in the direction she's pointing towards and see a deer.  No, that was not the case. I responded with - "OH SHIT! That's not a marsupial. That's a coyote!" She replied with - "OH SHIT! You're right! That is a coyote!" Charlotte replied with "Moooo Moooo". The upside to this was that we were not the mother and two kids that appeared on the nightly news because we had been mauled by a wild animal. We quickly turned around and went home. During the short walk back my oldest repeated the phrase "OH SHIT, did you see that?", several times. I told her once it was a bad word. The rest of the time I just ignored it.  

I have 2 years until she attends kindergarten. I'm hoping I can resolve this problem by then. If not, consider this my sincere apology to anyone in our school district. I solemnly swear not to swear like a sailor ever again. (Unless I see another coyote)

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Day That Cookie Monster Went Down

The Victim

The Day that Cookie Monster Went Down ~
Count N' Crunch Cookie Monster

Cookie Monster loves to munch on the 3 cookies that he came with, along with other various household items. Pretty much anything that can fit in his mouth.

The Cause
Cookie Monster ate The Gem ~
The Gem

The Gem is a costume jewel that my father gave to my kids as a "prize". It was included in a small treasure chest filled with fake gold coins. Every time he sees them he wants to give them "prizes", as he calls them. My house is filled with these miscellaneous "prizes" and stuffed animals from him that they love. Put it this way . . . my kids are 19 months and just shy of 3,  if I keep all these "prizes", by the time they are 4 and 5, I'll easily look like a hoarder. Anyway, The Gem is a favorite. It's a pocket sized, choking hazard that causes me to turn into Nazi Mom when it's in use. (Probably the reason they like it more). I'm constantly telling them not to put the gem in their mouths. Luckily neither one of them are very oral kids, or they wouldn't have it at all.

When my kids woke up this morning I could tell it was going to be one of those days. The morning rain and lack of naps lately was taking it's toll. We bounced from one activity to another in attempts to keep them busy and happy. From play-doh to coloring books to water color paints, to Cookie Monster and The Gem. My youngest got out all of her dancing/musical animals including Cookie Monster. After shoving the 3 cookies in his face my kids proceeded to find other things that would fit in his mouth. They found various foods from their kitchen set, attempted a plastic spoon, and some peeled off crayon wrappers that they apparently picked off and hid under the couch during the coloring activity. As my oldest was attempting to spoon feed Cookie the shredded, purple crayon coverings, The Gem slipped from her fist and into his mouth. As Cookie was yelling out "There must be some cookies in my backpack!" Lanie was yelling out, "You give me back my gem! NOOWWWW!" It was stuck. Before I could get over there to help retrieve her prized possession, she threw the Cookie Monster across the room, ran over and started stomping on it. 

She is not an aggressive kid by any means, and we've gone down the whole no kicking, pinching, hitting, hurting, throwing road before. She knows that stuff like that is not okay. Let's be honest though, toddlers are fickle. They can turn from the sweetest little people into tiny tornadoes at the drop of a hat. This was a definite tornado moment . . . I understand that The Gem was at stake, but whoa. My youngest was laughing hysterically and cheering her on. 

As Lanie is basically beating the crap out of Cookie Monster, I run over and take it away. I tell her "I don't like that behavior at all, all you need to do is ask for help and I'll help you. Use your words!" We'll now the sh!t really hits the fan, because during the Cookie Monster beat down, the gem gets stuck in his mechanical face. I now tell her that she can't play with Cookie Monster or The Gem, cause he ate it.  Her response: "I'm sorry, Mommy. I'm sorry to you too, Cookie Monster. I really hope you poop out that gem soon." I spent most of rest time retrieving the gem from Cookie's mouth with a screw driver. I hid it in a cabinet for safe keeping, and maybe I'll bring it out some other rainy day. 

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Heat Is On, Woooo Hoooo!

The Heat is On, Wooo Hooo! ~
This past week we have experienced a pre-summer heat wave and I have to be honest, I love it. Just give me a beach chair, my gated off deck, and a kiddie pool and my kids and I are good to go. I live for Summer and anything that keeps my kids occupied for more than 10 minutes. Wait . . . I take that back . . . not anything.

Tuesday it rained. My kids found the musical instruments that I hid and sat on the couch for three hours straight playing harmonicas. I posted a picture of them tooting away on my facebook page titled: 

"FREE! (for the day) They'll bring you hours of entertainment! (Trust me I know.)"  

That photo got lots of "likes", but unfortunately I had no takers. The only thing that dragged them away from their dueling harmonica battle was when the laundry cycle finished. 

My crappy dryer broke, and while waiting for a part to be replaced I've had to air dry everything. Call me crazy, but this just seems like a better alternative than packing up my kids and all of our wet clothes and going to a laundromat. Just the thought of that seems more torturous than harmonicas. Four people tend to accumulate lots of laundry. Especially when two of the four will often paint themselves with yogurt rather than eat it. I'm not really sure why we keep giving it to them . . . oh right, 'cause it's healthy, and my kids constantly ask for it (probably because it's fun to paint with) and we are the suckers who keep buying it.

Anyway, as I'm trying to find places to hang and drape all the wet clothes I hear my oldest yell "SPIN CYCLE!" She had captured the cat and wanted to give him a "bath". This is not the first time this has happened, and luckily he escaped the washing machine. Sadly, his luck ran out later in the week. I had set up a bath for my kids and Lanie placed him in the bathtub right before my eyes. This was not a first for him, and the twisted thing is that he actually seems to like baths. This strikes me as odd, but maybe he's just use to it.  

The Heat is On! The Quirky Kids Pool Time ~
After dealing with harmonicas and cat baths, I was excited when the hot weather hit mid week. I dug the kiddie pool out of my garage as my kids cheered me on. This was a total rock star moment, and from that point on I knew I was totally owning the day. That has been my salvation for the rest of the week. They don't get bored of it, plus it gives the cat a bit of a break since he stays indoors.

Pool Time for The Quirky Kids ~ TheQuirkyConfessions.comI had filled it with water bright and early one morning. As I was changing Charlotte into her bathing suit, Lanie ran over to the back door and opened it. Before I could yell for her to wait a minute she jumped in . . . pajamas and all. I didn't even care. I love summer.

Just for the record (actually, keep it out of the record books), I'm the A-hole who popped the pool by accident this afternoon when I hit it with the corner of the backdoor. First thing on tomorrow's agenda - shopping for a new kiddie pool.

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