Posts Tagged ‘humor’

  I share a lot of sweetness on this blog, and I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. This is not a magical house where no one ever yells or makes mistakes. Case in point: the story of the last few days. 

Two days ago, the Boo was in a state of what I can only call emotional overdrive. Every answer that was not to his liking brought tears, hitting, throwing or screaming (thankfully not all at the same time). The high point, drama-wise, was when he hurled a cereal bar across the room because I said “You’ve had a lot of treats today, so that’s not one of the choices right now.”

He ended up losing his cartoon privileges, which made him very sad. I know this because he said, over and over and over, “I’m sad I lost my cartoons, Mama.” And cried. Quite a bit. Initially I comforted him tenderly, but by the 17th time I was mumbling, “Mm-hm.” because as far as I could tell, he just needed to hear himself say it.

Yesterday, pre-nap time was the minefield. He didn’t want to even try to take off his shoes or hang up his jacket, because “I don’t have enough energy, Mama.” When I asked him to try and said I would help him if he needed help, he dissolved in tears. After a while, I said, out loud, “You know what, it isn’t worth it,” and took off his shoes and socks and hung up his jacket. 

But that’s not where the fun ended, oh no. 

On our way upstairs, he asked me a series of questions about the furnace, because that’s his wheelhouse. Questions about mechanical stuff. Sometimes he doesn’t even wait for the answer before he asks another question. He asked a fairly technical question about the humidifier and instead of making up an answer, which is what I do half the time because I get tired of saying “I don’t know,” I was honest and said “I don’t know.”

He screamed at me. Seriously. I turned and looked at him with my right eyebrow raised as far as it would go. I managed to ratchet the eyebrow a bit higher. I turned away and walked into the kitchen. I thought for a moment and said, “I know you’re frustrated but it is never okay to scream at me. If you choose to scream at me again I will not read you any books at nap time.”

He did not scream at me again. Probably because he really loves books. 

He did, however, cry repeatedly about every tiny thing he was unhappy about while I was trying to brush his teeth. Not enough toothpaste. The wrong toothpaste. Me asking him to stop jumping while I brushed his teeth. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and started mock-crying with him. “My fingers are too short, boo-hoo! Waaaaah, my nose itches! Waah, I don’t like that rug!”

Thankfully, my strategy did not backfire. I got him to laugh-cry, and the rest of the day was relatively drama-free. 

Maybe I should have put on a show sooner…

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We recently took the Boo on a weeklong road trip to see family in Michigan. I’d been apprehensive about long stretches of car time with a 3.5-year-old, but for the most part he was a fantastic traveler. Here are the highlights:

You requested this song so many times Mama and Daddy got sick of it.

You slept in three houses and one cabin in the space of a week. You slept the best in the cabin — a few miles from Lake Huron, no water, no electricity. You slept the worst the final night, when you were sick and overtired and had just met three of Mama’s coolest cousins. 

You attended a party with too many family members to list here. You jumped right in to play with kids who were many years older than you, and enjoyed playing with a giant Jenga set. 

You were introduced to a Magic Eight-Ball. You kept asking it if you needed to pee.

You visited the Henry Ford Museum, where your favorite things were sitting in the driver’s seat of a giant steam locomotive and watching the toy trains go around and around their track. You were so tired from fighting a cold that Daddy had to carry you most of the time, but even so, you didn’t want to leave. 

You held the youngest member of the family, briefly, with a fair amount of help. 

You met roughly seven dogs, and after some angst you decided they were all okay. 

You chowed down on homemade puris — the only new food you tried on the trip. 

You were carried into a chicken coop to take a freshly laid egg from a nest,  and we brought it home safely. The next morning, we cracked it open and compared it to a store-bought egg. You declined to taste it when Mama cooked it up for you. 

You ran free in front yards, back yards, in and out of back doors, and down country roads. 

You loved playing with the sand at the tiny beach at the cabin. You also liked watching Daddy skip rocks. 

You enjoyed a meal at the Black Lake Golf Club, where you dined on corn chips and fries. 

You enjoyed peeing outside at the cabin, and you got really good at it. 

You helped Daddy wash the bugs off the car the day after we got home. 

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  I’ve always yearned to be an advice columnist.  I’m not sure how well it would work out. 


Dear Mama Dean,

I want to stop yelling at my kids. It makes me feel terrible. What can I do?


Guilty in Gloucester

Dear Guilty,

Keep your mouth shut. 


Dear Mama Dean,

My kids eat so much junk food, but I don’t know how to stop them. I know it’s not good for them, but they beg for it all the time.


Flustered in Fargo

Dear Flustered,

Stop giving it to them.


Dear Mama Dean,

Sometimes I feel an overwhelming sense of despair at the end of the day. It doesn’t make sense because all I do is hang out with three adorable kids, but I’d really like to improve my mood. Help!


Blue in Boise

Dear Blue,

Pick one: wine, pedicure or yoga. If you’re really in a pinch, pretend you’re on Valium.


Dear Mama Dean,

Hi, it’s Guilty in Gloucester again. Keep my mouth shut!? How am I supposed to do that?! 

Dear Guilty,

My advice is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to follow. If you need to, you can put your hand over your mouth at first. I would stay away from duct tape, though. Very tough to remove. 


Dear Mama Dean,

My sweet child occasionally turns into a demon, usually right around 5 in the afternoon. How can I handle her without losing my mind?


Challenged in Chicago

Dear Challenged,

This sounds like a job for cartoons. 


Dear Mama Dean,

Hello, it’s Blue in Boise again. I’ve never had Valium; can you tell me what it’s like so I can try pretending that I took some?

Dear Blue,

It’s hard to describe, so the best thing I can tell you is to ask your mom friends if they can spare one.  Trust me, someone has a stash. Ask your calmest friend first. 


Dear Mama Dean,

I love taking my kid to the playground, but sometimes the other moms just complain nonstop. How can I get them to stop?


Fed Up in Fayetteville 


Dear Fed Up,

It’s called sisterhood. Look into it. One day you’ll want to enjoy its benefits. 


Dear Mama Dean,

My child asked for green beans and then screamed at me when I gave them to him. Should I take him to the doctor?


Worried in Wichita


Dear Worried,

Let me guess — your child is three. Go Google “three is the new two.” Then go buy a case of your favorite wine. You’re going to need it. 

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Wherein we answer your burning questions about the secret lives of SAHMs, and dispense advice — but only if someone asks for it.

Dear SAHM, 

Why are you people so crazy about pedicures?


Muddled in Memphis

>Dear Muddled,

It’s not about the feet so much as the opportunity to sit still for 20 minutes and read things like this:

Dear SAHM, 

Is it true that you fantasize about cleaning the toilet by yourself? That just seems weird. 


Stumped in Seattle

>Dear Stumped,

It seems weird to us too, but yes, we yearn to clean the house without “help.” It would take half the time, and with the brain space free from supervising the child, we could fantasize about other things — like inventive ways to cut grocery bills. Not really. Nobody fantasizes about saving money. That would be super weird. Ahem. 


Dear SAHM,

I saw a woman doing a crazy dance in front of a giant display of Goldfish crackers. Was this a SAHM? Is this some kind of secret ritual?


Amazed in Albuquerque

>Dear Amazed,

That may or may have not been a SAHM, but I can tell you for sure that those Goldfish were on sale. Sounds like a really good sale, too. Where was this?


Dear SAHM,

I overheard some ladies debating which is the worst: Caillou, Thomas or Dora. Can you shed some light on this?


Freaked out in Fargo

>Dear Freaked Out,

Sure: Caillou is by far the most evil children’s cartoon character ever invented. 


Dear SAHM,

How are Stay-at-Home moms different from working moms?

Curious in Chicago

>Dear Curious,

We don’t go to an office, factory, or other work environment. In fact, we never leave our workplace, even to sleep. We have no official lunch break and no days off, even when we’re sick. Hm, maybe we should unionize…


Dear SAHM,

What’s the best part of staying at home with your kids?

Waiting in Walla-Walla

>Dear Waiting,

Depends on the SAHM. Could be post-nap snuggles, unlimited access to baby feet, or the ability to wear pajama pants all damn day.

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Mama, I’m peeing in my diaper!

Are you? That’s very interesting, thanks for sharing that with me. 
Mama, I’m scared. 

I promise you won’t fall in. 

Don’t look at the poop! It’s a private poop. 

Okay, I won’t look at it. 

Mama, I peed on the potty and now I want a gummy bear. 

Wash your hands first. 

I want to poop in a diaper! I want to poop in a diaper! I want to poop in a diaper!

No, honey, you’re a big boy now. 

Are you so proud of me, Mama?

I’m so proud of my big boy!

I don’t want pants! I don’t need pants!

We put on pants when company is coming, honey. 

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Blast From the Past


Did you know that “February” can be translated as “couch, cookies and cocoa”? Or so I’ve been told.

Here, then, is a post from a year ago, about something I’m still doing: Using a timer to trick the Boo into doing what I want him to do. Although now he asks for additional timers to be set…

There are so many long stretches of parenting a small child that are absolutely mind-numbing in their repetitiveness that when you occasionally come up with a genius childrearing idea on the fly, it’s both a shock and cause for celebration.

I had one of those moments a few months ago when I asked the Boo to take me upstairs instead of telling him we had to go up. I have no idea why I did it, but the appeal to his budding independence was instant and dramatic — he seized my finger and practically dragged me up behind him. A couple of weeks ago, though, I came up with an even better trick, though once again I couldn’t tell you where the idea came from.

The Boo was being particularly disinclined to be happy about delaying his desires, which is to say, it was close to nap time on yet another butt-cold day in February and I needed to do a few more things before I could grant his wish to help him play at the sink. I pulled out my phone and opened the clock app.

“I tell you what. I’ll set the timer. When you hear the bells, it’s time for water play.”

He looked a little unsure about this timer thing, but he was pleased that I let him push the start button. Then I made a huge deal about the bells ringing and let him push the cancel button. Then I set it again to signal the end of water play, because he will seriously spend as much time as we let him “washing” dishes.

So now, instead of whining at me (my least favorite thing about my kid) when he needs to wait or stop doing something he likes, he submits to the will of the phone. Because, see, the command is coming from the phone — the provider of videos and games and general fun — not from me. And he doesn’t have it in him to whine at the phone.


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I know, it’s Hanukah and Christmas and I should be writing about that, or how weird it is that the Boo has absorbed a bunch of Santa lore by osmosis. But while I bake and wrap and pack and ship, Merry Merry HO HO is not what bubbles up when I think about what I want to write about.

About a month ago, the hubs suggested I take a night class at a local university, to get some time for myself. I was so touched, I almost teared up. I considered it, but between the cost and my lack of time to study, I opted to get an extra swimming session in.

Last weekend, we moved an old compact stereo to the Boo’s room so he can muck with it and yell into the Karaoke mike to his little heart’s content. The hubs went to fetch a few CDs, and then I heard it. Mannheim Steamroller Christmas. Or maybe Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Either way: Oh God no please make it stop. I’m not even sure the hubs knew how much I detest that “music” but he probably has a clue now since I made sure he saw one of my 88 eyerolls.

But. He loves it. He was dancing to it. And, because Daddy is Cool, the Boo was dancing too. Having a fabulous time with his adored Daddy. So I did the kindest thing I could think of to do. I walked away.

Last week, as I was gathering the 888 things the Boo needed for an overnight at his Grammie’s while mentally scrambling to put together a date night outfit, he came to find me. He was beaming, seriously, grinning and so, so very proud. And smeared with an impressive amount of Aquaphor (basically Vaseline) from his nipples to the top of his diaper. His shirt and pants had gotten in the way, so they were also, um, very well moisturized.

I gasped, a little confused, and then it hit me: I had put some of the stuff on his belly to soothe the rug burn he’d given himself sliding down the stairs. He was proud because he’d taken care of himself. He was happy because he’d done it all by himself. All of those thoughts flew through my head, and then I started laughing, because it really was very funny.

Friends, you can keep your menfolk who bring you flowers for no reason. I’ll keep mine, and let my heart fill with love whenever I get to swim laps on a weeknight. And I will show my love by leaving the room when a good Daddy-son session is centered on music I can’t stand. And if the Boo ever anoints himself again, I’ll do my best to react with love — toward myself, for being silly enough to leave the Aquaphor where he can get to it.

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The Boo was up from 3:30 to 5:30 this morning. Here are some of the “reasons” why.

There was a noise. (Plausible.)
He wanted to cuddle with Mama. (Aw… But maybe not the best idea given the next one.)
He wanted to try sleeping in Mama’s bed. (Um, no. Mama needs to sleep.)
His tummy was not feeling well. (Plausible again given the cold he’s getting over. I kissed it, which made it better.)
He bumped his head. (On the toy plane he insists on taking to bed.)
He bumped his toe. (On the toy plane I moved to the floor.)
He cried, and then asked why he cried, and then stopped crying and asked why he wasn’t crying. (I just…)
He asked what would happen if he got out of bed again. (I had no words at this point.)

In the end, I rocked him in the glider where I used to nurse him. It still took two more tries to get him sleeping. The last time I was in the room, he announced the funniest issue by far:

There was a problem with the blanket. (Yeah, you kicked it off and you’re too out of your mind with exhaustion to put it back on yourself.)

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Even if you don’t actually sit down to watch kiddie shows with your kid, you will be within earshot of a considerable amount of treacly kiddietainment. After six long months of exposure, I’ve come up with the best way to cope with the despair that inevitably arises on hearing the Ice Skating episode of Caillou for the umpteenth time: Figure out what drugs the main characters are on.

Taking Caillou as an example, the mom is clearly on Valium. No other way she could remain that cheery throughout days of thoughtfully disciplining her four-year-old while wrangling a toddler. Dad is tripping — how else to explain his ability to flip between Zen and zaniness?

Over on the island of Sodor, Thomas and his friends are partaking of something that makes them simpleminded in the extreme. I’m going with weed. And Sir Topham Hatt? Clearly a raving drunk — why else would he talk to steam engines — and believe that they talk back to him?

And finally, Super Why. Collective hallucinations among friends who believe themselves to have super powers, including the ability to enter books and talk to the main characters they find therein. Three words: group Peyote trip.

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“If you get scared, you can come sleep with Mama.” (Important note: The Boo’s pronouns are still reversed. This is him telling himself he can come sleep with me whenever the fickle toddler spirit moves him.)

It was the night after I’d allowed the Boo to crawl into bed with me at 4 in the morning because he was sick and I just didn’t feel like getting up to tuck him back in. Now he was overtired, weepy and anxious, and I was regretting my slothful decision. I didn’t want to deny him the choice to come find me when he’s scared, but neither did I want him developing a musical beds habit. I knew it was time for a sales job.

Nobody talks about that when you have a baby, but they should. You are going to need to be a damn good salesperson at least some of the time, because saying “no” gets old — and tends to infuriate tired toddlers.

“Well,” I said above the crying, “Let’s go cuddle in your chair and talk about it.” I got him as close to horizontal as he could get in my lap in the glider we’ve almost outgrown. He was still crying as I began talking about how nice and cozy his room was and how much I like it.

“You have your elephant lamp up here, and your hot air balloons, and your airplanes. You have all your animal friends in your bed, and green dot blanket, and you have your ladybug. They’re all so nice. Your room is such a cozy place for a little boy to sleep.”

He calmed down enough that I felt he could handle being put back to bed. I had to sing him almost all the way to sleep, but he did fall asleep in his own bed. Maybe it was the last thing I told him that did the trick.

“Also, Mama snores. Really loud. You wouldn’t be able to rest at all.”

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