Mountain View Mommy: Sand, Trucks and Testosterone

September 26, 2007

What??

Filed under: Stories — by mvmommy @ 7:47 pm

In June we started potty training. For about a month, it was all-consuming. I could think of nothing else, because pee & poop were in my face anytime I turned around.

It’s only 3 months later and it seems like a lifetime ago. I don’t even worry about the potty anymore. It’s no longer MY problem, it’s Andrew’s problem. He goes when he needs to, and he doesn’t when he doesn’t. If I ask him, I know he will tell me honestly & that is that.

So it’s funny that tonight Andrew is in bed, supposed to be sleeping, but making up potty songs instead.

He is singing about “I need to go potty. I want to go with Mommy. Mommy and the potty.”

After a few more verses, he wraps it up & says to his audience  (who is Justin in the other crib trying to sleep) “now here is another potty song”

He then launches into “NEED TO GO POTTY… POTTY… NEED TO GO POTTY.”

I can hear him upstairs going on & ON.

Justin finally responds, “GO POTTY ANDREW!”   I can just imagine him laying there with the pacifier in his mouth, glaring through the bars of his crib at his big brother, and then rolling over to try to sleep.

I have to agree with Justin.  I want to go up there myself and say “Andrew, just go potty. You already know how.  Stop keeping Justin awake, and walk to the bathroom already!”

OR, instead, I can continue to sit here…  listening to him through the monitor.  I am thoroughly enjoying his singing and it’s keeping me entertained.   I wonder when they won’t let me listen to them on the monitor anymore?  I think I will be sad when that day comes.  Oh what lovely things I would miss!  Like this segue into penis talk. Yup we’ve moved from potty, to the size of his penis.  I distinctly heard him talking to Justin about his size.   Where in God’s name does he come up with this stuff?   Definitely I don’t want a monitor when he hits puberty.

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September 25, 2007

Home Safe & Sound

Filed under: Stories — by mvmommy @ 1:59 pm

Today it was a ‘Justin & I’ morning.  Andrew was dropped off at preschool, and I spent time with my little one by himself.  We flitted from task to task every 5 minutes, because that is what a two year old does.   Justin excels at flitting.

After being inside, we decide to go digging outside.   So we trudged out to our digging spots & got started.  He was in the sand.  I was in the dirt.   After 5 minutes of hard work he decided to flit somewhere else.  He said he was ‘a little hungry’ and so headed inside.  I said, I would follow him in a second when I put my digging tools away.

When I turned around, my very thorough young man had put his tools down, walked inside, closed the screen door, and subsequently closed & LOCKED the glass sliding door.  Leaving me outside & him inside.

I wasn’t sure what to do.   I didn’t want to make this a game where he would keep me outside.  However, I didn’t want to be stern with him, upsetting him so that he got scared and ‘couldn’t’ open the door.

My back-up key is locked safely in the garage.  No help there.

Nathan is out of town.  No help there.

My cell phone is sitting on the coffee table & he’s playing with it, as I look at him through the window.   Hopefully he is calling for help?  Nope?  Okay back to business.

“Justin, come over to the door honey.”

He comes over, smiles at me.

“Open the door for mommy okay? ”

He looks at the phone and says “phone’s not working.”

“Yes, I know.  I can fix the phone if you let me in.”

He pauses.  Looks at the phone.  Looks at me.   Thinks about it.

Whew…. he’s unlocking the door.

I am in!  Crisis averted.

Now let’s go move that spare key somewhere useful – like under the door mate where anyone can steal it and break into our house.  That should be safe.

September 22, 2007

Differences

Filed under: Nathan — by mvmommy @ 9:16 pm

There are some obvious differences between my husband & I. He is a man. I am a woman. Obviously.

Many of those who know us, think we are two peas in a pod. Both Type A to a fault, and so highly organized that it would make your head spin.

However, in parenting … we are different. The contrasts are neither bad nor good. Just different.

In the last 15 minutes I have marvelled at our dissimilarity and had to laugh.

We were sitting at dinner and there was mention of a ‘surprise’. The word, ‘surprise’ in our house means dessert. So it was explained, that if they ate their beans, we were going to have dessert. The kids decided that tonight, dessert would be homemade chocolate chip cookies…. but we didn’t have any flour to make it. So I volunteered to go to the store quickly, if Nathan would keep the boys distracted by mowing the grass (which they love to do & crossed off one of the to-do on my list).

I came back in 5-10 minutes… and literally the kids were locked in the pantry. They were in there with the door closed and cans/bottles banging. I just looked at my husband and laughed. This is what happens when I am gone. The grass gets mowed, as asked, but the kids run crazy.

In accordance with the definition of ‘mayhem’, they destroyed the pantry. Everything was everywhere. When I am home with them, they aren’t even allowed in there. But when Dad’s home… all bets are off.

At this point, I mentioned to my husband that it is sort of ironic (or as Joel would put it… it sucks) that when Nathan is expected home, I clean up as much as possible so that he can walk into a clean home and relax. But when I am expected home, who cares about the mess… let’s make the biggest mess possible if it’s fun & safe.

I can’t be mad. It is actually great. The kids love the freedom & they love being with dad. He is super fun, and they are in great hands. It’s just so different from my mode of operation.

Another obvious difference in the past 15 minutes is our levels of patience. I have to spread my patience over 12 hours. I dole it out as necessary. Nathan only has to be patient for 2 hours – between 6:00 – 8:00. This makes his perspective a whole lot better than mine. I just watched him bake cookies with my kids for the past 30 minutes; he calmly and easily dealt with the kids and the tornado of flour that was in our kitchen.

Somehow the mounds of salt being poured all over didn’t bother him. He didn’t care that no one was listening & everyone was grabbing for all the dangerous objects all at once. Somehow he was able to cook the cookies quickly & assign ‘busy’ tasks to each kid so that they were involved but not in the way. It was fun.

I was impressed at his skills, especially since I had tried making pancakes with the kids two days prior (a task he usually does with them). I was frazzled and frustrated trying to keep hands away from blenders, and too much food off the floor. By the end, the kids had fun… but I am not sure I did. And it definitely didn’t go like it does with dad… smoothly and without the word ‘no’ used about 100 times.

So differences are good.

However, how do I find a way to maximize our differences and minimize the mess? I did appreciate the homemade cookies (obviously since I ate about 5) … but I didn’t like being called in as the clean-up girl for the pound of flour on the floor.

I guess you win some, you lose some. Now I will go back to my cookies and spending time with my fantastic husband/father.

September 21, 2007

Funny things overheard recently…

Filed under: Stories — by mvmommy @ 1:27 pm

Lately, the kids have been comedians. Of course this is not intentional, they think that everything they say is completely normal. However, to Nathan & I, we are constantly amused.  As one of my other blogging friend’s recently said, having two small children is like being on your very own sitcom.  I totally agree. Instead of it being called ‘Friends’… it would be called ‘Family’.

A few examples:

A few nights ago I was drinking my beer. Nathan told me to hurry up. Andrew said “Chug it mom. CHUG IT! DO. IT. NOW!”             Literally on his own, fraternity jargon was spewing out of his mouth. Next he will be telling me to do keg stands.

Also, after our camping trip… and the lovely music we were relaxing to… Andrew has picked up a few new things. Much to Daddy’s delight, Andrew declared that “Mommy was a ho” last night.         Lovely.

And Justin can not be left out, he has his own set of new words that he is putting together very eloquently these days. You don’t expect him to put together a full sentence, but when he does it can really pack a punch. A few days back Nathan tried to take something off his plate (I guess to eat it, since Justin wasn’t eating it). Justin looked at him and yelled, “NO DADDY! Keep Your Hands To YOURSELF!”                 Nice one kiddo. I guess you are listening when I am talking to you & your brother.

Kids. I love mine.

September 20, 2007

Camping in the Hood

Filed under: Stories — by mvmommy @ 1:27 pm

This weekend we took our first camping trip with the boys. They are still small (almost 2 and just turned 3), but it seemed like it was doable.

We had a variety of responses when we told people of our intentions:

people without kids – Oh that is going to be fun! (with sincerity)
my family – Oh I can’t wait to hear how that goes
people with small children – Oh that is going to be fun! (without sincerity)

It actually was AWESOME.

However, camping with kids is nothing like camping without them. It opens your eyes to things that I had never even blinked at before.

For example, we we drove up to the ranger station… the people behind us were driving a motorcycle blaring rap at the maximum volume for every camper to share in their love of this genre. I was irritated and muttered something about it being rude to myself (luckily). About10 minutes later, I found out that they were our campsite neighbors. This was about the same time we realized we forgot the hammer to bang in the tent stakes. These fine folks shared their hammer, and their nice surround sound-sound music for the rest of the evening… “I’m a ho, you know I’m a ho….” Nathan kept singing that for about an hour.

Also, our little 2 man tent is no tent for a family of four. So I was going to rent a 6-man tent when my girlfriend generously offered up hers. Upon asking her if it was big enough for all of us, she just smiled and said yes. As Nathan started putting up the tent, we quickly realized this was no tent… this was a camping mansion! Honestly every-time I thought he was done, Nathan would reply… “no I am only on step 2 of 20. there are 3 more rooms to assemble”. I about died laughing when he muttered, “who knew I had to budget in an hour to build our fortress”. Sure enough, this tent had a sun room, a back room, 2 side rooms, and a main sleeping area. Each of us had our own door if we wanted one, and there was room for another family of 6 if we wanted to adopt.

However, I don’t think we were going to be adopting from this campsite. The riff raff was everywhere. We had a camper next to us rotating between Fleetwood Mac at full volume and then a garden variety of rap music. The other campers next to us as you know already, were dueling for music rights with their “ho” song…. as well as taking joy rides on their motorcycles in circles around the campsite.  I guess just to survey their territory.  And our other neighbors were a group of teenagers left to their own devices. Their one chaperone was staying in a campsite across the meadow – so didn’t hear the swear-a-thon going on all night long. I was glad my kids fell asleep early,  because they would have picked up a nice vocabulary from one particularly obnoxious girl. Nathan at one point asked if one of the 11 yr olds was wearing a hustler shirt… to which I responded by almost snorting my beer out my nose.

Oh and there were tarantulas ‘on the move’ as one of the signs said. Niiiice. Sure enough, I almost made myself cozy with one while watching the kids hunt for acorns. I about fell over myself trying not to step on it. And luckily the kids didn’t see it, or that would have cut future camping trips out of our foreseeable future.

Overall though, all these things made our trip hilarious. I can’t tell you how much we laughed at the fact that we were camping in the ghetto trying to avoid the acorn attacks (that literally sounded like shotguns as they pelted our tent, car, table, and sometimes Justin’s head). The kids absolutely loved being filthy and playing in the dirt all day. We brought Nathan’s golf clubs and they used them as rakes and other gardening tools to ‘clean up’ the weeds in our campsite.  The would dump rocks on tree stumps, burn marshmallows in the fire, and try to melt play-dough on sticks. Andrew even had some critiquing of Nathan’s cooking…. “holy smokes Dad!” Pretty accurate description of our sausages & steaks at that point.

I wouldn’t say it was what we expected, when we thought about taking our kids to see nature and the beautiful untouched habitat of the great-out-doors.  There was definitely a different kind of wild life to be viewed on this trip.

However, fun times were had by all and we will be going back soon.   This time we will bring our own hammer, more beer, and some Bose speakers set up to blare Carrie Underwood, or Neil Diamond, or something equally obnoxious & delightful.

September 15, 2007

Biting the bullet

Filed under: Stuff — by mvmommy @ 2:40 pm

I have been complaining for days weeks months about a half a year about exercising.

Not because I am doing it, and it’s too time consuming. And not because I am hurting, because my muscles have been worked to the bone. And not because my husband won’t support me, and let me find time to work-out.

Nope, I have been complaining because I have come to the realization that I need to exercise to help balance me – but I hate to exercise unless I am in good shape. Do you see the problem? I don’t want to be the lame person who can’t keep up, but I need to exercise in a group setting to motivate me. I am in the middle of my own personal battle of wills.

I had convinced myself that I had to go because I had gained some weight. But then I was too embarrassed to be in my gym clothes and look fat. So then I lost the weight, and had no excuse.

Next it was that I couldn’t go to the YMCA because the hours conflicted with the kids schedule. Then the kids schedule opened up, but I didn’t want them to get sick from daycare. Then my husband offered me morning workouts so the kids wouldn’t have to be in daycare (before he went to work). I didn’t want to get up that early, so he said he’d let me go at 7:00 and he’d go in late one day. There went my excuse.

I had a million more excuses… all whittled away…until this week. This week I got over it – the stars aligned – for some reason I was ready – and I went.

I had decided to join a morning swim team. So I got up early and snuck into the pool trying to go unnoticed by my fellow swimmers. I quietly asked the the coach how it worked. And I tried to shake the dust off my brain, and remember how to count intervals and figure out the timing of it all.

I stayed in the slowest lane with the retirement community, the visiting guy from Europe, and the pregnant lady. And I held on.

Sure there were some low moments:

* like the time that everyone had stopped to listen to the coach, but I didn’t notice & kept swimming an extra lap (or two). Yeah, that was humiliating.

* or the time that I did a flip-turn off the wall and snorted water up my nose. I guess I didn’t judge the person in front of me,  and the waves coming off her flip. Of course, I didn’t come up sputtering for air like I should have. I coughed underwater and took a breath every other stroke until I could get myself back together.

* or the time I forgot to put my goggles back on my eyes before starting to swim. Thus making it impossible to see. But I was too proud to stop in the middle of the lane and embarrass myself… so I just kept swimming with one hand and tried to fix it on every other stroke. Yeah, that was silly.

* or when I tried to get out of the pool at the end, while talking to two of my lane-mates.  I couldn’t lift myself out & kept falling back in, looking like a beached whale.  When I finally heaved myself out with one leg hanging over the side… someone pointed out the ladder about 5 feet way.  Duh.

But honestly, all in all, it was great. I didn’t drown (a major plus). I made it through the workout (an unexpected miracle). And I felt good all day long! I am actually looking forward to going back next time. In fact, next time I am going to move up a lane! I guess I am not the slowest person in the pool…. whew… what a relief!

September 14, 2007

Anyone need a plumber?

Filed under: Nathan — by mvmommy @ 2:06 pm

Every night after dinner we ask the kids to clear their plates. Andrew is old enough and tall enough to do this properly: carrying it parallel to the floor so food doesn’t fall off. Justin on the other hand is not yet two. Not that this fact means anything… but let’s just say we haven’t reached the age & height requirements to pull this task off flawlessly.

Thus, we take the remaining food off his plate before he carries it to the sink. And when he gets there he can either chuck the plastic plate into the sink if he has enough umph… or he can give it to Andrew, Mommy or Daddy to put up. This avoids mounds of food trailing behind him, and the plate falling back on his head while he is trying to reach the top of the counter.

Last night, his plate was too messy, so we gave him his empty cup and told him to put it in the sink. He accomplished this task by chucking it over the side of the sink, and then high-tailing it to the playroom with his brother.

When I went back to clean the dishes about an hour or so later (after the kids were in bed), I pulled things out of the sink, turned on the water and started to scrub. The only problem was that the water started backing up on me. I tried running the disposal but it wasn’t working. It didn’t sound like something was caught in the disposal, but it didn’t sound normal either.

So I turned off the water, and started feeling around. Nopem nothing in the sink. Then I turned off the disposal and started feeling around. Hummm… why can’t I stick my hand down the pipes into the disposal?

Well, Justin’s cup had apparently been expertly launched straight down the sink and into the disposal. It was not bouncing around in the disposal. It was actually suspended at the rim of the pipe opening from the sink to disposal. Thus providing a complete seal from either direction.

I don’t know how it possibly landed in that spot, but it did. And frankly I had no idea how to get it out. I couldn’t actually pull it out, because the rim of the cup was butted up against the opening into the sink. I couldn’t push it down further into the garbage disposal, to turn it around, and pull it up backwards.. because it was seriously the size of a plastic tumbler. There was no room for that thing to move anywhere in there. So it was stuck. I tried prying it out to no avail.

When my husband walked in, I gave him a look of exasperation and told him promptly that we were screwed.

He simply turned around, walked to the garage, and came back sauntering towards me with a pair of lock-pliers and a long flat head screw driver.

Now here is where I tell you… my husband is no handyman. My grandfather typically is the one fixing things in our house & showing Nathan how to do it for the ‘next time’. I am not saying he’s incompetent. He definitely could figure out how to do all these things.. he just doesn’t have the time and there are easier ways for us to get them done.

Thus seeing him coming towards the sink with some tools, looking like he knew what he was doing … definitely caused me to give him the big eye-roll. I just moved over and looked on sceptically… waiting for him to give up and turn to me so that we could get on with calling the plumber.

Sure enough, 10 seconds later, he had strong-armed that cup and wedged it out of there. I couldn’t believe it. I still cannot believe that he pulled it out of there without having to dismantle the disposal and the pipes below.

He just looked at me with a big smirk on his face and said, “Betcha didn’t think I could do that, did you?”

Yup honey. Everyday I underestimate you. Now can you get started on that screen door?

September 13, 2007

Privacy

Filed under: Stories — by mvmommy @ 12:08 pm

The concept of privacy is sorely lacking in our house.

If I am taking a shower, taking a bath, changing my clothes, peeing, whatever … one or both kids are going to barge in. Let’s not even talk about being interrupted when I am trying to have some ‘private time with my husband’. Yeah… that’s been interrupted too.

So when potty training started, the open door policy got worse. Andrew was very interested in peeing and pooping and wanted to see how others did it before he could be convinced.

When he finally got around to doing it himself, he liked to be alone. Funny how that is. No privacy for me, but the door was being closed in my face when it was his turn.

The other day we went to Babies R Us to get some diapers for Justin. Andrew had to use the potty. They have very cute little kid toilets and he was thrilled with his mini-bathroom stall. In the middle of the bathroom he declared “Mommy, I need a little privacy.” He promptly shut the stall door. Locked it. And told me that I had to wait outside until he was done. Yes, all the other ladies in the bathroom giggled at that one. So there I stood, waiting for about 15 minutes while he gathered himself and had his privacy.

Today, Andrew had to use the potty and he summoned his brother in. I was standing a bit down the hall, when I saw the door close & both brothers disappear into the bathroom. When I opened the door to check on them, Justin said “No Mommy – close the door.” Andrew added “Yah Mom, we need our privacy.”

Oh brother. I can just imagine the teenage years already.

I left them to it, but believe me next time I need some privacy, I am going to start thinking about locking them out!

September 12, 2007

Just say no

Filed under: Parenthood — by mvmommy @ 4:16 pm

If you are a parent living in the Silicon Valley, you are blessed with anything you want, anytime you are looking for it. It seems that if you need a playgroup that lives around a particular park – there is one. If you need an art class at on Wednesday at 10:30 and a Music class in the same building that starts at 11:30 – there is one. If you need a 2 day, 3 day, 5 day preschool… that offers after hours… with drop off early… with organic snacks… and mom’s nights outs…. there is one.

It is hard not to get caught up and try to do everything. This is especially true if you are Type A and don’t like to miss out, or don’t want your kids to miss out.

I find it very difficult to gain perspective living here. I have always been one to do everything that I can cram into a given day. I love being with people. I love ‘doing stuff’, especially with groups that fit into my hobbies, or current daily routines. Before kids, if people are offered me multiple social engagements in one day – I would find a way to attend all of them. My family often said I was ‘burning the candle at both ends’. But honestly I didn’t care. I wanted to get as much as I could out of life & not miss out. I loved being busy and being with friends.

Now with kids, more options abound. It’s almost overwhelming. But instead of just being social, they are touted as ‘educational’, or ‘supportive for stay at home mom’s’, or ‘key for development’. I had no idea all the things that I could & should sign my kids up for.

When the kids were babies, we tried hard to make sure that we didn’t over-schedule the kids. We wanted playgroups to be unstructured and fun. Park dates are fine, but there was no need for back to back music, gymnastics, and YMCA daycare. Likewise, if we did sign up for a class like music… it would be the only thing that we scheduled for that day. We tried to balance our time, because they are only kids once and childhood is fleeting.

The kids are older are older now, and there are even more options than before. And since Andrew is potty trained, he can be dropped off for hours at a time; the classes aren’t just 45 minutes. Since starting Andrew at preschool we have had about 5 offers to join multiple groups that all sound fantastic. They all sound educational. They all sound beneficial. And frankly I want to join. But I haven’t because the adjustment from no preschool… to 2 days a week preschool… is hard enough on Andrew. He is learning new rules. There are new friends and new teachers and a new school. He doesn’t need other obligations on top of what is already on his plate. He doesn’t seem ready, and neither am I.

So we said no.

However, there is this one group. This group is for mothers. It’s hosted by his preschool, and it sounds wonderful. They provide childcare, so that you can go and actually converse with other adults in a setting that is not a play-date. It is only 2 hours, every other week. During the meetings the mothers discuss things about being a mom… issues that really matter to ME, not just my kids.

I really want to go. I really want to join. It’s the first time that I have wanted to do something just for me since having the kids … in a setting where I know that I could make it happen and the kids would be well-taken care of. Additionally, it won’t cost me a million dollars to pull it off. What is not to like?

Well, it would mean that the kids would be in childcare or preschool for 3 out of the 5 days a week. Also, on the other two days they would have social obligations, but those would be with me. Thus there is no ‘down-time’ day. Likewise, they are still small. This is still a key part of their childhood that I don’t want to miss. And since Andrew seems to be adjusting slowly to the two day preschool as it is – why push him to three when we purposely didn’t sign him up for a three day preschool to begin with.

Ahh the logic makes sense. But it’s so hard to say no.

I know my kids. I know what is right for them. I know this is right. However, in a place like this… when you are bombarded with excellent choices all day long … how do you stick to what you know? How do you stick to your core values and not get swept away with the excitement of it all?

I don’t know. I am just trying to figure it out.

September 9, 2007

Big, Bigger, Biggest

Filed under: Uncategorized — by mvmommy @ 1:43 pm

I remember being a kid and always competing with my sister for the biggest English muffin in the morning. If you eat English muffins, you know what I mean. When you split them in half, one side is always bigger than the other. Of course, every morning we would fight about this.

And it didn’t stop there. We’d fight over who got the bigger cookie, more of the side of the bed, more of the backseat, the nicer pillow, or simply better air to breathe.

I thought this level of awareness and competition started around 5 or later. I know I can remember it, so it had to be late enough. However, I just noticed Andrew doing it today.

I made a batch of cookies. Andrew wanted to see them. He took a few minutes to smile and ogle the cookies. Then he was clearly deep in thought. After a minute he said, “Mommy, when we have cookies, I want THAT one.”

Sure enough, he was pointing to the biggest cookie on the tray.   It was only ‘biggest’  by a marginal amount. If I wasn’t looking carefully, it would have been difficult to discern which the largest cookie was at all. However, he was able to pretty rapidly.

Luckily Justin is not at that phase yet. So the fighting hasn’t begun.  However, Andrew is just barely 3;  Justin is almost 2. So he’s not far behind.

Am I really going to have two kids fighting over English muffins by next year? Why so soon? My sister and I share beautifully now… can’t I have a few years grace period for good behaviour?

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