Thursday, November 24, 2011

Snake in a Can

Do you remember that gag with the fake can of nuts and the cloth snake with a spring in it? "Hey, want a peanut? BOOIIINNGGG!"

That was a good one, huh?

And you know how it was really, really hard to get the stupid snake back into the container and close the lid because every time you'd have almost shoved the whole springy thing back in and maneuvered the lid into place it would shoot back out and the lid would fly off and you'd have to start over?

Because I am totally experiencing it again. Except instead of a fake can of nuts, it's a stroller, and instead of a springy snake, it's a screaming, flailing, totally freaking out two-year-old. "Hey, want a toddler? What? Why not?!"

Four times in the last week I've had to strap O into his stroller because he was having a fit. All of them have been the result of completely unreasonable reactions to mundane things like getting on a bus or dressing for school. I think it comes from his desire to control what he can (putting on pants, walking to the bus stop) and learning to be an independent being, and I understand all that. I also realize it's a phase that most kids go through, but wow, can it ever be unpleasant!

Sometimes I can head him off at the pass; when I know he's tired or if it's no big deal to let him do what he wants, then I'm happy to avoid a scene. But there are other times, like when he wants to eat lollipops at 7am or tries to throw himself into oncoming traffic, that I just can't give in. And when a little kid gets to the screaming, kicking, sobbing, shrieking stage, it's very, very difficult to do anything to stop it.

At home, you can let it pass. The kitchen floor will take a beating from stomping little feet, and I've learned to mentally block out the noise to a certain extent. But when you're out in public, things get more complicated. I've come up with a few steps to get through it:

What To Do When Your Small Child Freaks Out In Public

Step 1- Make calming noises and glance around to see who is looking (everyone.) Stroke child's hair soothingly but keep fingers away from biting mouth.

Step 2- Explain to the child why it is inappropriate to behave so badly for such a silly reason, ideally giving Back Story to all eavesdropping bystanders. "No, you can't take the 33 bus because we need the R68, and you are not allowed on your own because you are two. And it is unreasonable of you to demand that I repair your broken banana after you threw it on the floor because you didn't want it at first but now you do. Also, you are exhausted for having been up 4 times in the middle of the night, and I am trying to be patient but I too was up 4 times in the middle of night, and I still have to go home and cook dinner."

Step 3- Try to elicit sympathetic looks from those bystanders who haven't stuck their fingers in their ears from all the screaming.

Step 4- Apparently pretty much no one wants to listen to a screaming child, so you do what you can to remove yourself and the offending kid from the situation. As I've mentioned, the stroller is handy for quick getaway, but wow, do you ever look like a Terrible Parent when you are trying to strap down a screaming kid who is acting like the fabric on the seat is burning them and you are the devil who is making them sit in the evil, evil thing. Keep up the Sympathetic-Look-Eye-Contact, with an occasional So-Sorry-About-My-Crazy-Child-Smile.

Step 5- Run. (Yes, the child has to go with you.)

Step 6- Enlist significant other's help in opening bottle of wine.

OK, so it might not put me in the Parenting Hall of Fame, but it helps in a pinch. What do you do when your kid throws a tantrum?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wheeeee!

Phwooof...*dusts off blog*

Does this thing still work?
Testing, testing, one, two...

Oh hi! How's it going? What's new? Gosh, you look great. Have you lost weight? Because seriously, that outfit looks ah-MAZ-ing on you. No, really.

Wait, what? Why have I not posted in awhile? Um, well uh, it's just that I'm busy, you know, and um, there was this stuff, and work, and uh, the kids and all, and you know, stuff.

Did I mention that you look skinny? Hey, look over there, it's Elvis!

But for reals, I could stand to have a few extra hours in the day. It's 2011, for gods sake, you'd think they could have figured out how to accommodate that. And because England is located somewhere in the Arctic Circle (or something), the sun is setting around 4 p.m., making you feel like it's the middle of night when in fact it's only 8 p.m. Luckily, my kids are super gullible so I continue to pull the whole, "Whoa, have you SEEN how DARK it is?? Must be bed time! Hurry up, pajamas on! Teeth brushed! Get in bed!" at around 6.

We are smack dab in the middle of potty training O, and it seems to be going pretty well. Or at least it has for last the 24 hours, 10 of which he spent in bed with a diaper on. But hooray for the other 14! Tomorrow should be an interesting test as we venture into public to an event I have for work. It seems risky, but because it's a Mommy Blogger gathering, I figure any accidents will at least make for good material.

But in all honesty, I'm super happy about the progress. For awhile there he was in this terrible limbo of not wanting to use the potty and also not wanting to go his diaper, so he'd hop around, grabbing his crotch area, and hold it in. Which is ridiculous and also seems very uncomfortable. But I guess two-and-a-half-year-old kids are not known for their reasonable behavior. (See also Exhibit B in which O chucks a screaming fit because I won't let him have candy for breakfast.)

Thankfully, he seems to be more accepting of the potty as an option, and he LOVES his new underwear. I mean, you should see him strutting around the house wearing it. He has a huge grin on his face and keeps checking his butt out in the mirror - like, "Wow, I look AWESOME without diapers." And every time he goes in the potty, he gives you a huge high five, which I love. There should be more high-fiving after bathroom breaks. Assuming you wash your hands.

M has also been very encouraging. She likes to provide examples of her superior potty use, offering to show O exactly how it's done and giving visual examples whenever possible. Very helpful. So far we've only tackled the seated position, but at some point we're going to have to teach him how to go while standing (once his junk is higher than the seat, is my guess. Kinda hard to pee in the toilet if you have to aim up.) (Not that I would know for sure, I feel like it's a good guess.)

So, anyway, that's probably enough about wee for one post.
And welcome back! Have I mentioned how nice your hair looks?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Can't type. Busy doing homework.

I have no time! Where is all the time? Who stole my time?
I know I promised to try to post every day for 30 days, and I went right ahead and did not do that at all, and now it's like 847 days later, and I think I'm averaging about 2 posts a month. I blame my children (because they can't read this and it's better than saying that I'm clearly crap at time management.)

Anyway, I've been busy nursing O's head (bumped it again today, still looks like a Klingon, in case anyone is interested), trying to get him to wear something other than a princess dress, and doing M's homework with her. And working. And occasionally doing some shopping. Also, eating cheese.

Homework is more time consuming that I remember. From what I can recall, homework did not take very long, and at age five it certainly was not necessary five nights a week, which is about what we are doing. There are two whole books to read every week! And words to learn to write! And drawings! It's all very overwhelming. For me. M seems mostly OK with it, except we have a hard time figuring when to fit it in.

Before school? Sleepy, interferes with coffee breakfast, making lunch, getting dressed and O jumping all over us.
Right after school and before a sports lesson? Hmm, interferes with snack time and hard to focus with O jumping all over us.
After sports? Tired and interferes with dinner and O jumping all over us.
After dinner? Even more tired and not concentrating and again with O and the jumping. Also, interferes with being read TO.
Weekend? Ugh. And more O jumping.

We'll get there, possibly once O goes to college.

We are still in that hard stage where we still have to sit down and do M's homework WITH her. Once she gets older, she can do it on her own, but right now we have to do all the reading and writing together. I'm sure it gets better, and if you know any differently, keep it to yourself.

Off to finish dinner. For some reason, I decided lamb roast and celery root gratin was a good idea on a Monday, after a day of work/homework/etc. See above re: time management skills. It's a good thing I'm helping Maya with all her learning; she's obviously going to be really smart.