Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reid on Entertainment

Though Wee 4 is obviously my fourth child - meaning I successfully raised past infancy 3 other children, I occasionally lose my common sense and use the internet to seek out those hidden gems of parenting I just must have missed the first three times around.

The conundrum I am currently facing is Reid's love of the night life. The kid can't get enough of it. He is every day (with very, very few exceptions) up from 11pm to 4am. Now if this was my first rodeo - it wouldn't be so bad. I would be 7 years younger and not have a dictator (Wee 3) that wakes up at 6am everyday.

With the bags under my eyes beginning to exceed the free weight limits for your first piece of luggage on most airlines, late last night I went in search of advice. Now I don't necessarily feel Reid has to sleep during these hours. If I could at least put him down or entertain him in some other way than singing old Army cadences (he can't get enough of these) I would be thrilled.

Here is what the Parenting Experts say I should do:

1. Play Classical Music - it is sure to soothe my gentle giant and some how make him smarter.

2. Place a slow moving and mirrored object above his head.

3. Speak softly to him with short mono-syllabic words.

So, in desperation and after looking around to make sure no other moms were around at 3am to mock me, I did all these things - many times.

The results - nada, zip - not one moment of happy quietness. Instead, most of the time Wee 4 looked at me as if I had lost my slow moving, classical music playing, gibberish speaking mind. And then to stress the point he was baffled - he screamed, loudly.

In the face of overwhelming defeat I needed to rethink my strategy - did I actually think any of these things were entertaining? Nope. I find classical music depressing (sorry I know that's uncultured) - I find looking at myself in the mirror a bit dull - I mean no matter how many times I blink it is still me - and its really difficult to have an interesting conversation when you are only allowed to use the words on your daughter's kindergarten spelling list.

So here is my new list of things to do when Wee 4 is fussy at night. Each one is Reid tested and giggle inducingly approved. In fact from now on when having a bad day I may do these things to make myself less fussy.

1. Play happy music with a solid base and good tempo - and play it loudly. In fact, combine playing it loudly with goofy dance steps and lots of butt wiggling.

2. Turn Reid's mobile off automatic and spin it as rapidly as possible. The closer Reid's little ocean animal friends came to a mass concussion the harder he laughed.

3. Say long interesting words in a variety of voices. I found Reid likes bizarre cooking ingredients read off in Kung-Fu movie voices. For example "caaarrrraaaadddddammmmooommm" or "muuuuggggwarrrrtt" in different octaves are surefire winners. Throw in an occasional high pitched "hi ya" and "wiiieee" and you are golden.

Now some of you are probably thinking "how did she ever get Wee 4 to sleep once he was so wound up?" Laughter, laughter is the key - apparently in small infants it causes hiccups and exhaustion. Wee 4 went down an hour early last night and once again I proved that real mothers can kick expert butt on little sleep and with no complicated studies or research.

Morale of the Story: Trust your gut - after all that's where your baby spent all his time before birth and he was pretty happy in there.

A bit sheepish for briefly losing my mind,


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bella on Bathing

After lunch today Bella choose to use some of her free time to watch PBS kids. When the thrill of Arthur and Word Girl had worn off she came in search of me. It always makes me feel a bit bad, because Wee 2 always looks simply delighted to see me, while some of the time when I see her (say when I am trying to use the restroom, or finish a delicate task) I'm thinking - crud free time is up.

As is her custom however, Bella flashed her 100 watt smile and gave me a big squeeze. These hugs normally last quite a while, and only end when I manage to extricate myself with a slippery kung-fu move or I employ outside assistance like the jaws of life. This morming however, Bella's hug was a case of immediate catch and release. I am not sure, but the hug may have been more like a flinch that involved two people.

Stunned I asked Bella what the matter was. She scrunched up her nose at me and said "Mommy your're stinky."

Now no one likes to hear that kind of talk, but before telling Bella that it was rude to be mean I reflected on why I might be stinky.

The following inner monologue took place:

1. When did I take my last shower - hmmm can't remember.

2. Maybe its my clothing? Well my left and right shoulders are covered in spit up - and I don't quite know what is on my sleeve. It also smells a bit iffy.

3. Did I put on deodorant today? Possibly, but highly unlikely as I have yet to actually have my arms baby free for a moment to do so.

4. Did I brush my teeth today? (enter running tongue over teeth here) Definitely not - teeth sweaters are in full swing.

I decided the appropriate response was the truth: "Yup, Bella mommy is definitely stinky."

Bella's reply "How come you get to be stinky, but we have to take a shower everyday?"

Mommy's reply, "Well, getting a daily shower is kinda like talking to unicorns and fairies, it is a heck of a lot easier to do when you are little."

Wee 2 digested that for a moment and because my answer included fairies and unicorns it came across as highly likely and favorable.

Later in the day when Wee 3 and Wee 4 fell asleep at the same time, an occurrence much like a BOGO on Ghirardelli chocolate or Date Night - something which occurs rarely but must be savored when it happens, I took the luxury of taking a bath. Because I was so keen on getting in the bath without anyone waking up I used the girl's bath room which didn't contain any Parent owned product.

When Bella later walked in on me in the tub to make sure I was still her mom and still in the house she noticed my using the baby's night time baby bath for soap. Her eyes lit up and she said "Mom, that cures crabbiness - Aunt Lisa said so - You should always use that kind of soap!"

Moral of the story number 1: Get a good lock on your bath room door and an intercom system installed so you can communicate with the kids while in the tub if you have to.

Moral of the story number 2: If you actually get to see a unicorn or do something equally exceptional (say take a bath in the middle of the day) just let the unknowing comments of your Wees roll of your bubbled back.

A wee bit sweeter smelling,


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Maddie on Manners - Part Two

Having once again used her food as her medium, and her body as a canvas, Wee 3 was looking particularly like a Picasso after dinner last night. With angel hair pasta, corn and salad flung in every direction, she began to chant her list of demands. Key amongst them was for her to be taken immediately to her bath.

Remembering the failed attempt to teach proper etiquette mentioned in my last post, I felt here was my chance at redemption - my chance to prove that I could teach a Wee in the throws of full crazy to be polite.

As her chant for cleansing reached its crescendo Maddie shouted "TAKE ME TO THE BATH NOW!!!"

Mustering a bit of patience, I sweetly chirped "Maddie, did you forgot something?"

She paused a moment to allow the churning wheels in her mind to process the request and than with the greatest solemnity replied "You".


In the old days a 67% was a D and a D was passing. So does this mean that if 2 out of 3 of my talking Wees competently uses her "pleases and thank yous", that I've passed the Mommy manners test?

Moral of the Story: You apparently can't teach even a young dog new tricks.

A wee bit flustered,


Monday, December 27, 2010

Maddie on Manners

When she wakes from a nap a bit too early, Wee number 3 can be somewhat frightening. Staggering from her bed like the offspring of an irate T-Rex and an Indian monsoon, Maddie will mumble incoherent demands irately as she attempts to smooth down her bedraggled hair. Calming her before she interacts with the other Wees is a must to avoid creating the perfect storm.

Yesterday, as she shouted out her post-snooze demands she wandered into the kitchen where I had been doing a craft with the older Wees. Walking right up to me she grabbed my shirt sleeve and grunted "Water, now!"

Thinking this was an excellent opportunity to do Ms. Manners proud, I said, "Maddie, what is the magic word?"

Looking me dead in the eye with her most serious dictator expression, Maddie replied,"abracadabra."

Needless to say the child was right, - "abracadabra" is THE magic word.

So I gave her her water. And gone went another teaching moment - shot down by the straightforwardness of a wee.

Moral of the Story: Never ask a witness a question that you don't know the answer to.

A wee bit humbled,