100 Things More Distracting

Admittedly, I often get worked up over the stupidest things. Call me a horrible mother, report me to CPS, or judge my decisions all day long....but do not think that I will take a requirement of plain file folders laying down.

Wait. What? File folders? What the heck Christy?

Right! I know. Stupidest thing ever to be angry about, but I'm angry about it. Savannah's first grade class requires 3 file folders on the supply list. Next to "File Folders" it says, (Plain please. No design.)

Excuse me? Why? No designs? What's the problem with designs?

Well, I think we can agree that it is probably in theory to eliminate distractions. Apparently file folders are a distraction and block the learning process in first grade. This is all good and fine, except I can think of 100 other things that distract first graders and harm the learning process. In fact, I have actually compiled a list of 100 things more distracting. Here they are, in no particular order...the 100 things that are more distracting to first graders than file folders with designs;

1. A loose tooth.
2. A lost tooth.
3. Multiple lost teeth.
4. New adult teeth coming in.
5. A new haircut.
6. Really long hair.
7. Really short hair.
8. New glasses.
9. New shoes.
10. New clothes of any kind.
11. First grade girls wearing heels, make-up, jewelry, died hair, etc.
12. An approaching birthday.
13. A recently passed birthday.
14. A birthday that is 200 days away....also known as soon.
15. The coming weekend.
16. The last weekend.
17. An approaching holiday.
18. A past holiday.
19. Recess.
20. Lunch.
21. The end of the day.
22. A new baby sibling.
23. A new puppy.
24. A new kitty.
25. New fish.
26. Dead fish.
27. The funeral for the dead fish.
28. The clock on the wall.
29. Broken bones/new cast.
30. Recent hospital visit.
31. Slight scratch.
32. Old bruise.
33. The end of the year approaching (could be in January).
34. A field trip coming up.
35. A field trip recently passed.
36. Anyone moving away.
37. A new kid.
38. Twins of any kid.
39. The clock once the kids learn to tell time.
40. An absent kid.
41. The day that a kid returns from an absent.
42. A SUBSTITUTE TEACHER!!! (Worst distraction ever!)
43. A storm.
44. Rain.
45. Heaven help us if there's snow.
46. Sun.
47. Clouds.
48. Lightening/Thunder.
49. Anyone with a cold.
50. Freshly pierced ears.
51. Cell phones recently given.
52. Any new look for the teacher.
53. Grandma coming.
54. Grandma sent a present/card.
55. Learning a new skill.
56. Going on vacation soon (Disneyland would be the most distracting.)
57. An assembly that day.
58. A class party.
59. Late Start day.
60. Early release day.
61. Guest speaker in the class.
62. Bullying :(
63. Parents divorcing.
64. Parents getting married.
65. Sibling getting married.
66. Sibling having baby.
67. Someone passing gas in class.
68. Someone peeing their pants.
69. Lice?
70. Sport of any kind happening.
71. Plays (Missoula Children's Theater Especially)
72. Spring Break coming.
73. Crazy hat day.
74. Anyone with a lisp.
75. A kid with a disability of any kind.
76. The fishing derby or other community event.
77. The costume planned for Halloween.
78. What each kid wants for Christmas.
79. Kids who don't celebrate holidays.
80. Posters on walls.
81. People who walk in and out of class.
82. Announcements over intercom.
83. Phone calls.
84. Someone tardy.
85. Someone who leaves early.
86. Doctor's appointments.
87. Dentist appointments.
88. Anyone they knew in the paper.
89. Seeing teachers outside of school.
90. A recent sleepover.
91. Plans of a future sleepover.
92. Parents who volunteer in classroom.
93. High school students in general (cheerleaders, football players, siblings).
94. Any kid in trouble.
95. What each kid is having for lunch.
96. A fun craft for the day.
97. Anyone who goes to the nurse.
98. Anyone who goes to the principal.
99. Anyone who goes to the bathroom.
100. Last but not least (in fact probably most important), a HUGE distraction to learning is spending WEEKS working on teaching kids the answers to a test that will take at least a week away from regular learning. WASL anyone? Taking out that much time to teach kids how to pass a test that will take more time away from learning is a pretty big distraction....and waste of time as well. We're not teaching kids important things. We're teaching them to pass a test so we look like we have a good school....only we don't have a good school because we're wasting valuable time memorizing answers.

There you have it. Literally, 100 things that disrupt the learning process more than file folders with designs on them that allow children a shred of creativity in a world that REWARDS people to fit in and be nobodys. Don't stand out. Don't show your true personality. Just look like everyone else. Be a sheep....but don't be a black sheep. For the love of all things good, don't be a black sheep. Be a good girl/boy and conform.

Fuck that. *Sorry about the language*

Savannah wants to get kitty and puppy file folders....which is fine with me because I know that she loves animals. However, I am going to try my hardest and encourage her to pick out file folders that are as loud and distracting as possible. I want hot pink and neon yellow... I want file folders that sing every time she pulls them out of her back pack. I'm hoping for file folders that get called into the principal's office all on their own.

So no, Savannah will not be bringing in plain file folders. There are a million things that distract first graders. I have only listed 100. This is because they are....FIRST GRADERS. Deal with it or find a new job. Don't take away creativity in hopes that maybe they will calm down for your sake.

I told you....stupidest thing ever. I admitted it. I'm half crazy. Probably as a result of plain folders being required my whole life.

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Boys Are Gross

I've heard that boys are dirty...and not just in their heads either, but genuinely dirt and worm covered at all times. I thought people were exaggerating. I see now that they were not. And apparently this starts from birth. Maybe even before. Maybe in the womb they are playing with dirt. I don't know. I wasn't in there with Nolan. But I would bet he was dirt-covered in there too.

Nolan is almost 3 months old. He is my first boy...obviously. I had no idea what to expect. I'm pretty partial to girls, but I thought, "What the heck?! Let's give testosterone a try!" (P.S., I was going to write, 'let's give penises a try" but I thought that would come out all sorts of wrong.) So I welcomed Nolan and all things boy into this parenthood thing that I have going on.

From the beginning he was different than my girls. For starters, he was/is huge. To put the difference between him and Madelyn and Savannah into perspective, He currently weighs 14..almost 15 lbs. Madelyn and Savannah both were about 18 lbs at ONE YEAR OLD. So in 3 lbs, probably in a month or two, he will weigh what his sisters weighed when they were 1. Yes, he is enormous. But he also sleeps a lot so I'll take the extra size in exchange for that any day.

But the size isn't the worst (or most drastic I guess) difference between my son and daughters. No. It appears that boys are disgusting. And I mean that in the most loving way possible. Nolan is disgustingly dirty at all times.

Underneath his nails there is a constant supply of dirt. I clean them out and cut them short and give a bath daily and it's still there every time I look. I have no idea when he is playing in the dirt, but there is no other explanation for the never ending mud underneath his nails. He doesn't crawl, he doesn't walk, and he rarely does more than eat and sleep in a 24 hour period. YET, he's got mud pies under each nail. Where does this come from??!!! I don't know...

Also, under his chin, in between chub rolls, there is another never ending supply of dirt. Baths every day, wiping it out with baby wipes in between baths, and it keeps coming back. Keeps. Coming. Back. You can look under that chin every five minutes and find a new batch of mud. I think he holds it there for every time I clean his nails. That way he never runs out?

In between every chub roll on his body is more dirt. His ears need to be cleaned out daily because of the constant accumulation of potatoes in them. And don't even get me started on his diaper area. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. Tracy, I don't even care what you say, boy diapers are 324,873 times worse than girl diapers.

Lastly, he sweats all day every day. It can be 50 degrees in my house and he can be wearing a onsie and he's still sweating. This causes him to stink also. Again, bath daily and still stinks a half hour after said bath. He's gross.

My girls stayed clean and pretty and smelled like babies (non stinking babies) at all times. They weren't gross. Nolan is gross. This whole "boys are disgusting" thing starts from day one I guess. Who knew? I'm sure it only gets worse from here. Soon, the worms and bugs and snot and farts and god knows what else will come into play.

I love this snuggly, chubby, SLEEPY, handsome, heart-tugging boy....but he's a boy....and boys are gross. Did I mention that he sleeps often though? Current favorite, even with his gross-ness.

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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

I have many memories from my childhood of hiding in the backseat, pretending I was much younger than I was, and doing other things to escape paying entrance or whatever fees. I was tiny so I got away with it. Well, actually my parents and grandparents got away with it. "Tell the lady you are 5, Christy!" "Okay, but I'm 10." "It doesn't matter. They'll never know."

I think they knew... I mean, going for one year younger is one thing. Going for ten years younger is a whole other story. I'm sure they always rolled their eyes and said, "Got another cheapo here." What were they going to do though? Ask for my ID? Check my birth certificate? No. They were stuck not being able to charge me. My favorite was hiding under the backseat to avoid paying fees in which each person in the car was charged. I felt like such a rebel. Good times....

Fast forward to when I became a parent. The first few years are fine. No one charges you for anything. I wondered why my parents/grandparents even did that crap in the first place.

And then Savannah turned 3...and started getting charged for things. As she aged year by year, she got charged for more and more places until eventually, she wasn't free for anything. It sucked to have to pay for her, but it was a necessary evil of having kids. They cost money. Who knew?

Even after having role models that got out of paying at every opportunity, I didn't fib to get out of fees. I never made Savannah lie about her age or hide anywhere. This isn't because I'm some perfectly ethical role model either....it's because she'd call me out on it for two reasons; A, she calls me out on everything. B, she would never pretend to be younger than she is.

And she wouldn't just quietly call me out after we were far away from the booth either, she would call me out right there in front of everyone. "Mom!!! I'm 6 now!! Stop lying!!!"

So I always pay full price for her.

Until Saturday.

We went to the local fair. I saw the prices and mentally added them in my head. Madelyn and Nolan were free. Savannah, Jim, and I were not. Jim and I could never pass for 3 years old. When we got up to the ticket counter, I told the lady that I had two adults, two babies and one child. She asked me how old Savannah was, I answered and then she told me the price. It was a lot less than I had added in my head. I paused for a moment and then assumed that I had done the math wrong. This was a very plausible explanation. I'm good at math, but dumb at the same time. I'm like the dumb smart person that everyone knows.

Anyway, I paid the less than I thought price and we moved along. Once we were inside, Savannah said, "Mom! Why'd you say that I was 5?!!!!" She said this very loudly by the way...in typical Savannah fashion.

"I didn't say you were 5!" I replied.

Jim pipes in, "Yes you did!"

"I did?"


Oh my goodness. That wasn't intentional. I didn't mean to lie. I had no problem paying full price. I'm not sure what the fees from this fair go to, but I'm sure it's a good cause. Probably Sheep Farmers of America or something like that. I had no intention of stealing from sheep farmers!!!!!!!!

I guess I forgot how old Savannah was? Had there been some paper and a pencil there, I could have figured out her age...eventually. I know she was born in 2008, take away 2014, carry the one, count to 8 on fingers..."Savannah is 6!" And then I would have paid full price for her.

So to the Sheep Farmers of American, I apologize sincerely for my thievery from your cause. Please know that I am not unethical...not about this anyway. It was completely accidental. Next year, I will pay double price! And maybe then, I will get the approval of the Mother of the Year Committee.

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My Mom Made Me

Here are a few notes relevant to understanding this story if this is your first day. If it is not your first day, you have to read these anyway. Maybe you need some brushing up on the details anyway? Take notes. There will be a test at the end...

-Savannah is blessed (or maybe cursed?) to have two daddies that love her very much.
-My husband did not contribute the necessary DNA to make Savannah.
-My husband is Jim.
-Savannah's "real" dad is Troy. Good guy. Good dad. Good with Savannah calling Jim daddy too....or at least doesn't shame Savannah for doing it. I'm sure it stabs the heart some days. :-/
- Troy's birthday was August 11th.

So, on August 11th (who's birthday was that? Told you there was going to be a test.), I realized it was Troy's birthday halfway through the day. When I realized this, Savannah was washing the truck with Jim. When I say "washing the truck with Jim", I mean she was doing all the work while he was giving orders because his shoulder is hurting really bad. I don't know how bad it hurts because I cannot feel his pain, but he thinks he is in a lot of pain. Considering how men are big babies, I'm sure it would be a minor irritation to me, but it hurts him.

ANYWAY, she was washing the truck with Daddy Jim when I realized it was Daddy Troy's birthday. I yelled for her to come call him to wish him a happy birthday. Of course, I could have just waited until she was done having fun playing in the hose (because let's be honest, that's what she was doing), but that would have been an absolute guarantee that I would have forgotten in ten minutes and the call would have never been made.

Since Troy is a pretty awesome guy these days, I didn't want to forget his birthday. So I made her come inside immediately to call him. She was not impressed with this, or happy with me, or excited to call him....but only because at 6 years old, the hose is more fun than calling someone. Had I waited another hour until she was done, I'm sure that she would have been more than happy to call her daddy on his birthday. Or maybe she's just a jerk. I don't know....

So I dialed the number despite her death glares and hatred oozing out of her pores. I handed her the phone. She stayed right next to me so I heard the conversation;

"Hi daddy. Happy birthday."
"Thank you baby! You're the first person to call me today. I'm glad you called. What are you doing today?"
"I was playing outside with the hose, but my mom MADE me call you." (She emphasized the MADE part while shooting visual daggers into my heart).

Oh. My. Good. Golly. Miss. Molly!!!!!!!!!!! WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT????!!! Why was that part necessary? Why? Why? Why?

What an ass.

I cried a little inside for Troy and died a little inside from embarrassment and visually spanked her while also visually batting the daggers she was shooting at my heart.

Savannah = professional getter backer. I'm glad I don't ever have to date her.

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Dangers of Cleaning

I'll admit it, I'm a notorious surface-only cleaner. By surface-only, I mean I clean only what you can see when you come over to my house. And this is only if you give me notice that you're coming over. If you surprise me, there's no telling what condition the house may be in.

I have really been working on my lack of being a good cleaner and I'm making huge improvements, but I'm still no fabulous housekeeper.

I have lots of excuses for this, but the cold hard truth is....

....cleaning is bad for my health.

And also, I'm a horrible housekeeper because my gram spoiled me and I never had to clean.

But also, it's bad for my health.

Yesterday my landlords came over to fix up my bathroom. To you, landlords might mean evil slum lords who take your money and never put anything back into the house. To me, landlords mean my best friend and her family. They take care of the house well.

Unfortunately, my best friend is a cleaning freak. They say opposites attract and I think our friendship proves this. Also, she is a big girl with a big girl job and I'm...well, I'm me. Haha

So when she comes over, I try to clean my house so that she doesn't think I'm some slob. I am a slob but I don't want her to think that. After 17 years of friendship, I think she might be catching on, but just in case she hasn't, I clean before her arrival.

I never deep clean though. I just surface clean. I keep making promises to myself that I will deep clean one room per week so that the rooms never get too dirty. I never keep these promises as evident by my bathroom yesterday.

My landlords were going to paint so I needed to clean walls, nooks and crannies, floorboards, etc. I have never in my life cleaned nooks and crannies. Never. Not once. I've cleaned walls and floorboards every time I've moved out of a house but never nooks and crannies.

But yesterday I had to. They were painting.

And so, I woke up, put on my big girl panties and went to work. It was the most horrible three hours of my life. I would have rather walked on hot coals.

When I was done, I called my best friend..."Please tell me that this disgustingness was not just from us. Please tell me the dirt in the nook and crannies never got cleaned before we moved in???!!!"

Nope. She cleaned it from top to bottom spotless before we moved in. Great. Not only am I a slob but I definitely just admitted that to her. Turns out she already knew and loves me anyway. That is real friendship.

Anyway, my nightmare ended when the bathroom was cleaned. Or so I thought....

Last night as we settled down and relaxed before going to bed, I mentioned to Jim that my right side hurt.

I know what you all are thinking, "APPENDIX!" That's the first thing out of everyone's mouth every single time I say that my side hurts. After I lift up my shirt and show them my 5 inch scar that proves my appendix doesn't live there anymore, they regret suggesting it might be that. Yes people, it's gone. Unless appendixes sometimes grow back, my side hurting is NOT my appendix.

What the pain felt like was right after I had my C-section...and the pain was exactly where the surgeon had stitched everything up together inside. So I touched myself...

My god people, not like that!!! Get your hands out of the gutter! I touched around on my side. There was a lump. As I am not a doctor, I have no idea what it is...scar tissue, cyst, pulled something or other, another appendix??? I don't know. What I do know is that it wasn't there yesterday and neither was the pain.

The only thing I can think is that the deep cleaning caused all of this. I'm pretty sure a doctor will agree with my self-diagnosis. And then he will prescribe me a strict regimen of never ever ever ever deep cleaning again!

I can no longer deep clean ever again. The one time I tried it, I nearly killed myself.

Okay, maybe I just pulled a muscle from doing something that my body is not used to doing....

But either way, there are obviously dangers in cleaning.

I'm just saying, I'd rather not take that risk. I have kids to think about.

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I'm bilingual in case anyone here doesn't know that. I took three years of Spanish from Senora Lincoln in high school...all three of which were spent doodling on my note pad and planning what excuse I wanted to use on any particular day to get out of class.

Got my period? No, I used that last week.

Diarrhea? Not that desperate.

My cat is sick? Don't have a cat and don't want to send bad ju-ju to that cat that I don't have.

I'm all out of ideas. Come on, Christy! Pull yourself together and think of something to get you out of this class!!!!!

So basically I was a good student who practically speaks the language like it's my first one.

For example, I can say, "Mi ojos es verde." This roughly translates to, "I'm the best Spanish speaker in the whole wide world because I studied very hard in my high school classes."

Not really. It translates to "My eyes are green." That's pretty much all I got from three years of Spanish. In case you missed that. THREE YEARS OF SPANISH...

But wait! There's more!!!!

My best friend Maria speaks Spanish fluently. She took about 30 years of Spanish from her parents. She has told me for about 10 years now that I, when drinking, speak Spanish very well.

I wouldn't know because I, when drinking, drink too much to remember much of anything.

But apparently, with a few shots and a couple beers and a bottle of wine, I speak Spanish better than she does....and she's from Mexico. I can even roll my "R's" which I absolutely cannot do at all even a little when sober. How is this all possible?

Well, it's like the Bible says, "All things possible with Jack...Daniels."

With all that being said, I do not teach my children my second language. This is 50% due to the fact that I don't drink around them and 50% due to the fact that I'm the worst mother ever and can barely get them showered and fed, let alone teach them anything.

So as you can imagine, it was quite the shock to find out that Madelyn (19 months) had picked up Spanish overnight in her sleep. I'm not really sure where, how, when, etc.... Maybe she went to sleep listening to a "YOU TOO CAN LEARN SPANISH IN ONE DAY!" tape. I don't know.

What I do know is that all morning, she is answering, "Si" to every question I ask.

"Madelyn, do you want some milk?"

"Si...guck." Guck translates to milk in Spanish....I mean, Madelyn. Guck is Madelyn for Milk.

"Madelyn, do you want to watch Thomas?"


"Madelyn, am I the worst mother ever?"

"Si! Si! Usted es la peor madre del mundo y yo no sé cómo voy a sobrevivir la infancia!"

(Yes! Yes! You are the worst mother ever and I do not know how I will survive childhood!)

Okay, she didn't say that last sentence, but she has been answering all of my questions with "si" this morning. At first I just thought it was some random sound that she used. I don't even know 99% of what she is saying half the time. She has her own language. I can pick up a word or two here and there, but it all sounds Greek to me.

But then she kept on saying si....so it wasn't a random sound. It was a deliberate yes in Spanish.

I think it is clear what is happening here...

Madelyn has gotten into the Jack Daniels and drunken bilingual-ness is genetic.

That's the only logical explanation. O tal vex estoy loco

One thing is for sure, my eyes are green. That's a fact.

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Touch Nice

So Madi has officially entered into the, "I-will-hit-you-if-you-even-give-me-a-look-that-I-don't-like." stage. She's actually been in that stage for quite some time, but it appears to be in full force now.

Take a toy away from her? Be prepared to be slapped over and over again until she falls on the floor to complete the whole show with a grand finale of a dramatic tantrum. It's predictable and hilarious...not the hitting, but the tantrum.

I choose to take the calm approach with all of this because A.) I've been through it before and it doesn't stress me out. B.) Because I know it's normal and due to Madi not having the communication skills necessary to verbalize, "I freaking hate you mother!" Basically, she isn't just doing these things because she is an ass.

But sometimes she is just an ass.

And I love her. Haha

Whenever she hits anyone (thank goodness we're not biting...yet), I grab her hand to stop the hitting and say to her, "We touch nice!" And then I show her how to touch nice. I did this same thing with Savannah. It worked well. The hitting stage was short lived.

Now, there are a lot of people who favor the, "Hit-them-back-so-they-know-how-it-feels." technique to end the abusive toddler stage. Supposedly it teaches empathy because they will now see how it hurts and will show more compassion.

Two things on this technique; #1, they can barely control this hitting business. Not that they shouldn't be held accountable or disciplined, but it's really out of impulse because they are mad and cannot says, "I'm really freaking mad!" #2, I personally do not see the logic in saying, "Don't hit!" as I'm hitting them. I don't get it and I imagine it's confusing to a little person, but I'm not a parenting expert.

I will say this; Savannah bit my dad once. He bit her back. She never bit anyone ever again. Sooooo maybe in some cases it does work and maybe I'm completely talking out of my ass. Either way, do what you wish. I choose to use what I explained above.

So it's working really well with Madi and she is getting it really well. She randomly rubs strangers shoulders while she says, "Niiiiice..." I may be raising a creeper. It's fine.

Madi even touches the cat and dog, "nice" as she rubs their fur the wrong way and says, "Niiiiice touch." Once she pulled the cats tail while saying nice. All in all though, she is doing really well with this nice touch thing...despite the fact that she might be a creeper someday because of it.

Unfortunately, like many toddlers, she doesn't understand her strength or even that she has to be gentle with babies. I try not to fuss too much over her touching and playing with Nolan. Not only am I not a paranoid new mom, but also because I don't want her to think she cant love on him. So I watch her with clenched teeth just waiting for her to body slam him or something.

It will happen. It's just a matter of when...

Anyway, Madi randomly pokes at his eyes, while saying, "Niiiicee....eyes!" I try to explain that yes those are his eyes, but no we can't touch them." I didn't think I was saying this in a foreign language but apparently I am because she no comprendo. Every day is a game of "poke Nolan's eyes out." It's fine.

Then yesterday, it seemed she finally got it. She walked up to Nolan and I and didn't poke his eyes out. "Yes!" I thought. "Progress!" As anyone with toddlers knows, sometimes it seems like months of lessons that do not work and so when one does, it's like a miracle.

But, instead of poking his eyes out, she calmly (and without anger or provocation) slaps him on his head somewhat hard and says, "Niiiiceee....touch nice!" Nolan of course wakes up, and screams his face off, seemingly saying, "That wasn't a f*cking nice touch, Madelyn!!!"

Madi back up, looks up at me and says, "Uh-oh."

Then she looks at Nolan and says, "What? You okay?"

I think she's getting this "nice touch" lesson anyway....but days like that appears that maybe it's all falling on deaf ears...or maybe I'm speaking Spanish to the girl.

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Jim is Trying To Ruin My Life

I'm not sure when and I'm not sure why, but out of left field, Miss Madelyn went from eating everything and anything she could fit into her mouth to not eating anything hardly at all. She just appears not hungry for the most part. Basically I can get her to eat bananas (but not a whole one) and cheese (a whole block of that though).

I'm thinking this may be some sort of hunger strike due to being stuck with me as a parent. I would do the same if I were her.

I mentioned it to Jim the other day.

"I can't get Madelyn to eat anything lately! Today she had maybe a bite of cereal, didn't touch her perogies at all for lunch, and then had a piece of cheese later in the afternoon."

"She ate really good for me last night!" He said. "I made her pancakes and sausage. If you ever can't get her to eat anything, make her those things. They never fail."


This is how you create picky eaters. This is how you get the, "My kid is four years old and all he will eat is chicken nuggets and so I have to make him a special meal every single time I cook because he won't eat anything that isn't chicken nuggets. We also have to go out to eat at only places that have chicken nuggets and god help us if any vegetables touch his chicken nuggets. He will freak out so we have to tell the waitress that no vegetables can touch anything on his plate or we will have a meltdown. He doesn't eat vegetables."

I don't hate many things in life, but believe me when I say, I hate THAT kid!

Dear Christy,

You're the meanest person ever! How dare you say that you hate my kid? You don't know me. You don't know what I go through on a daily basis. You haven't walked in my shoes. I'm boycotting your blog and calling CNN right now so the world will know how heartless you are.

Sincerely, a butthurt fan.

Whooaaaa...slow down there "offended over everything" moms of the world. I don't hate YOUR kid personally. If you have to cook two separate meals for every mealtime in your house, that's cool. I'm sure you're getting really well at cooking two meals at the same time, which means you would make an excellent cook at a restaurant if your current job doesn't work out.

I am not going to have a kid like that. I don't cook well enough to make one meal, let alone two meals. Also, that kind of thing just annoys me. As parents, we all have certain things that annoy us the most. Maybe you find wrinkled sheets annoying and so you never let your kids sleep on them.

My #1 biggest annoyance, beyond whining, is picky eaters. I'm good with not liking a few foods. I am not good with not liking anything besides chicken nuggets. I'm not making any separate meals. I'm not telling any waitress crap like, "Make sure that no vegetables touch his food." I'm not ordering special foods that aren't even on the menu because that's just annoying. I'm a waitress. I've seen it....many many many many many times. I want to laugh at parents of these kids....every time.

And I hear you saying, "But my kid will starve to death if he doesn't get his chicken nuggets."

Maybe, but who's fault is that? His. You tried your hardest. It's on him, not you. Don't let yourself feel guilty over the actions of others.

I'm kidding. He won't starve. Trust me. I'm a professional.

Okay, professional Worst Mother of the Year but still....

Jim and I are going to have a long talk about creating a monster in Madi. And also, I've taken it upon myself to throw away all evidence of pancakes or sausage in the house.

Wasteful or not, a mom has to do what a mom has to do. I'm not having THAT kid. I worked really hard at making Savannah NOT be that kid. Sure, now she eats all day every day and anything in sight, including mustard only sandwiches. But at least no waitress ever has to hear, "Please, don't let the vegetables touch the chicken nuggets. He hates that. We cater to everything he desires because he's five and he's in control here. Clearly."

Ughhh...Jim, what are you doing to me?

He hates me. He's trying to ruin my life. That is pretty apparent.

Disclaimer; if your kid has some sort of medical, emotional, or other valid reason for eating only certain foods, please do not sue me. You are obviously excluded.

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The Distraction Method

I'm a big fan of the distraction method with my toddler...mostly because I'm too lazy busy...yeah, busy....too busy to use any parenting expert approved discipline technique. So I use the technique that I will call the "Meltdown Ender". The Meltdown Ender is very successful in almost every toddler tantrum. It rarely worked for my oldest but that is because she was smarter than me by about 12 months.

This isn't to say that Madi isn't smart. She is very smart. But she isn't smarter than me yet. She is easily fooled distracted by shiny objects. Savannah was more like, "I see what you're trying to do mom. I used that on you last week. Nice try though." ....and that was at 15 months old so you can imagine how things have gone downhill since then. She's basically the boss. I've learned to accept it.

That's why I'm such a big fan of the Meltdown Ender technique with Madelyn...because I actually fool her. It's nice to be in control of at least one my children. I think this is how real parents feel with all of their children. I'm calling it a success that I have control of 33% of mine so far. Who knows, maybe Nolan will bring that up to a 66%? Then I will actually start applying for the Mother of the Year Award!!!

Ha ha ha...probably not though.

In case you are interested in the distraction method, also known as the Meltdown Ender, I will give you an example;

Last weekend we bought Madi new shoes. Being horrible, irresponsible, awful parents, we got shoes that were too big for her. Because the world is working against us, Madi saw the shoes and instantly fell in love with them. They are bright orange tennis shoes that I'm sure caught her eye (remember; shiny objects).

Two days ago, I put the shoes on Madelyn and I could tell they were not just a little roomy, but ridiculously too big. As in, she steps out of them when she walks. Before you start thinking to yourself that we are dum-dums for buying THAT too big of shoes, please know that you're completely right. We are dum-dumbs. BUT, they were only one size bigger than the shoes that are getting too small. It was only logical to go to this size.

Despite the fact that she stepped out of them with each step she took, Madelyn insisted on wearing them two days ago. When I said no and took them away and put the purple ones on, she freaked. Started crying, threw herself on the ground, started banging her head on the floor (like that's hurting me?), blah blah blah...basically she did all the cliché toddler tantrum moves.

Being experienced in this toddler drama crap, I didn't get flustered. I expect it now. It makes me laugh. However, that doesn't mean I want to hear it for longer than necessary. The first time mom either tried to hug the screaming toddler or yelled in frustration. And neither of these work by the way. The experienced mom says...drum roll please....

"Madelyn, where is your baby?"

Madelyn instantly stops crying, wipes her eyes, stands up and says, "Where baby go?" And then walks off to find her as if nothing happened.

Tantrum? What tantrum? Nothing to see here. Move along people....

A few minutes later, she comes back with her baby and all is well in my land. It's that easy friends.

But sometimes it doesn't work. For example, the next day- same tantrum over the same issue and the Meltdown Ender did NOT do the trick. I asked where baby was, where her milk was, where the dog was, etc. She wasn't having it.

What do you do when the Meltdown Ender doesn't work?

Lock them in the basement for at least two weeks of course. That should do the trick. They'll learn their lesson for sure!

I'm totally kidding...in case the police question you.

In reality I just put the tantrum throwers in their room and close the door until they calm down. I don't even play beyond trying to distract for a moment. I just let them meltdown alone where I can barely hear it. No negotiations, no yelling, no hugs.....just calm the eff down on your own while mama goes on about her day.

The phase ends, I promise....in 19 years or so. Maybe you should invest in earplugs. I'm good. I have selective hearing that includes tantrums.

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Silly Fights and Sleeping Babies

When you have kids, their needs are suddenly more important than yours. You often have to put yourself last every second of every day. They depend on you and you no longer have the ability to be selfish and only care about yourself.

And I'm not going to lie to you...frankly it sucks.

From time to time anyway.

Jim and I got into a minor disagreement in which I blew up and turned a mountain into a mole hole with my magical drama queen powers that Savannah may or may not have gotten from me. Okay she definitely got her drama queen-ness from me.

Anyway, we got into a fight over his desire to fill up my car with gas. I know what you're thinking, "Well that is definitely a good thing to fight over!" I know. That's what I thought too. I pick my battles but clearly this one is a battle in which no one should ever just let go if they hope to keep their stance in the marriage.

Okay, it sounds like a silly thing to fight over. And it was, but not as silly as one would think. I'll explain myself.

If my grandpa taught me anything, it's that one should not let their gas go beyond the quarter tank level....and really should keep it above a half. Though I technically learned this lesson, I rarely practice it in real life. And by rarely I mean like I have probably let my car get below a quarter tank every single time with the exception of maybe a Wednesday ten years ago. I'm bad. It's always running on E. Every few days, I'm counting the miles on our dash on the "Miles Till Empty" thingy that was invented for people like me.

Anyway, the other night, I counted the miles and was aware that I was good to get back to work the next day with approximately 1.2 miles to spare. So I didn't get gas on my way home. I knew that I would be fine to fill up at the gas station by my work.

Well, Jim gets real paranoid about that type of thing. My grandpa and him would get along well. Actually they do get along well because they are practically twins. This surprises me because I always said that if my grandpa met my grandpa, he would think he was an ass. I love my grandpa very much. He's the funniest, most giving, smartest, most able man that I know. He would do anything for me if I asked. But he's an ass a lot. That's an honest depiction. Jim...well like I said, he's a lot like my grandpa. Hehehe

So when I informed Jim that I had just enough gas to get to work the next day, he said, "Well then I'm leaving early tomorrow to fill it up for you!" This sounds real nice and everything. He is a very nice and giving husband who would literally do anything for me. However, he already had to be up super early and this act of love (and paranoia) would result in him having to get up an hour earlier or so....like maybe 4:30 and it was already midnight by then.

"No, you don't need to get me gas. I have just barely enough!"
"I'm not having you run out of gas in the middle of nowhere at night!"
"I'll be fine! The "Miles Till Empty" thingy always underestimates."
"I'm going to town to get you gas before work!"
"You don't always need to be a martyr you know!!!!"

I stormed off after saying this. He is always a martyr in our marriage. He puts himself wayyyy out there and goes out of his way to do whatever for our family.

I KNOW....this is nice. Everyone wishes their husband would be more like this!!! I'm a stupid, ungrateful, asshole, brat.

No, I'm not!!!! It makes me sad because he inconveniences himself constantly and never allows me to repay the favors for anything. He won't let me be inconvenienced for him. So it irritates me and I call him a martyr all the time. I feel bad that he goes out of his way at times when he doesn't have to.

For the love of God, I wouldn't have run out of gas!

And if I would have, my grandpa would have come and save the day like always. :)

When I stormed off in my magical drama queen fashion (over something soooo stupid), we were outside. I opened the door in a huff like only a drama queen does and then slammed it as hard as I could at midnight! I wanted him to get the point.

I'm totally kidding about slamming the door. It was midnight and my kids were sleeping. I did open it in a huff but then I gently closed it as quietly as I could because it's a loud door when you close it normally.

Then I felt like a dumb-dumb. It's hard to show how angry you are when you storm off and then close the door as slowly as you can. He laughed at me. He told me this later because he knew it would make things worse at the moment. He knew that I couldn't have possibly been that mad if I gently shut the door.

In reality I was pissed. My anger was at Code Red Level.

Unfortunately, my sleeping kids meant more than my anger. And so I put their needs above my own need to dramatically show my anger. It sucked, as it does most of the time, to be unselfish. I wanted to be selfish. I just could not.

And also, I really hate to wake sleeping babies for anything. Not even my need to be dramatic is greater than my dislike of wake my children at midnight.

But next time, I'm going to walk out to the car and slam the door for no reason and then walk into the house....

Just to prove that I'm a mature adult.


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