Well, it’s been months since my last post. I have to apologize for that. I really don’t have an excuse other than life got in the way. I can’t tell you how many times I sat down to write and just couldn’t focus long enough to actually finish a thought. I had so many good ideas and things I wanted to write about, but not enough time. So here I am, apologizing yet again for a long absence. I do hope that doesn’t happen again anytime soon.
Now, on to other things. We have been working very hard on potty training my son. He’s done great… with exception of pooping on the potty. He still insists on pooping in a diaper. I don’t know why and he can’t explain it, but he refuses to sit on the potty to poop. It really has been a struggle and I’ve tried to be patient, however I am tired of changing diapers. It’s one of the major reasons I’m glad Mr. X is our last baby. I’m past the point where I really want to deal with diapers and wipes. He’ll be four in a couple of weeks and I have been pushing so hard for him to be fully potty trained by then. It hasn’t worked, at all. He still puts up a good fight and ultimately I don’t want him to be afraid to poop, so I give in and he gets a diaper.
The other night we had a long discussion about how he can poop on the potty and it’ll be great. I let him know how proud I’d be if he would just try to go on the potty. He shook his head and insisted that there was “no more poop inside”. That’s been his favorite excuse lately. He swears that he’ll never need to poop again because he’s already squeezed it all out. It’s rather cute listening to him explain this. He finished explaining his lack of poop and then bounced off to his room. About an hour later he comes out of his room, stomps into the bathroom and then heads back to his room. He’s in his room for maybe ten more minutes before coming back out.
As a parent I just know when they’ve done something horrible. I can tell by the way they walk and the expressions on their faces. This was one of those moments. Mr. X had this look. The look that says “I did something bad and don’t want to tell you”. To further his point, he maneuvers himself into the corner between his room and the bathroom. Of course he doesn’t say a word. He just looks at me.
- Me: “What’s up buddy?”
- Mr. X.: “Look” he points to his room
- Me: cringing “What happened?”
At this point I really don’t want to get up and look. I figure if I can ask enough questions maybe my husband will get up and look. If he looks, he has to deal with the issue. Typically this tactic works, but not this round. My dear husband is completely ignoring the situation.
- Mr. X: “Just looooook…. messy.”
- Me: sigh “Alright…”
I got up and headed toward his bedroom. In my head I’m hearing the Imperial March (We’ve been on a Star Wars kick in my house lately). It feels like I’m walking to my doom. As I get closer I can smell it. He stinks like no other. I peek into his room as he points to his floor. Right there, smack dab in the middle of the floor is a trail of poop. I kinda lost it there. I don’t really know what I said or how I managed to find the carpet cleaner and disinfectant. I do know there was a lot of slamming of cupboards and stomping of feet.
I managed to get the carpet cleaned and then moved on to the boy. We marched into the bathroom and I find more mess. There, in the middle of the bathroom floor is a pile of clothes. I can tell they have been somehow tarnished by poop. I look a little closer and sure enough, there inside the underwear is a lemon sized poop squished into a chocolate kiss shape.
- Me: “What did you do?!”
- Mr. X: “I change my pants” he just shrugs.
At the time I didn’t think it was cute. Looking back now I can appreciate that he was only trying to help. He did what he thought he should do. I just wish he’d have grabbed me before changing his own pants.
- Me: “Did you wipe your bum?”
- Mr. X: “No… I’m still squishy mom.”
Uggh. So not only did the boy poop in his pants, but he also got it on the bedroom carpet, bathroom floor and dirtied another set of clothes. Yeah, it was working out to be a great night. I pulled off his pants and got him all cleaned up and changed into pajamas. I marched him to his bedroom and tucked him in for a video before bed.
- Me: “Alright buddy, you stay here and I’m going to take a bath. Do not leave your room.”
- Mr. X: “I’m sorry momma… “
- Me: starting to thaw just a little “It’s fine, but you have to learn to poop on the potty.”
I gave him snuggles and then headed off for some much needed seclusion. Sometimes you just gotta walk away to maintain your sanity. Usually the kids know to leave me alone when I’m in the bath. That’s mommy time and they get in trouble for interrupting. Evidently, Mr. X didn’t think it applied at the time. About 20 minutes later there’s a knock at my door.
- Mr. X: “Mommy, I sorry. You come out now?”
- Me: “I’ll be there in a bit, go back to you room.”
Another five minutes pass and he knocks again.
- Mr. X: “Ok Momma, time to come out. I need snuggles.”
How can anyone resist that?! Angry or not, you don’t pass up snuggles. I drained the tub, got ready for bed and headed back into my room. There on my bed, snuggled with my special blanket that Miss Lulu gave me for Christmas, was my little Mr. X. Sound asleep. I crawled in next to the guy and cuddled him. All my frustration and anger was gone. It didn’t take long for me to drift into my own poop free dreamland.
The next day my sister, who happens to nanny for me, sent me a text.
- Sister: “Mr. X just asked to poop on the potty!”
- Me: “Seriously?!”
- Sister: “Yep and he did! No hesitation!”
Alright, so maybe just maybe pooping on the floor solved the problem. Who knew that all it would take was seeing poop on the floor for him to realize that the potty was a much better idea?
It’s June right? I mean, we’re like four days away from Summer Solstice. This is the time of year when things start turning green, flowers are in bloom and we can spend hours each evening outside just enjoying the longer days. I repeat, it’s June.
So why, when I look out my window, do I see this:
Pretty crazy huh? Especially since I took this photo yesterday…
Earlier this year our dog Max was terribly sick. We spent a month just trying to get him diagnosed. Thankfully our amazing vet was able to get him the right medicine and he’s perfectly fine. When she’s stressed, Lexi writes. This is the note Miss Lulu sent to our vet:
“Dear Dr. Lawson,
Max is worrying us. He has been coughing. Please give my mom and Dad good news not bad news. I will be praying. Please take very good care of Max. He is a very very special dog.
The Gladeau Family”
My daughter came home from school the other day absolutely distraught. She tossed her bag down and grumbled about something or other. Now, as the parent of a very emotional 2nd grade girl, I know better than to ask what’s caused her so much distress. But… I’m kind of a curious person. I know I know, curiosity killed the cat and all that. But I can’t seem to help myself.
- Me: So… what’s wrong?
- Miss Lulu: Well. Carley and I broke up. Again. (crosses her arms and scowls) We aren’t friends anymore.
- Me: Oh… I see. Why?
- Miss Lulu: Because I wanted to play with Logan but Logan doesn’t like Carley because she always tells him what he has to be when we play. So I had to either play with Carley or Logan. She wasn’t happy when I played with Logan. We’re not friends anymore.
Alright, I get that this happens all the time. She and Carley have been on and off friends for the past two years. Carley often requires 100% attention from her friends. It happens and Lex will feed into that. She likes to make everyone happy. She’ll even schedule one recess with Carley and one with her other friends. She really tries and it upsets her when Carley “breaks up” with her. Now, I get that I have to look at this from a few different angles in order to help Lex make her own choices and hopefully learn how to build strong friendships, but that’s not always easy.
You see, I’m kind of socially awkward. Throw me in a room of strangers and I shrivel up like an orchid left without water in the desert. I can’t just go up to someone and introduce myself, let alone initiate an actual conversation. When I know I have an event that requires me to be social, I have panic attacks and nightmares for days prior to the engagement. It’s awful and I’ve always been that way. So making friends as a child wasn’t really my strong point. Sure I managed to make a few but more often than not I felt like an outsider. I did my best to fit in where I could but just felt like I barely kept my head above water socially. It was horrible and I remain scarred from the whole thing. I’ve grown quite a bit and because of my job I can now fake my way through it. I can force myself to plaster a smile across my face and talk with people… when I have to. If I can avoid it, I certainly do. But I am thankful I have gained some skills in the area. I’ve made some great friends who I treasure every day.
When Lex started kindergarten my worst fear was that she wouldn’t make friends. That she would feel that horrible petrifying fear when dumped into a room of kids she’d never met. She did alright. She made a few friends throughout the year but no really close friends. Of course, that was kindergarten and I didn’t expect her to meet her lifelong best friend there. It’s possible sure, but not probable. Once school was out she lost touch with all of her friends over the summer. When she started 1st grade it was horrible. She had zero friends and she cried for the first three days of school. This was one of the many reasons we switched schools. At the new school she had her cousin and one of her friends from preschool, Logan. It was amazing to see him greet her that first day. He jumped out of his seat and gave her a giant hug. It was a wonderful way to start at a new school.
Throughout that year Lex made many more friends. She had a decent bunch at her birthday party and was invited to a few parties. Sure she ran into troubles much like the Carley situation, but they were fewer then. Over that summer she didn’t see any of her friends. She was somewhat sad about this, but she made it through fine. She had Girl Scouts and a million different family events to keep her busy. This year, she went back to school with a smile on her face and a positive attitude. She was ecstatic to see her friends, especially Logan.
The year has gone by fairly well, with exception of these Carley incidents. To be fair, they aren’t all about Carley specifically. She runs into the problem with a few of the girls in her class. She’ll come home one day upset because this friend wouldn’t let her play with that friend or they won’t let her play with Logan because he’s a boy. So how do I handle these issues? How do I explain to my 8-year-old daughter that she really should choose her own friends? How do I convince her that she’s strong enough to make a stand against these controlling girls? And while I want her to make her own choices and stand up against the Carley’s of the world, I don’t want her to lose the friends she does have. I don’t want her to feel those horrible feelings of being excluded. I don’t want her to grow up without friends but, I certainly want her to be her own person. I want her to be confident in who she is and her abilities that she can say no to the Carley’s of the world.
Part of me really just wanted to tell her that people like Carley aren’t really the greatest friends, but I also realize they are only 8 and just barely developing their own personalities. This year Carley may be a controlling and jealous friend, but next year… she could be the shy girl in the corner feeling excluded. My overly protective side wanted to tell her she’d be better off without Carley as a friend, that the whole situation is in fact Carley’s fault. Of course, my rational side kicked in and reminded me that I was wrong. Carley could have definitely handled the situation better, but so the same could be said for Lexi. I reminded myself that while Carley was the one angry with everyone, Lexi could have been the one to listen to her. Maybe Carley was just worried she’d lose Lexi to a different group of friends. Maybe she was jealous of the close friendship Lex and Logan share. Maybe Carley is really the insecure girl in this situation. There are a million different things that went through my head. Things are rarely black and white. People aren’t always who they seem to be on the outside. So from a parental standpoint, how do I explain to my 8-year-old daughter, the fine balance between being a good friend and being your own person? I honestly don’t know. These are the moments I wish kids came with an instruction manual. It’s been a few weeks and though we’ve actually addressed the situation, I still don’t have the perfect words.
So what did I tell my daughter? Well, I reminded her that yes, she can be friends with anyone she wants. That friendship isn’t a non-renewable resource. Friendship should be nurtured and shared. I reminded her of her commitment to make the world a better place and by sharing her friendship with others, she is doing that. I told Lex that Carley may just need reassured that she’s not going to abandon Carley for her other friends. We talked about how to include Carley with the other kids and how to get everyone to work together. And ultimately, I reminded Lexi that she is in charge of herself, actions and words. If she truly feels that Carley is overly demanding, jealous or controlling, then it’s not a healthy relationship and she needs to walk away.
After the “loooongg talk” (as Lexi called it) we hugged and I thanked her for sharing her problems with me. I told her that no matter what was happening at school or with her friends, I’m here for her. I wanted her to know that I’m not perfect and I won’t always have the answers, but I am here to listen whenever she needs me. In the end, as parents, that’s all we can do. She needs to grow into her own person and in the process she’s going to face so many challenges. I can’t protect her from everything, but I can certainly do my best to help her along the way.
If you haven’t already noticed from my posts, my life is a bit busy and somewhat chaotic at times. Okay, well most of the time. I spend 99% of my time doing something. Whether that’s creating a project with my kids, playing a game, running errands in town or planning my next Girl Scout meeting, I am consistently busy. I rarely have downtime and when I do have a few moments, I like to spend them with my family. I love being a Mom. It’s truly the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. With all this chaos in my world, there are definitely things that slip through the cracks and even those I intentionally put off. In particular, I push aside my housework.
When you enter my house you won’t see an immaculate sitting room. You won’t see granite counter tops or gorgeous tile flooring. You won’t see expensive vases or sculptures. I don’t have paintings worth more than my life savings on the wall. What you will see is a lovely home. You will see my son’s snow boots kicked to the side of the door, as if he ran right out of them. My daughter has likely tossed her winter coat over the back of the couch and dropped her school bag on the floor. My dining table is cluttered with markers, crayons and construction paper. My walls hold pieces of art that are priceless only to me. The counter tops in my kitchen inevitably have remnants of jelly toast or peanut butter sandwiches. My floors? My floors are strewn with toys. If you’re not careful you may step on a Lego.
You will see my home. You will see where my children play, create and use their imaginations. You may even be lucky enough to see one of Ms. Lulu’s science experiments in progress. You will see where my son learns his alphabet and numbers. You will see where they sing and dance. You will see the blankets they use when they curl up and read their books. Is my house a spotless showroom? Nope. Not at all. In fact, I couldn’t tell you the last time I cleared off the computer desk. However, it is a home. It is a place where my kids can just be kids. They can let their imaginations roam and create pieces of art. They can ice cupcakes without fear of a mess on the floor. They can leave a science experiment on the counter for four days hoping they grow diamonds.
Is my home a complete disaster? Of course not. It’s a clean and tidy home for my family. I just don’t come home every day and spend hour upon hour cleaning. I refuse to spend the short time I have in the evenings cleaning up the chaos. I would much rather teach my daughter to play Yahtzee or try to out roar my son who seems to think he’s a dinosaur this week. I want my kids to remember spending time together. I want them to grow up and look forward to teaching their kids what happens when you mix vinegar and baking soda. I don’t want them to be so concerned about the mess that they miss these fun moments. I don’t want to be so caught up in cleaning and organizing that I miss these moments. I refuse to worry about cleaning up the mess while they are small and still full of wonder. The mess will be there tomorrow. I can always clean it then. My children will only be children once and I will miss that when it’s gone. I certainly won’t trade that for a spotless home.
My daughter started daycare at 3 months old and has been exposed to other kids her entire life. She attends public school, Girl Scouts and many other outside activities. One of the major fears I have always had as a parent was dealing with those childhood epidemics. No, not chickenpox or the flu. I can deal with the itchies and puke. I fear things like pink eye. The things that spread like wildfire. At first it’s just one child and within minutes you have an entire class infected. I know that pink eye is totally curable and really, if I think about it, it’s one of the less gross afflictions of childhood. But the whole idea of an oozy eye and having to put eye drops in my child’s eyes while they are screaming… yeah I’ll take puke any day.
In prior years we’ve lucked out. We had one bout of pink eye with our son when he was a year old. That was not my idea of fun, but thankfully my husband handled the majority of that. This year… we were not as lucky. While my husband was out of town, I had to combat my nemesis of childhood ailments. Well, not so much an ailment but rather an infestation. Yep. I had the pleasure of treating my daughter for head lice. Ugh! Did you just cringe? I know I did. The mere mention of head lice gives me the creeps. Even as I write this, my head is itching and we’ve been clear for three weeks. Something about little bugs crawling around my scalp just freaks me out. That and it takes FOREVER to treat for them. I remember how long it took when we ended up with it as kids. It was awful. So when the school called me and informed me they were sending home the majority of my daughter’s class, I could have cried.
I got the call on a Friday at like 9am and it went something like this…
- Secretary: Hi, I have Alexis here in the office. It seems we’re facing our third outbreak of head lice for the second grade class. (I was cringing at this point. My stomach had pretty much dropped and I was about halfway to a panic attack. Yes. I realized it could be worse and I was totally acting crazy.) I’m not certain she has lice but she does have some red marks behind her ears. Now, it could be her headband she’s been wearing all day. She’s not sure. But we just don’t want to take a chance.
- Me: Oh I can’t blame you. Either the nanny or I will come get her as soon as possible.
- Secretary: Thank you. Like I said, I don’t know for sure. We’ve just been hit so hard with it this year…
- Me: Yeah, I understand. It’s nothing to mess around with at all.
- Secretary: Thanks. I’ll see you when you get here.
So there was a chance it wasn’t lice. My mind was racing. I had checked her not but two days prior. It was all part of our daily process. When we received a notice the school had the first lice outbreak, I went through the whole lecture with my daughter. “Don’t share brushes or hair ties… or hats or anything that touches your head. Do not rub heads with your friends. You really don’t want bugs in your hair do you?!” Of course, that totally freaked her out. I strive not to pass my crazy onto my kids, but in this case, I made an exception. My daughter’s hair is just as thick as mine is and I really did not want to have to pick through it with a nit comb. We started a daily process of looking through her hair. I could not believe I had missed it. I had failed to catch something so vital. I was in a full panic as I explained to my boss that I had to leave work. My heart was racing and I was about to have a major breakdown… in public.
I raced to my car and dialed my sister. I rushed through an explanation and let her know we would be spending the afternoon decontaminating. If Lexi had it then chances were her house was contaminated too. After hanging up with her I took off toward the school. Thankfully, her school is about 10-15 minutes from work so I had time to calm myself. By the time I had gotten to the school I was in a much better place. I could breathe and I didn’t feel like a total failure. I was still holding out hope it was just her headband. I had a brief discussion with the secretary…
- Secretary: Thanks for coming to get her. I’m just not sure if she has anything. We are just being precautions. We’ve never had an outbreak this bad. This round it’s only in the second grade class thankfully.
- Me: No problem. I’ll take her home and get her checked out. If she has it we’ll get her treated.
- Secretary: Oh good. Also, please remember the second treatment a week later. I guess that’s a piece a lot of people skip and it’s pretty vital.
- Me: Oh you don’t need to worry. I take lice very seriously. She won’t be back until she’s clear and then we will treat her again later.
- Secretary: Thanks! We really do appreciate it.
Once I had Lexi in the car and started for home, she was fairly worried.
- Lex: So… if I have lice what does that mean?
- Me: Well, that you need to have your head treated and we’ll get rid of it.
- Lex: But… you just checked me.
Yeah, she said it and it made me feel awful.
- Me: Yeah baby I know. Maybe I missed something. But it’s okay. We’ll take care of it.
- Lex: But it’s fireman day at school. I’m going to miss the firemen.
She was very upset about that which just made me feel worse. Not only had I missed the creepy crawlies on her scalp but I had also ruined fireman day for her. Great.
- Me: I’m sorry Lex. We’ll go visit them another day. I’m sure that will be more fun.
- Lex: Yeah.
The rest of the trip was quiet. She was upset over firefighters and I was chastising myself for missing the little monsters. When we got home my sister had already started the process of quarantining anything that may be contaminated. We checked out Lexi’s head and sure enough, she had eggs behind her ears and at her neckline. I had failed. That’s all I could think. I had missed a live creepy crawly and it had laid its nasty little eggs all over my daughter’s head. I had ruined fireman day for her. Instead of having fun meeting the firefighters, she would be stuck getting her head treated for the next several hours. I was a bad parent.
We spent the next four hours treating her. Shampoo, rinse, comb, rinse. She was such a trooper. Regardless that it took three plus hours to comb through her hair, she stayed positive. I have to say, she handled it much better than I did at her age. While I worked through her hair, my dear sister worked through mountains of laundry and stuffed animals. We cleaned and cleaned the house. Neither of us wanted to take a chance of it spreading. We were on a mission to eradicate their kind.
It’s been a few weeks and so far, everyone else is clear. Looking back at it, I realize that I was a bit harsh on myself. I did what I could to keep her from getting it and that is all I could do. I don’t blame myself. It’s just one of those things that happens. I get that. I know that we did what we could to prevent an infestation. It happened and we made it through the whole mess. Of course, I still hate the buggers. They still creep me out beyond belief and I have my sister check my head daily. However, I do know that they do not want to face me again. For I am Mom. Giver of hugs, kisser of owies and executioner of lice.