Kids will be kids, Life, Mornings, NaBloPoMo, parenting

What I Do “Right”, According to My 6 Year Old

Today was my morning to bring the Little Mister to school at Grandma’s House of Remote Learning. We backed out of the garage and waved at Mr. KK in the window. After a few waves I put the car in drive, turned the wheel, and off we went down our long driveway.

“MO-O-O-OM!” Little Mister whined (loudly) from the backseat.

“What is it?” I asked. We literally just left the house, what could be wrong already?

“I didn’t get to say goodbye to Lance,” Little Mister huffed at me. Lance is our neighbor’s dog, a gigantic white horse that barks incessantly at all hours of the day and night. There is no love lost for Lance.

“We didn’t get to say goodbye and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT!” Little Mister yelled, crossing his arms across his chest and scowling out his window.

Ah, yes. Of course it was my fault. You see – we have reached the stage in childhood where everything is my fault. My child literally blames me for every bad and horrific thing that happens. Here are some examples of what has recently been my fault:

  1. Little Mister stubs his toe on the kitchen chair, while I’m 15 feet away at the stove.
  2. The wifi blips and the movie we’re watching cuts out. Totally my fault.
  3. Little Mister is building a tower of animals that is not structurally sound to begin with and the entire thing topples over. MY FAULT.
  4. Little Mister tells me he doesn’t want a cookie, so I put the cookies away. Little Mister then has a tantrum because I put the cookies away without giving him one. Mom’s fault!
  5. Little Mister runs and jumps on a bean bag pile, misses, and bangs his knee on the hardwood floor. Even though I’m in a completely different room, you guessed it: my fault!

So today, when I drove away from our house on our way to school without letting Max say goodbye to the dog who was not even outside, and was told it was my fault, I couldn’t let it go.

“So you not saying goodbye to Lance is my fault?” I ask. Not because I need clarity, but because the accusation is so ridiculous.

“Yep,” he says. “Just like everything else.”

Ouch.

“Let me ask you,” I say, as if I’m talking to a thirty year old, and not my 6 year old who apparently thinks I’m responsible for all of the horrible things in his life. “Is there anything you think I do right?”

Little Mister thinks about this for a minute.

“You cook right,” he says.

Cooking! Ok, I’ll take it.

“Anything else?” I ask.

“Hugging. You hug perfectly right.”

Awww. Now we’re talking.

“What else does Mommy do right?”

“You play with me right,” he says. “And you watch movies the right way.” I’m not quite sure what the right way is to watch movies. Maybe, staying awake? Lying on the couch? Singing all the songs?

“Wow, thank you!” I tell Little Mister. “It makes me feel good to hear all those things that I do right and that not everything is my fault.”

Little Mister sighs, obviously growing tired of our conversation. “You don’t do everything wrong. But it is your fault I didn’t say goodbye to Lance.”

Who was not even outside! I want to scream. But I keep my mouth shut, another thing I do right. Sometimes.

Kids will be kids

Funny things 5 year olds say.

Part of being a parent is watching in awe as your little person learns and grows, and discovers the world around them. Also part of being a parent is cursing the day your child learns to spell and you can no longer talk in C-O-D-E. (Lucky for us, we can still spell out entire conversations to each other.)

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Us being silly with Snapchat (aka: “the button with the ghost on it”

These little sponges pick up on everything around them, even when you think they are engrossed in an episode of Paw Patrol. And out of nowhere they will say the funniest things to you, based on conversations you never knew they were listening to.

In our house, that looks something like this:

Little Mister: “Mom! Come and see this fort me and Daddy built out of blankets!”
Me: “I’ll be right there!”
Little Mister: “It’s so cool! It has an adult area where you can get lots of different beers! You’ll love it!”

And like this:

Mr. kk (to me): “Do you want to share a frosty?”
Little Mister: “Mom, I think Dad is asking you if you want half his beer.”

And this (has nothing to do with beer, thankfully. I don’t want you to get the wrong impression of us):

Little Mister: “Let’s walk down the hallway in order from oldest to youngest. Dad, you go first, then Mom, then me.”
Me: “You heard him, Dad, oldest in the front!”
((Let it be known for the record that Mr. kk is two years my junior))

On talking about The Lion King:

Me: “Was there a bad guy in that movie?”
Little Mister: “Yes! His name was Scarf!”
Me: “You mean Scar?”
Little Mister: “Yes, Scarf.”

On asking him to do anything:

Little Mister: “RELAX, Dad. Jeesh.”

or

Little Mister: “Just calm down, everyone!”

In between telling us yet another food that is now ‘yucky’ and fighting bedtime like it’s his job, the Little Mister is a funny, smart and sweet boy, who keeps us on our toes and keeps us laughing.

Kids will be kids

Aren’t 5 year olds fun sometimes?

Our Little Mister is embracing his independence now that he is “one whole hand” old.

I’ve heard the term “three-nager” but what do we call the 5 year old who knows everything?

We love this kid like crazy, but we’d be lying if we said some of his antics didn’t drive us crazy.

Here are the super fun things going on in our house right now:

Clothing is a thing. He has an opinion about everything that goes on his body. Pants aren’t “cozy” enough. Sweatshirts aren’t an “all day shirt”. His new sneakers are “too hard”.

He. Doesn’t. Go. To. Sleep. Every night there is a song and dance at bedtime. Sometimes it’s too dark. Then it’s too hot. Then he wants Rocco. Then Rocco is moving too much. Then he’s thirsty. Then he wants to ask a question. Then he needs to be tucked in. Then he needs to tell us something. Then…it’s 9:30pm and he’s still not sleeping.

Bionic hearing. This kid hears everything. Let’s just say, we can no longer have adult conversations in the house without someone piping up and asking questions about what we mean, or why so-and-so is doing this or that. So now Mr. KK and I are resigned to talk to each during the times that we’re awake but the Little Mister isn’t. So, for about 5 minutes a day.

We are constantly getting interrupted. When Mr. KK and I do try and have a conversation – what we’re having for dinner, what we’re doing that weekend, nothing deep or meaningful, we save that for our 5 minutes of kid-free time – we are immediately interrupted by an incessant little voice saying, “Mommy. Mommy. Mom. Mom. Mommy. MOOOOOMMMMMYYYYY.” And it doesn’t stop until we answer.

It’s very LOUD in our house. Are kids just programmed to only speak at one decibel: ear-splitting? We could be standing next to the Little Mister and he still yells. Mr. KK downloaded this app that measures how loud is too loud to talk with a cute little emoji that makes a sad face when you talk too loudly that the Little Mister immediately assumed was a game and tried to make the little dial go off the charts. Why do kids talk so damn loudly??

He threatens us. But not well. “If you don’t let me have a snack, you can’t play Paw Patrol with me.” Um….ok?

Everything is NO. It doesn’t matter the question, or what we say to him, his answer is no every single time, and often before we finish. “Let’s wash our hands for dinner.” NO. “Can you put your shoes on?” NO. Sometimes I try and trick him…ask him a bunch of questions in a row, then throw in a “Do you want a snack?” and he’ll say NO and then catch himself. Little bugger.

Five is a hard age. He wants to be a big boy, but he still has little boy tendencies. Which I’m totally okay with, because I want him to be little forever. Which I know is ridiculous, but the thought of a teenager who doesn’t want anything to do with me scares the crap out of me. We had one night last week where the Little Mister was crying for Daddy and NOT Mommy, and my entire night deflated. But he always wants me! Why doesn’t he want me?! I’m crazy, I know.

I just want him to grow up happy and healthy and to be a good human.

Who doesn’t talk so loudly.

Christmas, Elf on the Shelf

I can’t wait for the Elf on a Shelf to return.

I know some of you will cringe when you read this title; not because it’s about the Elf on a shelf (the creator of whom I’m sure receives hate mail) but because I’m talking about CHRISTMAS before Thanksgiving has even happened.

But I love Christmas. And if I didn’t think my family would boycott, the tree would be up and the house would be decorated before Thanksgiving this year. (Thanksgiving is LATE this year, y’all!)

Last year, I spent time debating whether to Elf or not to Elf, and in the end, decided that I wanted to start the Elf on a Shelf tradition because the Little Mister would get a kick of out if. And, if we’re being honest, I had fun with it, too.

I didn’t do anything too crazy with him – like have him poop Hershey Kisses, or make a snow angel in sugar on the counter (who wants to clean that up?), but our Elf, Jack, had enough antics that made the Little Mister smile every morning.

 

I commend him on his appreciation for fine bourbon, and for leaving the house just as he found it.

Jack will arrive on the Friday after Thanksgiving, in a big box from the North Pole addressed to the Little Mister, with a Christmas book and Christmas pajamas inside.

Suggestions on what antics Jack the Elf should find himself up to this year?

Kids will be kids, NaBloPoMo

From the mouth of a 4 year old.

Ah, the uncensored, mostly hilarious – yet sometimes mean – mouth of a preschooler.

If you’re looking for honest feedback, find the nearest 4-year-old. They speak their minds, have no filter. They also pick up on things they hear and that you say to them, then turn around and use those same phrases in shockingly proper ways.

Here are some recent gems:

When he sees a toy commercial or a toy in a catalog. “I would like that toy from Santa! Wait, was is that toy? What does it do? Doesn’t matter, I still want it!”

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“I’ll take one of these, and one of these, and one of these…”

Little Mister was pretending that me and Mr. KK were babies. He woke us up and told us he needed to go to work. He put on my scarf, kissed us both good-bye and said, “Now don’t do anything I wouldn’t do when I was you!”

I was drying him off after his bath, and he ran to the bathroom before we put pajamas on. When he came back, he informed me, “AND, I didn’t even pee on the floor! Well, except that one drop, but that’s right in front of the toilet, so it’s ok.”

Little Mister brought his stuffed monkey in the car with him on the way to daycare. I let him know that he needed to leave his monkey in the car when he went into school. His response, “Ok, but I don’t want your girlfriends playing with my monkey all day.” Oh boy.

 

Never a dull moment in this house!

NaBloPoMo

Since when is the movie theater your second living room?

Fun fact about me: I am HORRIBLE when it come to movie trivia. Unless your questions are about Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman, Meet the Parents, Wedding Crashers, The Hangover or Pitch Perfect (the original), I’m pretty much useless. Don’t ever pick me for a teammate for movie trivia night.

On average, Mr. KK and I average possibly less than one movie per year. Some of you are probably gasping at this, because you frequent the movies and have seen all nominees come awards season. Us? Unless there is a movie that we are dying to see/features one of our most favorite actors, we’ll maybe catch it on tv.

Just because we’re not big movie buffs, we don’t want to project that onto the Little Mister. So today, we took him to his very first movie: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

We really talked this event up to the Little Mister. He has a tendency to be excited about something for a while, but when it’s ‘go time’ – i.e., time to change out of his pajamas and actually leave the house – he all of a sudden doesn’t want to go.

Needless to say, we made this movie event feel better than the second coming of the Lord. And Little Mister was right there with us.

Not being seasoned movie goers, I was under the impression that we could just go to our local movie theater and purchase tickets for the movie that was starting in 20 minutes. You know, how you used to be able to go to the movies. Oh, but no. Now, all off the tickets must be bought online (fine) and you choose your seats ahead of time. When I checked Saturday night, all shows in our theater only had seats in the front row available. I was not taking Little Mister to his first movie experience and making him sit in the neck-ache first row.

We ended up getting online tickets to a theater one town over, where we didn’t have to choose our tickets ahead of time. And guess what? It was fine. In fact, there was only a few families in the theater when we arrived, trough-sized popcorn in hand.

This is when I met the most annoying movie goers on the planet. If I wasn’t with my child, I would have truly said something snarky to them because they deserved it.

Not the best view in this video, but you can see how they have basically moved into the movie theater.

The theater was not large, and all of the seating was accessible by one aisle along the left side of the theater. We found a row that was occupied on one side by a family but had 5 free seats all the way against the wall.

Let me set the scene for you: the family consisted of 7 women of varying ages, who more or less appeared to have moved into the movie theater, claiming the row as their new home. Each one was reclined in the movie seats (fine), legs propped up, pretending people weren’t trying to get into their row. They had brought blankets with them from home (BLANKETS – like the ones from their couches), and the walkway in front of them and the seats was littered with backpacks (yes, BACKPACKS) so much so, that no one could walk through if they tried (let alone my 4 year old who could trip on air).

As I tried to enter the row, the mother hen – who was sitting on the end – looked at me with a look that said, “Really? You’re going to come in our row?” (I could have slapped her on that look alone.)

“Do you think we could get by?” I asked, as Little Mister asked loudly, “Are we going to sit here???”

She looked down the row to the empty seats, then to all of the shit on the floor, then to me. “We figured anyone wanting to sit there would enter from the other side.” She said, then went back to sipping her soda.

“This is the only way into the row,” I pointed out.

She made a half-hearted attempt to look down the aisle and then back at me. Her little brood at there avoiding looking at us, staring at their phones and stuffing popcorn in their faces.

“Come on, buddy,” I said to Little Mister, guiding him up the stairs. “We’ll find another place to sit.”

“Yeah,” the mother said to me. “That would probably be best.”

ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME????

We sat in the row behind them, close enough that I could hear her nasally, annoying voice, but far enough away that I could shoot secret looks to Mr. KK and complain about her.

I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that the movies were now a place where you practically MOVED IN with your family wearing basically pajamas (as an adult) and bringing half of your living room blankets with you.

Annoying family aside, Little Mister had a great first time at the movies! I’m pretty sure the big tub of popcorn was his favorite part of the day, but he was totally into the movie. He didn’t say a word from the time the lights went down until they came back up

We’re ready for the next movie, and now we’re prepared. I know I need to buy and reserve seats at some theaters a week ahead of time, and I know the family that we need to avoid at all costs. Oh, and we’ll be leaving our blankets at home, thank you very much.

Kids will be kids, NaBloPoMo

Mourning the loss of the Afternoon Nap

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This past spring, the KK household mourned the loss of a beloved and loyal friend, who could provide endless hours of enjoyment, was trustworthy and a true partner when it came to raising the Little Mister.

We will miss you, Afternoon Nap.

We understand that we had you around much longer than other families; Little Mister enjoyed you until he was three-and-a-half. And not only did he enjoy spending time with you (for 3 hours at a time), but after Little Mister had an afternoon nap, he was always in such a great mood. You were really, really good for him.

Because when you were taking care of Little Mister, Mr. KK and I were task masters, getting so much done around the house. Mr. KK spent quite a bit of time doing yard work, and I would shop and cook for the week. You were so reliable, we knew we could count on you.

Alas, we knew it was too good to be true, and that you had already stayed longer than we had anticipated. You were gracious about it; you had slowly started to disappear: a Saturday afternoon here, a Tuesday there. We sensed you pulling away from us, and we adjusted our tenuous grip on you, hoping to selfishly hold onto you for a little bit longer.

But then one day, you were gone.

And boy, do we miss you.

When you first left us, it was hard on Little Mister. He would try his hardest to stay awake until dinnertime, but we’d often find that the minute he’d be strapped into his car seat after a long day, it would only take a matter of minutes before we’d find him snoozing.

We did find ourselves with fewer time restraints on weekends; we didn’t have to wait until after your visit to do an activity, or stop what we were doing in the morning because you were coming over. But we still missed you.

Today, you are a mere distant memory. If I close my eyes, I can almost remember what it was like to have you visit on weekends; all of the cooking and meal prep I was able to do, catching up on the bills and mail, and even getting chores done.

So we officially bid you good-bye, dear nap, please know how much you are missed.

Kids will be kids, NaBloPoMo

The preschooler rating system.

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My rating tonight after shutting the TV and announcing it was time to start our bedtime routine.

If you live in my house, you are constantly aware of the type of job you’re doing not only as a parent, but as a human being. Why? Because our preschooler has developed a very detailed rating system that puts Yelp and Rotten Tomatoes to shame.

That’s right, at any given time, Mr. KK and I are given immediate ratings and feedback, delivered through the complex rating system knows as: Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down.

Imagine if you could use this rating system as adults in real life???

When your waiter at a restaurant asks how you like your meal, you could give him a big Thumbs Down.

At work, when someone in a meeting throws out a ridiculous idea, you simply reply with Two thumbs Down.

And, after a decent first date, instead of the awkward kiss at the front door, you can give them an enthusiastic Two Thumbs Up!

But back to parenting.  Just how does one earn this prestigious Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down rating? I’m glad you asked!

Here are just a few ways you can earn a Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down rating in our house:

  • Ask Little Mister to wash his hands before dinner. Rating: Thumbs down.
  • Shut off the TV when it’s time to go to bed. Rating: Two thumbs down.
  • Say yes to dessert. Rating: Two thumbs up.
  • Announce that it’s bath night. Rating: Thumbs down.
  • Ask Little Mister to brush his teeth. Rating: Thumbs down.
  • Remind Little Mister that he needs to put shoes on to go to school. Rating: Thumbs down.
  • Read two books before bed. Rating: Two thumbs up.
  • Mr. KK and I try to have an adult conversation. Rating: Two thumbs down.
  • Limit TV intake to a normal amount. Rating: Two thumbs down.
  • Try and hold hands in a busy parking lot. Rating: Thumbs down.
  • Give Little Mister the ‘Thumbs Down’. Rating: Two thumbs down.

Not everyone can have this educational rating system in their house. In order to do so, you must have a very opinionated preschooler with a strong will and award-winning frown face.

My current rating: Thumbs medium. I’ll take it!

NaBloPoMo

When a foodie needs to feed a toddler.

He enjoys twirling his ‘noodles’ like a true Italian.

Tonight, right before I put our dinner on the table, my Little Mister said to me, “Mommy, you make the BEST dinners!”

This warmed my heart, and I happily accepted this compliment, even though I had just plated the most typical four-year-old’s meal: chicken nuggets and steamed carrots (not really a dinner I was going to win any awards for).

I love food. I love cooking and I love eating out. I love trying new recipes at home, and tasting restaurant’s signature dishes. I’m a self-proclaimed (non snobby) foodie. I just enjoy good food.

So when the Little Mister came along, I couldn’t wait to bestow my knowledge and love of good food on my impressionable son.

One of my favorite parts of babyhood was when it was time for Little Mister to start trying solid foods. Each weekend I would steam and purée new foods, package and freeze them in single servings. Apples! Carrots! Sweet potatoes!

And the Little Mister loved every bite. In fact, the only food I couldn’t get him to like – despite weeks of trying – was avocado (how is that possible??)

Then we moved onto combination foods: puréed chicken soup, beef stew and veggies and chick peas.

As someone who loves food, and loves cooking, Little Mister’s love of food made me want to cry tears of joy. We were doing something right! Our child liked to eat different foods!

We progressed from there. Shrimp. Zucchini. Meatloaf. There was nothing he wouldn’t eat (except avocado, still).

But as time went on, and we entered ‘toddlerhood’ (cue maniacal laugh), my good little eater was nowhere to be found.

Suddenly, foods that he used to love, were met with a loud, “Blecch!” (even before a morsel was tasted).

Right before my very eyes, my wide-eyed little foodie lost his sophisticated palette, and almost over night we entered the dreaded chicken nugget phase.

There are about a dozen meals we can rotate for dinners, including:

  • Chicken soup (if it’s homemade only, and doesn’t have any “green things” in it)
  • Chicken nuggets (we prefer dino nuggets, and don’t even think about trying to pass off a genuine chicken cutlet in small shapes off to him, it will be met with, “Mom, what IS this?”
  • Hot dogs
  • Meatloaf (most of the time, as long as there’s lots of ketchup)
  • Scrabled eggs
  • Pancakes
  • Grilled cheese (it’s hit or miss with the grilled cheese, which we are sometimes told is “only a lunch food”)
  • Spaghetti with butter and cheese
  • Pasta with sauce (depends on the shape of the pasta, how soft the pasta is (he prefers al dente) and whether or not there is visible basil or oregano “green stuff” in the sauce
  • Meatballs
  • Mac and cheese (He prefers blue box, I prefer Annie’s)
  • Salmon (every third time I make it, as long as it’s drowning in lemon and there’s a promise of dessert if he finished)

We are lucky in that he does eat some vegetables: carrots, broccoli, string beans (sometimes) and peas.

When I think back to my childhood, I distinctly remember eating a cheese and mustard sandwich every day for lunch for 3 years straight in junior high. I’m pretty sure we had the same dinners each week on rotation. And I’m the first person who wants to order octopus at a restauarnt, or enjoy a big bowl of midnight pasta (made with anchovies).

So, there is hope for my Little Mister after all. And for me to keep my ‘best dinner-maker’ award.

Uncategorized

Three was almost the end of me.

I mentally prepared my self for the “terrible twos”. It’s all you hear about coming out of the bliss of an 18-month old who smiles and laughs and reminds you of why you had children.

But two came and went, and it was just as awesome as the “ones”. Little Mister was a late bloomer – he didn’t even take his first steps until he was 18 months old! – so he was as smiley and easy going as he was a year earlier.

And then…three.

Oh, for all things holy…THREE.

Why doesn’t anyone tell you about three? I feel they focus so much on the ‘terrible twos’ that they gloss right over three. I found out the nomenclature for three – the “threenager” – and oh, we were so good at being a threenager in this house.

Oh, the wonderfulness of the Threenager at dinner. (That’s homemade sauce and meatballs, y’all)

Tantrums? CHECK.

Potty training ignorance? CHECK.

Mastering the word “NO!”? CHECK.

Testing my every last patience and nerve? CHECK, CHECK, CHECK!

It was like a unknown force – let’s call it a demon for lack of a better term – took over our child’s body. Gone was our sweet, innocent, laughing, lovable boy.

In his place? The Threenager: with enough attitude to make a 15-year-old misunderstood girl blush.

Things that upset our Threenager included (but are in no way limited to):

• Short-sleeved shirts
• Four chicken nuggets instead of five in his dish
• Mondays
• When you tried to help him
• When you let him do things on his own
• When you asked what he wanted for dinner
• When he asked for something and we said ‘yes’
• When we wouldn’t let him eat candy for breakfast
• When he’d ask for pancakes and I’d make him pancakes
• When I’d cut his sandwich into squares and not triangles
• When we asked him to wash his hands (this still upsets him)
• When he wouldn’t get his way
• When he did get his way

Oh, and the list goes on.

A month ago, we hit the a big milestone: LM TURNED FOUR.

I didn’t want to be disillusioned. Would a switch be flipped? Would the Threenager be behind us forever?

Or, would it just go on? Terrible Twos, Threenager…what was next?

Any chance it’s the “Fantastic Fours” ???