When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace. – Hyrum Smith


Jesus Christ makes chickens!

"Jesus Christ!" Parker exclaimed (and not in a loving way either). My jaw dropped. I asked him where he'd heard people use that phrase. He told me the names of some friends (who shall forever remain nameless, so don't even ask).

He kept saying "Christ! Christ! Christ!" all night. I waited until bedtime to address the issue. As I was tucking him in, I said, "You know, Jesus has another name...Did you know that? Sometimes He's called Christ."

Parker nodded.

"And God told us in His Word, the Bible, He doesn't want us to use His name in a bad or mean way or when we're mad."

Parker looked confused. "But we say, 'Jesus Christ' when we're mad."

"No. We can't say that when we're mad."

Parker suggested, "We could say 'Jesus Goust...'"

"No, that sounds a lot like Jesus Christ. We can say His name when we're praying; we just don't want to use His name when we're mad."

Parker: "We could say, 'Jesus makes chickens!'"

"Ummm..." (What the heck?)

Parker insisted, "No, we can say, 'Jesus makes chickens!' when we're happy. It's a good thing to say."

(Sigh). "Okay, we can say, 'Jesus makes chickens!' when we're happy."

Lesson learned? Probably not tonight.

Where's My Underwear? - Part II

Bubble baths are a thing of the past. These days, I lock the kids in our room with me, leave our bathroom door open, hop in the shower, and am out in under 4 minutes.

Then I begin the clean-up process. Amazing what can happen in 4 minutes.

Part of the process includes picking up my hastily discarded clothes and putting them in the hamper. Only, recently, I couldn't find my underwear. I didn't understand it. Why wasn't it with my jeans in a pile on the bathroom floor? Where could it be?

Did I mention Maddie likes to play dress-up? Lovely little girl, but underwear worn as a necklace? Just not a good look for you, honey.


Just me?

Is it just me? Or do other parents "lose it," too? I mean, really. You all seem so darned perfect at playgroup or at the park or at the zoo...Do you scream - ever?

I can hold it together for a certain amount of time, and then bam! I find myself yelling.

Today we were preparing to visit some preschools that Parker might attend in the fall. He was sooo excited. It was adorable. He packed his backpack with things he might need...a book, some binoculars, snacks, his blankie, etc. He got dressed. He practiced pulling his underwear up and down (as he understands he must be fully potty trained to attend school). He was completely ready to go by 7am.

Our first appointment was at 9:15.

You can imagine just how antsy he became as time passed. I tried to explain that I needed to get myself and Maddie ready, prepare breakfast, pack a diaper bag, print directions, etc. He groaned, "Mommy, this is taking forever!"

Then the fighting began. He wanted the stupid play keyboard Maddie was holding. I calmly told him to find something he could trade her. I repeated myself about a zillion times and helped him make successful trades about a dozen times. Of course, he would put the toy down, move on, and then wail when she picked it up again. This went on and on and on. Finally they seemed content, so I darted upstairs to throw on my clothes. Then I heard Maddie's distinctive he-snatched-a-toy-from-me-scream.

I had had it. I bellowed (and I mean bellowed) as I bolted down the stairs, "I HAVE HAD ENOUGH! Sounds like SOMEONE isn't ready to go to preschool! Because at preschool you have to know how to share! And clearly, YOU do not!"

Wounded. That was his little expression. Tears welled in his big blue eyes. "I'm so sorry, Mommy! I can share. Please let me go to preschool! I really want to go! I'm really sorry."

Knife in my heart. I knelt and held out my arms. I rocked him and apologized and together, we started our day over again.

What terrible and awesome power we have as parents. Oh, let it be my daily prayer I don't abuse it.


Demon Child

Maddie was my "Angel baby." The kind the books wrote about...fed easily, slept well, smiled all the time. She was just plain easy.

Recently, however, she has woken from her naps, screeching, flailing, making gutteral, growling sounds, and stiffening (when held). I thought perhaps she had more teeth coming in, maybe an ear infection. But now I'm pretty sure the only logical conclusion is demon-possession.

See, all of her teeth are in. She does't have any of the other symptoms that accompany an ear infection (lies down for nap easily, no fever, etc.).

Now, I'll admit my only experience with the possessed consisits of watching the Excorcist, but Maddie really does bear a striking resemblance to Regan during these fits.

Maybe if I put some holy water in her sippy...

Psychic Abilities

I'm pretty sure I have them. Read on.

Yesterday, after running a few errands, I decided to take the kids to a new park. I simply searched on the GPS for the closest "park" to our final errand. I knew the minute we pulled up, this was not going to be a "mommy-friendly" park (no benches, infant swings, toddler equipment, etc.). In fact, there was no playground equipment period. Well, today would be the day to broaden Parker's definition of "park" to include more than just jungle gyms and slides.

We entered the gate and ran through a grassy field. We came upon an awesome tree whose enormous branches began right at the ground - great for climbing! Then, I saw it...the hill. Muddy, steep, treacherous, taking us down, down, down to deep, dark, damp paths below.

That is when my psychic powers kicked in. I could see in my mind's eye, the three of us trudging back up the hill a mere 30-45 minutes later. Parker would be crying he didn't want to leave. Maddie would be in my arms, horizontally (kicking and screaming).

And don't you know it, we went down anyway? Yup! We slipped and slid across mossy bridges, splashed in mud puddles, and ran down paths bordered with tall, spooky reeds.

I think my vision was a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as I knew we only had so much time to play before lunch and nap. Of course they'd be cranky. So, yes, going back up the hill was much as I'd envisioned.

Still, I'm glad we took the road less traveled by [toddlers and mommies], for that has made all the difference.


No, Honey.

Today in the van, Parker was pretending to be me. I decided to take on the role of Parker and give him a taste of his own medicine. I wailed for gumballs. I insisted I needed to get out of the van immediately. I disrespectfully told him, "Yes you will [comply with my demands]!"

Unfortunately, this little social experiment blew up in my face. Parker, acting as me, was very calm and consistent. That part was good.

The bad part was how annoying he was (I am). He never raised his voice, but it was sickeningly sweet. Plus, he never said, 'yes.' Ever. All of his responses were as follows:

No, honey.
I'm sorry, honey.
That would be a 'no.'
That means time-out.
No, honey.
No, honey.
Sorry, honey.
No, honey.
If you do that [hit me], I will lock you in your room [close the door with a childproof lock].
If you do that [throw things at your door], I will set the timer for hours and hours [4 minutes] and you will never ever get out. Ever.

So this is how he sees me. Friendly prison warden. Fantastic.


Gross Confession

Please try not to judge me. As you can see from the title, this is a confession. I realize this behavior was disgusting...

The problem started long ago but I only realized it was an issue after I got a handheld vacuum for Christmas. I had requested it believe it or not. I loathed the piles of crumbs and food bits on the floor of the van. Goldfish one trip, raisins the next, add some juice, maybe milk, cheerios. By the end of the week, the environment could be considered hazardous to one's health.

So, now thanks to my trusty Shark (vacuum), my car is in terrific shape. I even vacuumed out the car seats. Therein lies the problem...

See, sometimes I run out of snacks. Might not seem like a big deal to folks without small children, but when we run out of snacks on a long car ride [read: over 3 miles], all hell can break loose in mere seconds. It's not that the kids are actually hungry, it is more to keep them from screaming. (We'll worry about obesity in a later post.)

I hadn't realized how much I had relied on a snack I will call "car seat surprise" (where you frantically dig around their little legs - while trying to steer - and pull out whatever snack may have fallen there) until it was gone. This "snack" may be days old. But what's a few extra days to a raisin, I would rationalize. Goldfish don't really go bad, do they? I drew the line at soggy snacks. Even I have standards.

I am sure the grandparents are relieved to read we no longer serve "car seat surprise." Not that I don't want to on occasion. It's just no longer on the menu (or car seat, as the case may be).


Where did I leave my underwear?

Does this question ever come up in your home? If so, is it usually following a wild evening of over-indulgence?

In our house, this question is asked of me on a daily basis. No, Parker hasn't been getting into the "wine juice" (see previous posts). He just loses his underwear. Frequently.

Whenever he has to use the bathroom, he first announces, "I need go potty!" He then strips off his pants and underwear, regardless of his location and/or audience, and runs to the bathroom. I usually follow to see if he needs any help with personal hygiene [read: wiping his behind]. Nowadays, he says, "Mom, can you go outside and give me some privacy?"

After we are all finished, the hunt for the pants (and underwear) begins. Today, we found the pants, but the underwear eluded us. I found it crumpled in a ball a few hours later on a window sill. By the way, those of you who visit our house regularly, don't worry...Clorox wipes are my best friends.


No Comparison

Yesterday I took Parker and Maddie to the Pacific Science Center...by myself. I think it may have been the first time I have taken them to such a large, public place by myself since Maddie started walking. Whoa!

It happened to be Martin Luther King Jr. Day. So of course all of the parents who would normally be at work decided it was the best day to go to the science center with all of their children who would normally be in school. INSANE.

I kept it together. I was patient and calm and tried to be fun-loving as I chased Maddie in one direction and Parker in another. We actually had a really good time. After eating lunch, it was time to go. On the way to the car, we passed a snack stand and Parker requested some cotton candy - his favorite. I was feeling pretty generous, and he had been on his best behavior, so he got a big bag. He was singing happily, "What a lucky day for me!" all the way to the van.

On the way home, I decided we had enough time to stop at a park I'd been wanting to check out called Gas Works Park. Parker agreed it would be a "great idea," so we were on our way.
We climbed all over the giant, brightly colored old gas lines, played in the enormous sand box and ran by the lake shore.

When we got back into the van Parker asked, "Mom, can you pretend to be my Daddy?"
Me: Sure. What does Daddy do that Mommy doesn't?
Parker: Well, he tickles me...and takes me places...


When Aaron got home from work he asked Parker, "What did you do today, buddy?"
Parker replied, "Nuffin [nothing]...just missed you."


Dr. Jekyll, meet Mr. Hyde

It makes my head spin...the way Parker can be the sweetest little boy you've ever met one minute and a little devil the next.

This morning, he was watching a Curious George cartoon in the main living room. Aaron, Maddie and I were in the office. Maddie toddled away, and soon we heard the scream.

"NO Ma-da!" (Parker's quite capable of saying 'Maddie' but uses 'Ma-da' when he's feeling particularly angry and ornery.) He came running into the office. "Daddy! Maddie turned off the TV! Will you come here and push her down?" Aaron stood calmly and began to walk toward the living room.

Parker ran ahead of him and stood next to Maddie, bending his head down so they were nose to nose, he shouted in her face, "Daddy is coming to push you down, Ma-da!"

Then, a short time later, as we were preparing to leave for church, we overheard Parker whispering to himself and rocking something in his arms. "Bye-bye Squeeze [pair of toy pliers]. We're going to church, but we'll be home." He gave Squeeze a hug and set her down on the floor.

What the heck?


Barcode Confusion

Our library is pretty advanced. Perhaps they are like this everywhere now, and I just noticed it since having kids and more frequent visits. Each book has a bar code taped to the front cover, and there are large kiosks outside the library where you can scan books as you return them. When we are about to visit the library again, Parker helps me sort through our books at home, setting the "bar code books" aside so they can be returned.

Today, he was playing with his baseball helmet, spinning it in his hands.

Parker: Mommy, does this have a buckle?
Me: A buckle? Yes, it's just that we took it off for now since you wanted it off.
Parker: No! A buh - code!
Me: (seeing a bar code stuck to the inside of the visor) Oh! A bar code! Yes, it does.
Parker: (sadly) Does that mean we have to return it to the library?
Me: No, you can keep it.
Parker: (hopefully) Forever and ever?!
Me: Yes, forever and ever.


Sleep Deprivation/Co-Sleeping

I have determined that I would not last more than 24 hours in Hell Week (Navy SEAL training). The sleep deprivation would be my undoing.

See, I need at least 6 hours of sleep at night to function. Otherwise, I am a crazed, angry, tearful witch with frightening mood swings. Just ask the family members who stayed with us during the first few weeks after the kids were born. In essence, I break.

When we went home for Christmas, Parker had a tough time transitioning into an unfamiliar bed and ended up in the bed with us most nights. It was charming for about 10 minutes. Then I would have a small bony foot in my back or a hard little head stealing my pillow. I wanted him out.

I have friends who co-sleep. I came home from our trip with a nagging suspicion that they truly love their children more than I love mine. It was kind of sad. But every morning when I woke up sore and groggy with Parker stealing more than his fair share of the bed, I was downright angry. How do my friends do it?

Days before our journey home I began preparing Parker. "You know, when we get home you will get to sleep in your big boy bed all by yourself again!" Of course, when we got home, he asked, "Can you please sleep with me?" I almost laughed out loud. Was he insane? I answered, "No," in my best firm but friendly mommy voice, closed the door, and danced into my own bedroom, hugging my roomy mattress.

So back to the quesiton, do my co-sleeping friends love their children more than I love mine?...Perhaps. But I prefer to think that I am giving my children the gift of a loving, well-rested mommy in the morning.


Gone are the days

...of traditional research. Back in my day, if we didn't know the answer to a question, mom would pull out a dictionary or encyclopedia and search for the answer. If that didn't work, we would head to the library.

Yesterday, Parker shouted happily, "Mill-coo!"

Me: Mill-coo?
Parker: Mill-coo!
Me: What does Mill-coo mean?
Parker: (matter-of-factly) You'll have to look it up on-line.

Getting too big

Getting Parker to eat his vegetables is sometimes a battle. We are down to carrots, peas and edamame. Even then, he sometimes complains. I remind him that if he wants to grow up "big and strong" like his daddy, he will need to eat his fruits and vegetables. He usually sighs and them complies.

Last night at dinner, I noticed him staring at me as I ate. I turned to him noting the perplexed look on his face.

Me: What is it Parker?
Parker: Why are you eating, Mommy?
Me: Because it's dinnertime.
Parker: But you're already too big!

Thanks, bud.



Parker is someone new every day. Quite often, he changes identity several times a day. It is high treason to address him by the wrong name. If he was Handy Manny in the morning and you didn't hear him announce he had become his cousin, Sharon, in the afternoon, heaven forbid you address him as Manny later in the day!

I finally just started asking, "Who are you now?" before I try to get his attention. He is so much more compliant when he is addressed as the proper character. Whatever.

Today, he was Fireman Sam for most of the day. He called me "Penny" or "Peddy" or something. Fine. He called Maddie, "Pooky," and explained she was the fire-dog. He really seemed to get into the drama. He tried to put Maddie on a leash. Whenever she ate, he pointed and said, "Look! She's eating her doggie treats." When I gave her the fake fire extinguisher, he was perplexed. "Peddy! She's just a dog! She can't use a fire extinguisher!"

Hmmm...Already referring to his sister as "just a dog." And I thought we had a few years before the seriouse name-calling would begin.

First Sleep-over

We were home for the holidays. It was wonderful and awful. Wonderful to spend so much quality time with family. Awful that every last one of us caught a nasty stomach virus. Susie, my mother-in-law said she washed about 14 loads of laundry within about a 12 hour period. Kids just aren't that great at making it to a bucket or to the toilet before spilling their guts.

Anyway, during this trip, Parker went on his very first sleep-over. I was the first one to get sick so I hadn't joined everyone when they went out for dinner. I got a call when they were on their way home. Aaron said we were down one child...that Parker had gone to spend the night with his Aunt Angela and cousins and that Angela was concerned I'd be upset. I asked him why she didn't take Maddie, too.

Angela called shortly thereafter to ensure I was not angry. I assured her that this was a break and a blessing - his first ever sleep-over. She informed me he would be staying the entire evening unless disaster struck, in which case we would meet at Children's Hospital. Angela is a no-nonsense kind of momma. I love her.

The next day, Parker returned, still happily chatting with his cousins. I don't think he ever stopped talking. Angela said he did really well. There was only a brief time period during which he seemed to have changed his mind.

"Aunt Ang, I like you and everything, but I forgot...I think I wanted to spend the night with my mommy and daddy."