Patience Will Hurt You

My mom likes to tell a story about my older brother, who around age 4 told her “Mommy, patience will hurt you.” Now, he was trying to fill her in on the old advice that “patience is a virtue,” but unwittingly provided some great insight on himself, my other siblings and I, our father … and a grave foreshadowing of my children.

You see, my girls are half Whitacre. And Whitacres aren’t the most – hmmmm, how do you say?? Patient people? In fact, I’d go out on a limb to say our patience is probably shorter than the attention span of most toddlers. For Paige –  well, let’s just say we all know the situations this ‘pleasant’ combination has created. In Blair, impatience has reared it’s ugly head far, far too early.

What’s that? You’d like an anecdotal example?

Well, I recently rearranged my kitchen. It was partially out of necessity because even though a certain cabinet has had the childproofed lock replaced three times in a week, Houdini Blair has somehow figured out how to open it. So, now that particular cupboard is full of plastic bowls and Tupperware.

For the past few nights, Blair has busied herself in emptying said cabinet with remarkable quickness and agility:

Then, as of last night, simply emptying the drawer wasn’t enough. She realized that pesky drawer needed to come out, too. But, apparently that was much easier said than done:

Needless to say, Miss Blair was NOT happy (I mean, look at that face she’s giving me!). She figured there must be another way to take care of that silly drawer. Perhaps back in the WAAAAY back:

And then she got stuck. And it went even further downhill from there:

(And, yes, please add this to my Mom of the Year application. I may or may not have been giggling also while I took the pictures of my hysterical daughter stuck in our cabinet.)

Here is how the incident ended (you’ll notice Paige giving me a ‘play-by-play’ in the background. Yes, Paige. I realize ‘Bear’ is frustrated. Thanks for the update):

Such patient little girls. Oh, Paige and Blair. When will you learn? Patience is a virtue. Seriously – HURRY UP and learn it!!! Jeesh!

Last Night Ago

In Paige’s world, everything that is not happening in the future or has not happened since the previous sleeping session (i.e. bedtime or nap) happened “last night ago.” So, it makes it super-easy to discern the timeline for things in Paige’s life. For example:

P: Mommy, remember when we played at that one park with the big green thing? Can we go back there?
M: Hmmmm, Paige … can you give me some more information? I’m not sure I know what you’re talking about.
P: You know, we were there last night ago?
M: Hmmm…maybe a little more?
P: Mommy! (Clearly exasperated at this point) LAST. NIGHT. AGO. For Jay-boy and Jenny’s wedding!!
M: Oh! You mean Rainbow Park in Crested Butte? (Which was in June. 2011. She and I had this conversation earlier this week).
P: Yes!! Let’s go there.

Or, perhaps when she told me (this morning) she watched a movie in her bestie’s Audrey’s classroom at school. I stupidly asked when. Oh, last night ago. I ran this by Audrey’s mommy at pick-up today. Yep – they did indeed watch a movie in Audrey’s class. Right around Christmas.

Or, perhaps this doozy:

P: Mommy, remember that silly shirt you had on last night ago?
M: Which one, Paige? I don’t remember having a silly shirt on.
P: You know, that silly shirt you wore when you drove me to school. You know. Last night ago!
M: Gosh, Paige – I guess I’m not sure which one you mean.
P: You know, Mommy!! (This always seems to be around the time she loses patience with me, which I find extremely ironic.) That silly shirt you wore that had pants on it!!

Aha. That would be this one:

Apparently, Paige has not gotten the memo that denim jackets are hot this season (going on the picture above, double-chins – not so much). To her, this is a silly shirt with pants on it. That I wore recently. Last night ago, to be precise.

Success! Oh, Maybe Not…

Sooooo – the girls and I were playing outside yesterday, and Paige offered to push Blair around in the Cozy Coupe. I thought to myself, “How sweet is this! Look what a good mom you are, having raised two young girls who love to play together. Who have formed a bond of trust and are enjoying being the best of friends. This is what raising children, and sisters, must be all about. What a successful journey this has been…”

Blah, blah, blah. You get the point – I almost broke my arm patting myself on the back. Let’s just say that was EXTREMELY short-lived:

Thank you, Nick Jr.

To set the record straight immediately, this posting is an ode to the cable channel Nick Jr., not some man named after his father (unless that’s how the channel was named, then disregard this opening sentence).

I remember before I had children. Back when I was naive optimistic about how baby-raising would go. I vowed to only feed them organic food, refuse to negotiate, never raise my voice and above all – NEVER let my kids watch television. Especially before – gasp – the age of 2.

Fast forward a few years.

Okay, to cut myself some slack, I’ve been pretty good about the organic food thing. However, Paige also said to me last week “Hey, let’s go to McDonald’s, Mommy. I will get nuggets, and fries and apple slices. Oh, and a Sprite. Is that a great idea?”

Let’s see: refusal to negotiate. That’s funny. I really do agree with my pre-child self. It’s a horrible habit to get into. It’s also much easier said than done when your toddler is having a complete meltdown because it’s 1:30 pm and you had the bright idea to run to Target, your baby is screaming, you have sweated through your shirt (and bra) and people are giving you dirty looks in the checkout line. Oh? What’s that you say, Paige? You would like to open these animal crackers right now and you will stuff your mouth full of cookies and stop losing it? Oh, and Blair, you want one too even though they aren’t even close to an age-appropriate snack and most likely a choking hazard? Okay. Deal. (Before you freak, if you know me you know I made my husband take an infant/toddler CPR class with me).

Hmmm. Never raise my voice. Ha. That’s funny. I mean, I yell “STOP YELLING!!” multiple times a day. Next.

Never watch television. Seriously? What the hell was I thinking? Listen, I am the first to agree that reading a book is a much better option. And I read to my kids every day. Well, most days. But, dinner has to be made. It’s really not my fault that the girls stringently adhere to the Witching Hour Rules (a lot like Fight Club, I imagine). Or that the smoke alarm goes off. Or that some random kid from Broad Ripple High School decides this is the best time to come try to sell me M&Ms. Or that the dog decides to manically bark to go outside, then come back in, then go back out…you get the point.

So, yes. My children watch television. Thank God. It’s educational (I mean, the catchphrase for Nick Jr. is that “it’s like preschool on TV” for goodness sake!). It’s not like they watch it all day (they have to nap, right?). And, I often sit with them and we discuss what we’re learning.

Why am I explaining myself? Here’s what it boils down to: to those moms who say they never let their kids watch TV, I’m pretty sure you’re lying. Or just a better mom than I. But, let’s hope you’re just lying.

(The girls watching ‘The Backyardigans’ – I’m not going to lie, I love that show)

Directionally Challenged

I can’t decide which is more frustrating – trying to describe where something is to a toddler, or the fact that I keep falling into that same trap again and again.

The conversation typically goes a lot like this:
Me: Paige, can you hand Mommy the wipes?
Paige: Where are they?
M: Over by the ottoman.
P: Where?
M: Right there – walk that way. Okay stop.
P: Where?
M: Right next to the HUGE leather ottoman you’re standing next to. Look down. No, the other way. Next to your foot.
P: Where? 
M: RIGHT. NEXT. TO. YOU.
P: These, Mommy?
M: No – (loud sigh) – those are your socks. Never mind. I’ll get them (as a poopy Blair crawls away).
Now, not every situation ends this way. Sometimes Paigers and I are right on track with each other. Practically sharing the same brain. She gets what I’m saying immediately, and we quickly move on.
This past Saturday, not so much. I was trying to kill some time before naps and had the girls in their Radio Flyer wagon. Paige wanted to go say hi to Ms. Dawn next door, so we walked up their driveway to see if she was home. It turns out she wasn’t, but Paige got out of the wagon to give their dog a pat. 
Keep in mind that Ms. Dawn lives RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO US. You can see a large portion of our house from their yard. I pointed this out to Paige. That conversation went like this:
M: Paige, look. You can see our house from here.
P: Where?
M: Right there, honey. Right on the other side of that fence.
P: Where?
M: Paige. That yellow house. Right. There.
P: (SIGHING LOUDLY AND SHAKING HER HEAD). Mommy, I just can’t see it. I just can’t handle it, okay?
Okay, Paige.
At that moment, it was like we were sharing the same brain again.

Even Busier-Body

I remember when Paige was a baby and I was hastily trying to keep up with her “exploring” by babyproofing our house. I thought to myself “WOW. This girl is busy!” She was into everything … or so I thought at the time.

Then came Blair. Holy man (a phrase used by my almost-4-year-old niece that I now claim as my own – the phrase, not the girl).

Blair is perhaps one of the busiest babies I have ever seen. I thought maybe I was just a little overwhelmed and biased – then Derrick spent a few uninterrupted hours with her. He agrees. In fact, we are worried she will never walk because we find it’s easier to carry her around than it is to turn our back for a second or two (literally) and find her with an outlet cover in her mouth. That is not a joke. She is mocking us.

Outlet covers, dog toys, book jackets, shoes, phones, items we have never seen before and think were left in the house by previous owners … she’s not picky. If she can reach it, it’s going to go in her mouth.

“Games” I used to invent to keep Paige busy are quickly being turned into chances to seek and destroy by Blair.

Roll of toilet paper, Mom? That’s a joke – I can unroll and eat half of it, then take off down the hall before you can finish peeing and catch me.

Oversized ottoman moved in front of the cord you don’t want me to chew? Silly, silly woman, mommy – I will just crawl over it or push it out of my way with my superhuman strength.

Tin of snacks you want me to use as a drum so you can look at Pinterest work on something important? Well, let’s just let this video speak for itself, mama.

Game, set – Blair. Winning the match is just a few first steps away.

What doesn’t kill you …

Now, listen. Before I start, let me say that anyone who has seen my iTunes music library knows that I LOVE me some Kelly Clarkson. But, I need to tell you this, Miss Clarkson – I respectfully disagree with the message in your song “Stronger“.

See, my 3 1/2 year-old daughter (who tends to be a bit, how-you-say, vocal in expressing how she feels) had her tonsils and adenoids removed this week. And, the majority of my family is out of town. Including my husband. Who left for CANADA the morning after her surgery (yes, not even out of town – out of the country).

To say things went well would be … well, it would be grossly inaccurate. First, there was some trouble during the surgery when her breathing tube fell out for a little over a minute, and in the rush to replace it the doctors scraped the tube against the back of her throat. Um, to say I freaked out when the ENT told me this story (while Paige was still in recovery, but BEFORE she woke) would also be grossly inaccurate. I LOST IT.

So, we got her home and things seemed to be about what we expected. A groggy, sleepy toddler fighting our efforts to feed and hydrate her (which, actually, doesn’t seem that different from life pre-surgery). Then Day 2 hit. Paige was a mess. Screaming, hysterical, not eating or drinking. Did I say screaming and hysterical already?

Fast forward to Day 5 (We will skip past Day 3 when I may or may not have practically sat on her in an effort to get her to just eat a popsicle. She had eaten NOTHING up to this point, and I could tell we were spiraling into a dangerous situation. So, we will also fast-forward past the part where I may or may not have supplemented said efforts with the phrase “Just eat the fucking popsicle!!” Excuse my language, but it’s the exact phrase I used. With my 3 year-old. Who was recovering from surgery. I am an awesome mom.) Paige was so scared to even drink that she would literally shake when I tried to get her to take a sip of water. She hadn’t peed in more than 12 hours, and the day before she only peed twice. Needless to say, we were headed to the Emergency Room.

Getting the IV in was awesome. April Fool’s. It took 3 nurses plus me to hold her down, and watching her go through this made me cry, which did not help the situation. She fell asleep within 5 minutes of starting a cocktail of fluids, morphine and anti-nausea medicine. We watched ‘Tangled’ (yes, out of the 15+ movies to choose, she chose the one that even I know every word to). They took the IV out about 3 hours later (another terrific ordeal), and she fell asleep on my lap for about 45 minutes while we waited for the doctor to come check on her. For once, it was 45 minutes I wished would stretch forever.

Now, things seem to be looking up. Today she has had an Ensure (the little peanut has lost 3.5 pounds – weight she did NOT have to spare to begin with), some applesauce and even a little Gatorade. Her daddy came home. Her mommy spent the morning in bed with her snuggling and watching movies. Let’s hope this trend continues.

So, where does Kelly Clarkson play into this, you ask? Well, Kelly, here is what I (respectfully, again) would like to tell you. When you become a mother you will quickly learn that what doesn’t kill you most definitely does NOT make you stronger.

It makes you very, VERY freaking tired.