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Archive for August, 2010

It’s now time to confess yet another deep, dark, and dirty little secret.  This one will most likely cause quite a few people to snigger behind my back, arch their eyebrows and purse their lips in disapproval.  And here’s the worst part: I don’t care or regret it for a single second.

Cue drum roll please…

I let my kids watch TV, and not just Baby Einstein, Dora the Explorer, or Sid the Science Kid.  They can quote the titles of just about every Phineas and Ferb show on air and –wait for it–(Tee Hee! If you don’t get that joke, you obviously don’t watch enough Disney Channel!) are even down with Dog the Bounty Hunter.  Gasp!

And, brace yourself —  I admit to using the television as a babysitter at some point in time on any given day.   I know, at this point you are thinking it’s my own damn fault if my kids turn out to be a few sandwiches short of a picnic.  What kind of mother knowingly goes against The American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that children not watch TV?  What kind of mother throws caution to the wind when there are long cited statistics that say that television viewing by children is linked to hyperactivity, lack of focus, and delayed language development?  I guess this kind.

As I’ve said many times before, I am not a domestic diva, and I am not going to win any mother of the year awards.  What I am is a frazzled mommy on the brink of losing her sanity, while desperately trying to successfully raise two little boys and the occasional stepdaughter.   I don’t have the luxury of nearby extended family to lean on, a neighbor across the street to call on, or a babysitter who can drive to rely on.  Television’s all I’ve got!

Despite my plethora of dirty little secrets, I do try really hard to be a good parent to my children.  It’s just that chances are I do it differently than a lot of mothers out there.  Like most, I try to be creative, to be a fairly good role model, and to nurture my childrens’ minds and bodies.  I try to teach them to value others, to accept differences of the people they encounter, to lead by a compassionate, empathetic, loving example.  I try to stimulate their imaginations by reading them stories,  doing crafts, and getting down on the floor to play with them.  They play outside — a lot.  They run, and race, and roll down hills.  They swim, and bike, and ride their scooters to their hearts content.  And they have tons and tons of books.  I’m telling you, they have books galore and we’ve read them all.  Over and over and over.

But here is where I seem to drastically veer off the beaten path.  I also let my kids dance on our furniture, eat food they’ve dropped on the ground (C’mon — even I draw the line at puddles, and don’t let them pick up food that’s been left on the sidewalk by someone else),  stay up past bedtime (uh, okay, they don’t even officially have a bedtime, but I’m working on that one.  Honestly!), eat too much candy, and yes, even watch TV.

How on earth do those of you who don’t plop your kids in front of the Backyardigan’s from time to time get anything done?  How do you make a dent in the mounds of laundry, make an important call, or use the bathroom in private?  You see, even with the assistance of TV, I am extremely lucky if anything can keep the boys attention for more than 30 minutes.  Even when the TV is on, they are actively involved in something else.  They never just sit in front of a show and veg.  They like to play and to move around too much for that.  They are also on the floor racing cars, or at the table coloring, or more likely, pulling all the cushions off the furniture and building forts.  While watching their shows.  So is that really so bad?  I mean it’s not like I just plunk them in front of the TV for hours with no other interaction.

And I have proof that they learn valuable lessons from their TV watching.  Why, just the other day, I heard Addison tell his brother that ‘bleep’ is a four letter word, and not okay to say.  Thanks, Dog, you’ve taught my children well.  I also think they have a stronger aversion to breaking the law than they might have without the tutelage of the Bounty Hunter.  And, long before Addison started at La Escuela, I heard him say, “Vamonos!  Let’s go!”  Thank you for that, Dora or Diego.  I mean, the proof is in the pudding if you consider that my own mother watches very little television, and has spent the past 15 years incorrectly saying “Vamoose” when she is ready to get a move on.  Maybe she would be bilingual by now if she, too, had Dish Network.

So there.  It’s all out there now, and I must say, I feel a little lighter for it.

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I’ll Be Back, Just Not Today.

It’s been a while, I know.  And I’m sorry to tell you that I can’t stick around long today, either.  Things have been non-stop busy around here, and now that I think we may be in the eye of the storm, I need to take advantage of the relative quiet, and go into what I hope will be a long hibernatory (that’s not really a word — I know this because I can’t spell check it.  But it should be, because celebratory gets to be one) period.  Long as in hopefully at least several hours.  I need a nap, man!

Just to give you a quick recap, in case you are dying to know what has kept me away from the blogoshpere, and are neither willing nor able to wait for an in-depth report that will assuredly come in a later post, here’s a Cliff’s Note version of an abbreviated telling of a very light recap of this week past.

Nope, I can’t even stay awake long enough for that.  I’ll share some pictures for now, and give you more detail about the past week spent with family, friends, illness, chaos, laughter, firsts, clutter, delicious home cooked meals (c’mon — you KNOW it wasn’t me!), lots of love, support, and a pony later, when I can think straight.

Hayden loves kissing so much, that his daddy jokes he may grow up to be a game show host.

Yes, our boys are dancing on the table, and we let them, because we’re crazy like that.

Nana and Papa!

The cousins!  Yee Haw!

Despite a blood transfusion the day before, and chemo the day prior to that, Gram Gram donned a hat, kicked up her heels, and joined us for some end of summer fun!

I do have some tales to tell, some silly and sweet moments to share, and best of all, a hugely successful Pool & Pony Party that I am so excited to write about, but right now, I am going to bed!  G’night!

PS, If you would like to see the most amazing preview of Addison’s Pool & Pony Party, look at these fabulous pictures taken by Kristina Figurazh by clicking here.

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If you have been reading this blog at all, you must have picked up on the fact that I would never be considered a domestic diva.   Don’t worry, there is no need to call CPS — we aren’t raising our kids in filth.  I’m just not the housewife kind of gal.  You won’t find me down on hands and knees with a q-tip cleaning dust from the corners of the baseboards.  But if the kids spill apple juice on the floor, I’ll clean it up — eventually.  It’s just that I don’t clean house without a good reason, and around here, a good reason would usually mean that company is a comin’.

In the summer, we often have quite a bit of company.  People will stay anywhere from an afternoon to a week.  As I’ve mentioned in other posts, we enjoy the time with friends and family.  And the house remains fairly clean.  Now in the winter, on the other hand, we don’t have a whole lot of visitors.  We’ve been snowed in for at least a few days at least once per winter since we’ve lived here.  It’s great fun for Patrick and the kids, and even for me, but for some reason, extended family and friends don’t seem to want to take the risk of being trapped with us for a few days at a time.  Thus, our house can get quite messy in the winter, as there are few people around to witness the clutter.

Both Peyton and Addison think they have mad skills when it comes to mopping floors and washing windows.  Mommy begs to differ, but please don’t tell either of them that.  I’d hate to damper their enthusiasm!  So I reluctantly hand over the rags and mop, and let them have at it.  They are always  so proud of their work, which is funny, considering the windows and floors are far more smudged when they finish than they were to start.  But they think highly of themselves and their accomplishment, so I give them mounds of praise and appreciation.  Then, sometime in the middle of the night when they are soundly sleeping, I get up and clean up their efforts.  It’s my own fault for ever trying to accomplish any cleaning during the day, when they are around to help.

We have loads of company coming here over the next week, due to Addison’s birthday party next weekend.  Family will begin to arrive on Tuesday, and friends and more family will continue to come through Saturday.  My mom, my sister, and my two nieces and two nephews will be the first to arrive, and staying the longest.  I think cleaning up for them is rather pointless, as the house will look like a tornado has struck within 5 minutes of their arrival.  I mean really, what house (keeper) has a chance of keeping up with seven highly active, creative, imaginative young kids?!  It is quite possible that at our high point, we will have 16 people sleeping in our home.  I’m telling you, it’s one big party for all the kids, and surprisingly, the adults usually somehow manage to get through the visits with a fair amount of enjoyment as well.

So I think that instead of getting stressed out about how I will have this house in tip top shape come next Saturday, I am going to quite literally throw in the towel and say, pardon my language, screw it! Can you imagine all seven kids helping?  I don’t want to even think about it.  So if you happen to be here next Saturday, and find all the doors to the house are locked, well, the party’s outside.  For your own safety.

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To All Eight of My Loyal Subscribers,

I did something to my blog this morning that made every post after August 6 just simply disappear.  After several moments of intense panic, I finally found copies of the lost posts saved in my hotmail account, and was able to copy and paste them back into my blog.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to re-publish each without those of you who are subscribed being notified.  Sorry about cluttering up your inbox!   You may notice things are a bit different, but I did my best!  Also, I lost all of your fabulous comments!  So sorry about that!  I’m going to do some more digging, and maybe come up with a way to find those, as well.  Live and Learn!

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My husband and I have a very deep, dark, and dirty secret that I am going to share with the world today.  I’ll be honest, my stomach is in knots thinking of the backlash I am risking.  I am fully aware that the majority of people out there will disagree completely with me.  Believe me, I have already spent the past several years getting earfuls of lectures, contempt and disgust disguised under thinly veiled pretenses of friendly advice and neighborly concern.  I have a thin skin, and don’t take letting others down lightly.  Doing something that other people disagree with, and look down on, is almost impossible for me.  But this was something we decided to go against the grain with, and for us, and our family, it turned out to be absolutely the right decision.

So here it is.  We did not potty train our oldest son.

When his friends began using the potty at two, we felt the pressure to get it done.  But Addison wasn’t feeling that same pressure.  He wasn’t the least bit interested, and when we tried to encourage him, it quickly became very clear that he could not care less.  No amount of praise or bribery were worth it to him.  He’s a pretty smart kid, and I don’t think it took him long to decide that the rest of us were the idiots for interrupting our play, our sleep, our errands, our whatever, for a trip to the bathroom.  Why bother, when there is this wonderful invention called the diaper that lets you go on with all of your activities while you go?

When we tried to force the issue, the tantrums were epic.  Well-meaning advice givers would tell him that he would be a big boy if he began using the potty.  I honestly believe that this was the reason for the majority of his resistance.  The last thing in the world that this kid has ever wanted is to be a big boy.  He associates that with leaving mommy and daddy, which is something he has sworn he will never do.  So staying a little boy is just fine by him, and what better way to accomplish that than to refuse to use the potty?

We were fortunate that his preschool made an exception and allowed him to attend in pull-ups.  We were fortunate that none of his playmates teased him.  We were fortunate that Pull-Ups came in size 4T-5T.  We were fortunate to have fairly optimistic natures and just held tight to the belief that we would get through it and that, eventually, it would work itself out.  You know, hope springs eternal and all that.

It wasn’t all that different from most of the other struggles we’ve faced as parents.  With the exception of a stinky, soggy diaper to contend with, it really is like any other child rearing experience.  Remember thinking you’d never get more than three consecutive hours of sleep?  Or that you would never make it to church without fighting on the way, due to the elevated blood pressure caused by the screaming infant in the back seat?  Or taking your baby in those first few times for vaccinations?  You just grit your teeth, close your eyes, and in this case, plug your nose, and then pray fervently that you will come out the other side with your patience, and sanity,  still somewhat intact.

So I suppose you are wondering by now how Addison finally came to wear underwear.  I have two words for you.  Buzz Lightyear.  Or is it three?  Buzz Light Year.  Whatever.  Anyway, I knew that there wasn’t a chance in heck he’d be allowed to wear pull-ups in Kindergarten.  But both Patrick and I still refused to turn our home into a war zone, so I did the only thing I could think of to do.  I lied.  I went to Target and bought that ultra cool Buzz, you know, the one for a gagillion dollars?  When I brought it home, I put it up on top of the refrigerator without allowing Addison a close look.  I told him that the box clearly stated that “This toy is not intended for use by children in diapers or pull-ups.  Must wear underwear and use potty prior to play.”  And then I told him to let me know when he had put his underwear on, and that I would get it down for him.  It took a day and a half of convincing him that the box really did, in real life, say those words.  But before day two, Addison was using the potty and wearing his underwear “to infinity, and beyond!”  And that’s all it took!  No training necessary!

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My lifelong friend brought her kids down to spend the weekend with us, and everyone had a blast!  The kids played nonstop, and Jen and I finally had time to really get caught up!  We all had so much fun, in fact, that they stayed even longer than originally planned!  We can’t wait for the next visit!

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