kids

My son woke up with a bounce this morning… which is typical. He is that obnoxious happy person in the morning. I was getting out of the shower when he practically kicked the bathroom door open and announced…

“I am starting SCHOOL TODAAAAAY!!!” and he did a little happy dance.

For a moment I wondered if I messed up?! No, we had another two weeks.

“My love, school doesn’t start for another two weeks.”

He crossed his arms, turned his back on me and said, “Aw… shiiiiiiii…….”

He saw my eyes practically pop out of my head in the bathroom mirror….

“….ttttttt…….aaake. Mushrooms? Shiitake mushrooms? Uh. Do we still have some Mommy? You know… for… sukiyaki?”

Yeah. That is what he meant to say.

I’m going to have to apologize ahead of time to his kinder teacher.

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Post image for WTF Did You Say: On Princesses, Ballerinas and Defiant Children

See that face? We all know that face.

The Face and Representative of Defiant Children

Now… Imagine this…

You are annoyed with your children (it happens), with a broken ninja kicker (again, it happens), and you are surrounded by piles of toys, dirty socks and whatever else your children decided not to throw away (you KNOW it happens). You are at that point of totally losing your shit.

Me: ... picking up a barbie ballerina shoes while talking to the crossed arms, pouty faced and oh so defiant 4 year old… “Here is your ballerina shoe to put away, you royal princess!! Please. Put. It. Away. NOW!” (we are VERY sarcastic in this house)

Him: the scowl faced, determined, not budging a step four year old terror of doooooom… “Hey woman, I’m not a ballerina!!!!!” (see, told ya! sarcastic… right?)

My Daughter: … with the most confused, sweet and genuine expression on her face… “Wait… so you aren’t a ballerina but you ARE a princess?! SWEET!” (Yeah, I’m raising little mes… sorry world)

We all started laughing. Tension was broken. We goofed off the rest of the time picking up. They swore they would never say anything like that again or make such a mess.

And I, of course, pretended to believe this so we could get through this with some laughter.

 

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Post image for WTF Did You Say: On Insects, Cursing and Peeing Your Pants

I continually try to encourage my kids to overcome their fears in a healthy way. I don’t push them hard but I will cheer them on, praise them and help them through it. One of my personal worst fears is not being able to obtain happiness because of some kind of fear…

Except when it comes to feet and alligators. Nothing good comes of overcoming those fears.

Insects have always freaked my son out but fascinated him at the same time. He used to run screaming from the room as a toddler if he saw a dust bunny! If he saw a clump of fuzz he would panic thinking it was a bug. Now at 4 years old he can play with slugs but still freaks out over any flying bugs. He tries though. He really does.

My Son: Mommy, there is a fly behind the blinds! I’m going to get that fly in the window… I’m going to smash it!

Me: Okay, buddy! I’m so proud of you for even trying but I’ll help…

My Son: HOLY SHIT IT’S A BEE! AAAH!!! I’m sorry I just said shit but I just pee’d my pants!

And he did… all over the living room on the way to the bathroom.

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Post image for Selflessness and Seizing the Moments with Childhood Chronic Illness

When you have a child who has chronic illness and chronic pains it breaks your heart to hear her utter, “I’ll be fine. I’m just sad if anyone misses out because I’m always sick.”

My daughter told me that twice last week… and her being so selfless and worrying about others when she is missing out on something amazing is truly eye opening.

For the first year my daughter was planning on participating in the school’s Talent Show. She worked her little butt off for this. Every year we participate in Ondo Dancing in the Japanese Obon Festivals with friends. It’s a big part of our summer kick off traditions. She loves Ondo! She decided with two of her friends to perform the dances for their school while dressed up in Yukata.

This was a big deal for her. It was the first time we committed to this event because it sucks when she can’t follow through when she has flare ups.

It’s always so unpredictable.

At first I thought it was a gnarly stomach flu that was going to beat us all up for a day. No, it was a gastro intestinal issue that is common for her but this was really bad.

She was in so much pain that walking hurt, she was getting dizzy spells and extremely fatigued.

Her biggest concern was not being there for her friends or if the performance wasn’t going to go as smoothly with one missing. She wasn’t sad for herself for missing out. She was sad for letting them down and any upset that could cause them.

On Saturday I was invited back for a Blogger event at Knotts Berry Farm which is one of our favorite places to go. When my daughter realized that she wasn’t going to feel up to it she began to worry that I wouldn’t be able to go because of her.

I do not make a big deal out of things changing or express upset over it. I’ve canceled night’s out, family gatherings, playdates, work obligations and many many things when she needs me and we make the most of it.

It’s just how our life is and her health comes first.

It’s just me here for her and I’d rather be here for my daughter than anything else. That is what we both need.

She insisted that I went. The plan was for her little brother and I to go and she would sleep in and meet up with us later with a friend if she was able. I knew if she was able that we would need to take it easy and go at her pace.

She made it for a few hours and we made the most of it. She is a trooper. She powers through things that most can’t and I am proud of her for that as well as thankful that she knows her limits.

Maybe I seem like a terrible Mom to let my kid go to an amusement park after days of feeling ill. But, it’s not a cold. It’s not something that is going to go away. This is her body and a cycle we adjust to. She can go weeks of feeling wonderful and then weeks of feeling horrible.

Sometimes her windows of feeling great are a couple hours.

She had that window on Sunday and it was a beautiful day. She just wanted to be out in the sunshine and garden.  I love that she embraced that moment.

In those windows of feeling amazing I want her to do what makes her heart soar and forget, just for a moment, that she gets sick.

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Children come with too many freaking accessories.

Babies have so many clothes that most don’t even get worn before the little spawns outgrow them.

Toddlers require a lot of gadgets to entertain/enrich/appease them. They also come with more safety gear to protect them and us since they are like mini Godzillas with a mean temper tantrum.

Then enter the world of books, crafts, puzzles, dress up clothes, games and all things that help a developing preschoolers mind.

Beyond that age they begin to voice real opinions on what they like and what they don’t.

I’m pretty sure my kids are hoarders and I also blame my Dad for this. I tend to blame him for everything because A) It’s usually applicable and B) That’s what he gets for not reading my blog. He holds on to a lot of sentimental things that he just can’t part with. I get that. I do it as well on a mild scale… don’t even begin to ask about all the craft supplies I have!

My kids hold on to everything. EVERYTHING. They don’t even like to throw away packaging. This past month my back has been all sorts of messed up so the house has started to look like Toys R Us vomited all over the place. It makes me absolutely insane that I can’t accomplish everything that I want to but I’ve been limited.

It sucks big ones.

So, I gave the kids warnings. Many many warnings. I told them as soon as my back was better and I could bend and lift again that I would be purging if they didn’t get it under control.

That day was today.

My back is still messed up however I just couldn’t take it anymore.

I’m three bags into the purging process and it feels good. The kids are upset of course. They make their cases. They plead. They cry. I do feel bad but c’mon… kids have WAY too much crap! I always worry if these moments are going to upset or hurt them. I wonder how much damage I am doing. I know what needs to be done though.

Most of the toys are getting donated to a women’s shelter and the broken toys get sent off to the dump. Yup. To that black hole of unwanted and unloved toys.

My son even had the nerve to bring up Toy Story 3 when I tossed out a broken Buzz Lightyear. You know what scene I am talking about. With tears in his eyes I said “I am the destroyer of dreams! TO THE DUMP!”…

I was genuinely trying to be evil but he laughed at me. Then he spent ten minutes picking up toys yelling “TO THE DUMP!”. We laughed… and made games out of picking up and purging and that Mommy guilt was gone.

For now it seems to not be life shattering… until there is another moment where I put on my evil cape and become Mommy the Destroyer of Dreams again. Until then… it’s nice to see the damn floor.

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Though some of my guy friends may argue this fact because they feel I have a bigger pair than most dudes: I do not have a penis. So, I wasn’t sure how to teach my son to potty train standing up as I am a visual learner and process things more effectively if I can see it. I can’t do that with the lack of equipment!

Could I have used a funnel to demonstrate? No. That would be weird. Funny, but weird.

I had these terrible visions of him just learning to pee and it getting all over the walls, ceilings and floor! It just seemed logical that my son pees sitting down. It worked out great!! No pee on the seat and no worries about him leaving the toilet seat up.

When we started camping I really wanted him to be able to take advantage of being male and pee outside. It saves a trip to the bathroom and helps water the plans right? Well, that didn’t go quite as planned since he still wanted to squat to pee. Eventually he started to pee standing up and then he became like an overly enthusiastic puppy marking his territory. I thought I created a pee monster!! When we would return home from camping he would just drop his pants in the middle of our yard and water the grass.

Our neighbors love us.

Then one morning he was doing his usual pee routine while half asleep and I heard a loud crash in the bathroom. I heard him screaming and nervous laughter. I ran in there and he was sitting on the floor, holding his penis and he yelled “MOMMY!!! The toilet tried to eat my PENIS!!!!!” thankfully it had missed him but it was enough to scare him. He went on and on about how the toilet is a penis eating monster. Does anyone remember the scene in Look Who’s Talking Too when the little boy is toilet training and the it turns into a toilet monster screaming “Give me your PEEPEE!”. That is what was running through my head.

That was also one of the most difficult moments in parenthood I have ever had.

I was terrified because he really could have gotten hurt!

On the other hand I was laughing hysterically inside because he was screaming about a penis eating toilet monster.

I maintained and showed my concern and support. We talked about it. Processed it and he was good. I am blogging out it to get my internal laughter struggle out!

But, now? He sits down again but he said he will pee standing up outside because the toilet won’t try to eat his penis since it is stuck in the bathroom.

Oh, the joys of parenthood.

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Growing Edibles With Kids

by Leila on July 10, 2011

We have been really busy with camping and family activities so my blog updates are not the abundance they usually are! After traveling and life getting in the way of things I always wonder what pile of mail I will come home to and how full my inbox will be. One thing I didn’t think about was coming home to these delicious garden treats!

Growing edibles with kids means that they are more likely to eat what they grow. They are also great harvesters. Most of the time I don’t even have to ask them to pick our edibles and they gobble them up right away. Really though… kids tend to do a better job at weeding, picking, digging and hauling off really heavy things! Some may call it child labor but I call it being smart. Kidding of course…

 

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Gardening with kids isn’t the easiest undertaking. Most kids love to get dirty and why not!? It can be fun when you aren’t obsessing over how all that dirt may damage your carpet. I grew up gardening with my Dad and Grand Parents. It is just a part of me and something I love but I didn’t always love the work involved in it. I think it is important for kids to enjoy gardening and it gives us a chance to disconnect, get outside and grow some stuff but we all need to remember to be cool about it so they are cool about it!

So how can you really enjoy gardening with kids? Follow these simple tips for a good start!

1. Remove all electronics and anything of value from you and the kid(s). Do not put it on the grass, porch or any nearby surface! Why? Because at some point you might not be the one in control of the hose so therefore everything, including your roof, may end up being soaked. Most kids will point the hose at whatever they are looking so just imagine where the water will end up if your kiddo is looking at a bird flying above. Rather than banging your chest like an angry gorilla if it happens be a little pro active and remove everything first.

2. Grow your food and grow edibles that your kids will eat! I cannot stress this enough. What is the point to growing cucumbers if no one likes them? Sure, there are a ton of phallic jokes you can come up with but ultimately you don’t want the food to go to waste. It is really enjoyable to see your kids raid the garden to eat something fresh from the vine. They get a better appreciation for food they grow and I’ve found that kids tend to eat more vegetables if they grow them.

3. Grow something fun! Have you ever seen those huge giant mammoth sunflowers? Or what about a topsy turvy tomato? Or if you have pace grow some pumpkins! Make it fun and they will enjoy it a lot more.

4. Grow it in a container! No matter if you are restricted to a patio space or a huge garden it is always fun to grow stuff in containers. Want to see root vegetables grow? Find a clear container to grow them in. Seriously. It kicks garden booty.

5. Make a game out of every gardening chore. Be creative! I feel that making things into a race or beating some kind of previous record makes everything more enjoyable. You can even make little matching cards with free images online of whats in your garden. Print the images out, put them on one side of index cards and every time you go outside to play in the garden have your kid(s) match the image with the plant in the garden. If you used seed packets then keep the images on them for cards! If you are making a game out of it your kids are less likely to bug you or speak whinese!

6. Get dirty. Seriously. Gardening is dirty so don’t freak out over the dirt. Wear appropriate clothes and get your dirt on.

7. End the your gardening time with water play because not only is it a fun incentive but it also helps prewash any messes they made. Have a yard? Do slip n slide or play in the sprinklers! Live in a condo, apartment or condo? Create a water play table and utilize that. You can use the water (so long as you don’t add soap to it) to water your plants after playtime.

 

Ultimately the kids will have as much fun as you do. Kid’s are amazing reminders that life is pretty simple and fun is the objective. So, get out there. Get dirty. Have fun. Create a game. Enjoy gardening with kids even if you kill all the plants and remember, “Don’t Speak Whinese!!”.

 

 

 

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A picture is worth a thousand words right? He really is going to love me later for these little gems.

My son is sick with a stomach flu. He has been sleeping on my chest so I’ve been reading, writing, tweeting and messing around with iMovie more than usual.

He also spewed all over me and told me, “Mommy. You are the best. I don’t want to puke on anyone but you.”

Thanks kid!

The little sick monkey also discovered that he loves watching clips of himself so we have been going through all the clips since he was an infant. He will announce how cute or funny he is. Narcissist much!? It really makes me appreciate the little moments I catch and also makes me wish I was better about recording their crazy antics.

We found this clip that was from a year ago. He loves telling jokes. I love ninjas. So this was pretty much a perfect combination. I’m also toying around with iMovie so this is the result.

 

 

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Of Course I Can Go Camping as a Single Mom!

by Leila on January 26, 2011

What?! Of course I can go camping as a single Mom! When someone tells me that I can’t do something it lights a giant fire up my butt to prove them wrong. It is kind of ridiculous. Sometimes it causes me to do silly things like hurt myself by doing headstands in my living room and other times it creates a new tradition for our family of three: Camping.

I had a conversation with my relatives about camping and their immediate reaction was, “You don’t go alone right!?” Well, I hadn’t at that point but I wanted to. Then I was met with all this negativity from them about how I wouldn’t be able to do it, it’s too much work and I need a man there. Should I not do it? Am I crazy for this!? Camping as a single Mom is bad?! Why can’t I?!

Less than a week later I was searching online at Reserve America and I happened to be on at the right time when someone cancelled their spots at Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu. I made my lists, double checked all of our supplies and made a food menu for our first camping trip with just the three of us. Sure, we were going just for a one night but I was going to do it! We were camping, just the three of us, a week after I had that conversation and I probably would have procrastinated or invited friends had I not had that conversation. Yeah, I know… it is ridiculous.

Leo Carrillo has it all! We are fortunate to live in Southern California to enjoy places like this. It has tide pools, a beautiful beach, huge campground that is perfect for riding bikes and scooters, hiking trails and its bathroom facilities are great. At the time it was not site specific so we didn’t know what our campground would look like. This was the only part of the trip that made me nervous! We scored a beautiful secluded site, near the bathrooms and it had so many trees that the kids spend a ton of time exploring.  The Grunion were running when we were there so we enjoyed that as well!

Things I learned for our first trip:

  • Pack lighter!!!!
  • Pitching a Tent is really funny when you have a 3 year old who decided at that moment that the game “Smack Mommy’s Booty” was the best idea ever
  • There is such a thing as too much food and this is something I will never actually listen to because I am known for always having too much! But, in the event of some punk ass squirrels who roll up on you to take your bread its good to know that you brought an extra loaf
  • Things will not always go the way you want when camping and that is ok. Laugh at it. Stuff breaks. You forget things. Your kids may freak out in the middle of the night and want to sleep in the back shell of the truck! So that means you end up holding two kids, sleeping bags, flashlights and pillows when its pitch black. Laugh. A. Lot.
  • Layers are really good!
  • Oh and carry pepper spray and know how to use it. Safety first.

So yes, it can be done! We have a yearly fun budget that we use for trips and passes but my kids have decided they want to use the majority of that money for camping! I’m very excited about this.

Check back here soon if you want to learn more details about camping with kids! I will be adding lots of information on what to pack, how to stay safe and why we all should disconnect and rough it every once and awhile!

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