Does this look like vacation?

I am fairly sure I don’t even need to write a lot.  

We are on vacation.  

But really???

Hashtag: life; reality; parenting; humor

No rest for the wicked…

Oh, wait.  I mean the mommies (smile and wink).

Greetings from La Jolla sunny California!

Becoming Diaper Free…Finally??? A potty blog for parents!

josephine favorite

Okay—I have an 11-year old.  She is diaper free.

Max is nearly 5.  He is diaper free.

Josephine is approaching 3 and 1/2.   As of last night, she is officially diaper free!

That’s old.  You may state.

That’s okay.  Another may add.

To both and each their own.

My little 3 year old is hilarious.  She has been advanced in walking and talking and eating and singing and bravery and living…

And not in pooping.  On the potty.

So much so that she would go for up and past 10 days, sometimes, without plopping a single drop.

One time, her constipation actually made her sick.  The doctor said—she just needs to poop.  Are you giving her anything to help her poop?

We were.  We had tried everything.  Foods, drinks, medicines…Bribery.  Tears.  Pulling out our hair.  And she still refused to poop.

Finally we had to goose the girl with a very uncomfortable czopek before she produced the results we needed — and her body immediately began to recover and heal.

Well—finally we were diaper free for pee and since she only pooped every 3-11 days, she would just tell us when she had to go.  Easy peasy pudding and pie…

Then our last pull-up disappeared one evening and we were too lazy to run to the store for more.

Josephine cried.

We cried.  (Ours, however, tears of ka-ching in our pockets—NO MORE DIAPER MONEY NEEDED)

And we refused to run and buy her a diaper.  Even when she had to potty.

Which, in our lives, was actually a really freaky thing.  We didn’t want her to be constipated.  We did not want her in pain.  We did not want to have to take her to the doctor or give her another czopek (glycerin tablet up the pupa).  We just wanted our little gal to be free.

Several days have passed since her last poopy—nerves were beginning in my mommy heart when last night—around 1am, I heard her cry out.

“Mommy, I need to pee!”

I ran into her room, raced her into the bathroom, and there she did.  HER FIRST EVER POOPY on the potty.

We immediately woke up daddy.  I am not sure he was as thrilled due to the insanely late hour of night—AND TODAY SHE RECEIVED A KINDER EGG!

A surprise for her surprise.

My friends.  If your children are a lot like my Josephine and have severe trouble pooping on the potty, please know that you are not alone.

It is a VERY hard road to walk down.

To some, it may seem like just a poop.  But to those of us in the situation, it is more that just a poop.  It is the health and well-being of our child…as well as sanity of our souls.

Give yourself a break.  Give your child a break.  And endure with great patience/pain and pray for the poop.

It’s okay to pray for the poop…

Just like it’s okay to cry when diapers are no longer in the budget 😉

When You Are Raising a 4-Year-Old

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Several years ago, I was sitting in a meeting of International Women.  I was seated next to a beautiful Danish woman.  She had 2 children.  I had 1.  One 4-year-old daughter.

We bonded over that mere fact.

Being moms.

And, as we were virtually strangers, yet with something HUGE in common, we had a lot to talk about.

Okay—we had parenting and mom-ming and kids to talk about.

But it was one of the deepest conversations of my life.

We looked at each other and both of, respectively, said, “We are so thankful that we don’t beat our children.”

It’s as if we were leaning over to give one another high fives for keeping our children alive.

Like really.

We spoke on HOW difficult parenting is.  How hard it is to practice restraint.  How MUCH  you want to, well, basically, put your child in a VERY big box and shut the lid.

It was so refreshing to have an honest parenting conversation with another mom.  A mom that looked like she had EVERYTHING together.

Because parenting is HARD HARD HARD.

IT, your beautiful baby, your precocious toddler—turns FOUR…FOUR!

And you think…have I spawned the devil?

And these precious creatures we have spawned literally live to drive us bat crazy.  You feel as if you have no shred of self control left.  You literally have to physically leave the presence of your spawn.

Parenting is hard.  And I get so ridiculously crazy of these soft-spoken moms that are like “Blah, blah, blah…the beauty of parenting…AND MAKING BUTTER..” because I am all like…MY KID LIVED TODAY!!!!!

And I feel as if I should run outside and SHOUT IT ON THE ROOFTOPS!

And I feel as if they should literally make a MADE FOR TV movie about my heroism.

AND I.AM.NOT.KIDDING!

This woman.  This stranger.  She got all of that.  We talked for a long time about how people really should praise mommies for maintaining control.  We talked about parents that struggled with doing what’s right.  We talked about how much help we need as parents.

We need help.  The good parents.  The bad parents.  THE PARENTS.  We need help.

Because our job is the biggest in the world.  And it’s the hardest in the world.  And we have little little little people that trust us for safety and protection and life—as they should—even while they are trying to snuff that VERY life out of us.

Right now I am raising my second 4-year-old.  I say second, because my daughter was my first and she is now 10.

And she is the FINEST decade gal you will ever meet (decade gal is what she calls her 10-year-old self).

She is funny and kind.  She is smart and hardworking.  She is silly and fun.  She is outgoing yet shy.  SHE IS THE BEST!

I couldn’t ask for a more amazing child.

Yet when she was four—I thought she was the she-devil herself.  And I could hardly see straight because she drove me so insane.

And I PRAYED that we would BOTH live through that phase.  That phase of her being 4.

Stubborn.  Screaming.  CRYING…PUBLIC HUMILATION.  Up the wazoo.

I felt ashamed every time I walked in public with her because of her meltdowns and fits and tantrums.

I wanted to return this child I prayed so hard to receive.

And I thought I would never make it past this phase of being the WORST MOMMY EVER!

Yet here she sits at 10 as the BEST version of any kid I could imagine building on my own.  Like, literally, if I could design a child, this child would still not come out as great as my decade gal.

And so I have chosen to write this post today for me.  For you.  For every HONEST mom out there that is pulling her hair, just trying to survive.

I write this for the solidarity of US!

We do deserve high fives.  We do deserve made for TV movies.  We deserve honor and recognition that our children are alive despite the fact that we are now bald.

You are doing a fine job.  Maybe some days you want to cry because you feel like you are the worst.  But take a deep breath.  Go in the other room.  Cry.  And then breathe again.  Because your 4-year-old will not be a 4-year-old forever.

One day your 4-year-old will turn into your decade gal…and you will be able to look at your child and see that you have made it.  You have survived.  And you are doing a darn fine job of it.

Drink a coffee…Eat dessert.  And breathe.

Because the teenage years are just around the corner.

 

Record the delights in your heart

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I pulled out a journal that my mom sent me for my 40th birthday the other day.  There is so much for me to write and see and say, and I wanted to begin to record.

But pulling out my journal brought me back to the last several years of my life and marriage.

If you have followed this blog since its inception 3 years ago, you would know that my husband and I have had to work really hard at our marriage.

One point, while we were receiving professional help, my husband was journaling.  It was a good thing.  Yet is was a VERY depressing thing.

While it was both cathartic and healing—it was just SO SAD!

And every time I read it, it was hard to read.

Hard times in life are hard.  And we need to share them with someone we trust—but that doesn’t make it easy.

So when I pulled out my journal…during a hard day of just being me, being mommy, being wife, I decided to do something different.

I decided that I was going to write about the joys of my day.  And while my children sat screaming and crying and throwing fits, I remembered that ONE moment of the day where they were pure joy—

And I wrote that.

And I giggled while I wrote.

And I shared with my husband what I wrote.

And we smiled.

Through the tears, through the difficulties, through the hard—we smiled…because, really, there was something to smile about.

Take for example, my family photo above.  My 2-year-old delight (sarcasm inserted here) cried and pouted and shouted throughout our entire photo session.  She was tired.  She was sleeping.  And she is two.  TWO.  That, in itself, is an answer for everything 😉

She did not want to smile for any photo.  It was impossible.  And as much as we tried, we just could not get that ideal and dreamy family photo that I had envisioned on the drive to the palace gardens where we were taking photos.

So we had to come to the conclusion to either leave her out of photos or just go with the flow.

And we did both.

When she wasn’t in the photos, we clicked magnificence.

When she was, we just had so much fun with her two year old pouty expressions…capturing not perfection but real life.

At the end of the day, when the gardens were about to be locked up, we wandered to the exit and just let the children run and play.  After all, they could get dirty now that mom had what she wanted.  That is when the sun actually came out.

No, dusk was on the horizon, but our 2-year-old Josephine ran and played and laughed and smiled.

And that is when my husband took back out the camera that he had already packed away and started to shoot.

And that’s when we saw her smile.

You know…It’s good to record life.  The ups and downs and all arounds.

But sometimes we especially need to record the joys—because they remind us to smile!

 

 

 

The Worst Part About Parenting a Child With Food Allergies…

Do you honestly want to know one of the FIRST things I did when I left all 3 of my children with my hubs and went to visit my family in Arizona???? I BOUGHT, ATE, AND ENJOYED PEANUTS!!!! And I felt…

Click here to read more:  Source: The Worst Part About Parenting a Child With Food Allergies…

Momma, have you ever traveled alone???

Listen, I know the appropriate answer in ALL of our mommy lives is THAT OUR CHILDREN ARE OUR GREATEST BLESSINGS!

Therefore, Pinterest and Facebook and Instagram and LIFE itself was created (of course, exaggerating on ALL of the above) for T.H.E.M.

But when you are a mommy—you FEEL as if you MUST only be mommy.

100%.

All the time.

Because, by golly, you created THAT life—you can just as easily TAKE IT AWAY (oops—wrong tangent).

No, really…You feel this gut need to be there 24/7 plus all of those hours in between that in mommy hood REALLY DO EXIST!

I know.  Because I have been a mommy for 10 and a half years.  And in the years that I have been a mommy, I have had, literally just today, A TOTAL OF 2 weeks WHERE I HAVEN’T HAD A CHILD IN MY PRESENCE since my firstborn was, well, BORN.  (And those words do deserve ALL CAPS)

That’s 365 x 10 plus 6 months which equals approximately 3,830 days where life has NEVER EVER EVER EVER been about a single moment of me since.  Now, take away the 14 days where I have been a mommy BUT not in the presence of a single child that was mine equals 3,816 days.  Forget the fact that I am Facetiming them about 2 times a day—they are not hanging on to my shirttails, so it is still deemed “free”.

Ladies—There is something utterly overwhelming about that number.   And, if you’re sanctimonious, spare me the comments, because that’s a crap load of LOTS of time dedicated to little people.  Enough of a load to make you go just a WEE BIT insane.

And, even though, I am suppose to be in ARIZONA with 1/3 of my little people right now, I wound up here (due to an expired passport) ALL ALONE.

At first I was like, what do I do???

At first it was like—lie in bed.  Don’t feed anyone.  Take a long shower.  Get coffee.  Sleep.

A little boring—because, after all, children do make our lives FUN!

But the more days I have been relaxing here, the more I have realized that I have needed this.

This moment.

To NOT be constantly thinking about scissors and rocks and crying babies and wiping my son’s bottom to save my laundry load from streaks later…

This moment.

To not be picking stuck boogers out of the littlest nostrils and convincing the oldest that it is her SWORN duty to play with the littles for ONE HOUR of the 24 WAKING HOURS she has in her day so that I can sit and stare mindlessly into a dirty house.

This moment.

To not be cutting crust off of bread—whichever parent invented that method of sandwich preparation—remind me to KILL YOU LATER, because, for some reason, my children KNOW it and CAN’T eat sandwiches with crust.

This moment.

To realize that my house is probably the aftermath of the storm—but I am ALONE in my bed without physically seeing the dirt and grime and toys and laundry—so I am SAFE FROM THE STORM!

And the longer I am apart from my Tasmanian devils, the more I appreciate being their mommy.  It’s like that Christmas chocolate you get that you put up high to only have a piece every once in a while because you want to make it last…NOT SAYING THAT I’LL STUFF MY KIDS UP HIGH SOMEWHERE SO THEY’LL LIVE (or am I????).

Simply saying—this moment of being without kids is allowing my haggard body, soul, and mind to reboot.

So I can go back and live 24/7 for another 3,816 days—upon which they will all be out of the home and I will be SOBBING for the days of insanity.

#truth

#nuttynuttytruth

To end…my advice for you, mommies, out there.  Maybe take a break from day 3,173 and go somewhere without kids and just lie in bed, be bored, drink coffee, shower, and reboot.

It’s totally worth it.

And, don’t worry, the house will be a disaster upon your return—as if you NEVER really left in the first place.  BUT OH YOUR SOUL WILL KNOW THE TRUTH!

And that truth will let you live on!

Power on, Mommy—and travel alone!!!!

 

 

 

Slow Down…Today’s lessons from the storks.

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My two year old delight is walking around with pretzels in a Boleslawiec pottery bowl.  She is in yesterday’s dress, a dirty face, grubby fingers, and static hair.

She has huge eyes and is divine.

Her brother is flying Batman around the house and has told me on a number of occasions today that he is NOT hungry—he just needs chocolate chips, ice cream, and chips.

Apparently, those are NOT food items 😉

I offered to put my kids in the shower.  Because, when you are a mom, you know your shower is not your shower.  It is sprinkled with bath crayons, rubber toys, cups, and other assortments of water-proof items that make the perfect island escape.

Or Alcatraz.

Depends who is looking at it.

Island escape:  Kids.

Alcatraz:  Moms.

But, you see, the thing is today, outside my kitchen window, I saw a stork soaring over my home.  In circles.  It was so peaceful.  And lovely.  I watched it for about 5 minutes.

I was awestruck at the pace it soared, at the heights it went.  At its perseverance to go around and around and around.

It was lovely and serene.  It was divine.  And it reminded me that I have a job to do that does not require rush.

It requires:

Strength

Perseverance

Patience

Time

And finally…Devotion

We have two extremely large stork nests just hundreds of yards from our home.  I get to watch the divine birth of new stork babies summer in and summer out.  And, yet, I still have so much to learn from them.

One:  Storks are devoted to their mates.  They are willing to travel the world to find the other and build a family together.

Two:  Storks build their homes together.  Piece by piece.  They don’t get everything they want overnight.  It takes hard work and time.  They gather and hunt and place and piece together their home === stick by stick.  This takes time.

Three:  Storks are patient.  The gentle circling to climb higher and higher was peaceful and encouraging in the same breath.  Oftentimes, we want to summit in a sprint.  To truly summit a mountain, however, takes patience.  My husband climbed Mt. Elbrus on the Russian/Georgian border.  It took extreme patience and step-by-step determination to reach the top.  But they made it.  In good shape.   One of the highest peaks in the world.  They did it!  But, had they rushed, their bodies would have given out and they would have gotten sick or worse.

Patience…that’s what I saw this morning when watching my neighboring stork.

Four:  Storks may travel up to 20,000km to go from home to home.  Which means they persevere.  Through it all.  To get where they need to go.  Enough said.

Five:  Lastly, I have seen a stork up close.  It is large and majestic.  It walks without fear and flies unafraid of the neighboring hawk in the sky.  It knows it is brave.  It knows it is strong.  And it knows that it has one job to do:  raise its family right.

Today’s soaring stork reminded me that I don’t need to rush my children into perfection.  That I need to guide them into little people who will, one day, leave the nest when they are ready.  In the meantime, I should enjoy the task at hand.

Now, if you don’t mind…My Littles are running in circles, holding hands, and dancing in the kitchen.  And I was just invited to join them!

I think I shall…

They can definitely HAVE THIS DANCE!