Bedtime

Bedtime is getting hairy at our house.

Well, that is not completely accurate.  What I should say is, every night, as I run Jr’s bath, there are two very different scenarios that are equally likely to go down.
When I whirl my hand to blend his bathwater , I might as well be spinning a roulette wheel….
Where the toddler mood stops, nobody knows.

In the past months I have developed a checklist of precautionary measures that render me utterly ridiculous looking slightly less sexy than my usual smokin’ hawt look.

1. My hair gets twisted and wound tightly up on top of my head so no little  hands fighting to NOT be fished out of the tub can latch on to a handful of loose hair. (Which may have resulted in something that looked like The Mr trying to pry a howler monkey off my head on at least one occasion.)

2. My maxi skirt (summer uniform of choice, ) gets hitched up under my shirt, over my boobs, so I don’t trip as I chase a naked streak of toddler down the hall waving a pair of dinosaur jammies frantically.

3. A nighttime diaper is tucked in the hitched up waist of that skirt for a “quick draw” when I finally manage to pin that calf down.

4. Big, old glasses are a must, protects from flying bath toys, water, flailing limbs, etc, without sacrificing current pair.

5.  If it feels like it might be a marathon of toddler emotion after story time ends, there may occasionally be a travel mug containing a beverage derived from the grape. (Any port in the storm, people. )

6. Of course, all of this is most likely drenched by the time Jr has been extracted from the tub and secured in his puppy towel.

Last night bedtime was a 3 hour sob-fest filled with toddler bargaining attempts, whipping of nighttime buddies, clothing removal, and blood – curdling screams. (And that was just from me. Just kidding. Kinda.)
I came out of Jr’s room looking like I just did a triathlon, and fell instantly asleep in exhaustion and self-defense in case he woke up for more of the cray.

Tonight?  Obeyed every request, sweetly particpated in stories, cuddled for songs, and drifted immediately off to dreamland cuddling Beans The Bear.  So cute I swear he had a heavenly glow around his adorable little head.

:::hitching skirt back down and pulling off giant glasses ::::

Do you think they swap “guess what hoops I get MINE to jump through” stories over finger-paints at pre-school?

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Toddler Law. Just Sayin’.

A toddler doesn’t ALWAYS have to poop in his pants.

But if he does, it is when you literally have one foot out the door, running 20 minutes late already, on a day when every big wig you care about from the East coast office is going to be on site at your location.

And it is a monster messy poo for the ages.

 

Just Sayin’.

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Oh, Three.

So Jr. has been 3 for a few months now, and I continue to look back on what people refer to as “the terrible twos” with misty-eyed fondness. Oh how I loved me some two. There was nothing terrible about two. Two meant nap times, and cuddles, and eating anything set in front of him, and running toward Mommy. Two was super cute.

Three? Three is a tornado. Parenting a three year old could be an ACTUAL boot-camp style fitness class, but people would drop out from exhaustion.   Three, so far, has been kind of surreal.

Reasons I buy wine by the case Fun facts about 3 year olds:

-3 year olds don’t care what you say. A three year old will sprint from you while you say stop over and over. A three year old will climb the drapes like a cat right after a conversation about why it is a terrible idea. I am fairly certain that when I move my mouth, my 3 year old hears the same “Wah Wah Wah Wah Wah” noises that all adults seem to make in Charlie Brown land, and not actual words.

-You don’t need a bull horn if you have a 3 year old. A three year old is the loudest thing on the planet. So just get the 3 year old to convey what you need to say to any crowd you are leading – except see the first item on this list. Not so much with the caring what you ask. So mostly 3 year olds just yell NO or make animal–like noises you can’t explain.

-The more tired the 3 year old, the harder it is to get said 3 year old to stop moving – a line gets crossed, and after that point you pretty much have to wait until the kid drops mid-run. (this does happen.)

-The only acceptable thing to do with something a 3 year old no longer wants, is to fling/whip/throw it away as hard as the 3 year old can. Don’t want those peas? Leaving them on the plate or pushing them aside won’t do. Must. Fling. Peas. All done with that watering can, Jr? Oh you can’t just set it down, you have to whip it across the yard – probably in the direction of the dog? Silly me. (We are working on it – but I admit, if I see his arm move at this point, I duck/block my face without even thinking.)

-Speaking of food –3 year olds are fickle eaters. Mac and cheese can be the best substance on the planet one day, and the next it seems it must be like swallowing razor blades – based solely on the reaction of the 3 year old.

-Actually 3 year olds are fickle with the everything. The Room on the Broom ap that said 3 year old adored on the tablet during brunch last week? Whipping it out at dinner this week will get you an eyeroll and a shouted NO!     Nothing is “for sure.”

-Messy and possibly slightly dangerous? That is the activity a 3 year old HAS TO do.

-Recurrences of separation anxiety are real, yo. And 35 lbs of kid velcroed to your leg is tougher to haul around and IMPOSSIBLE to pry off. (Ok, I confess, I am soaking that up mostly – because being the center of his world feels pretty spectacular… but it makes preschool drop off kind of tricky/heartbreaking.)

 

Suddenly I understand the mom I once saw full on tackle a toddler in a parking lot. I totally get the backpack leashes I have seen on some kiddos around this age. Even that look in a fellow mom’s eye that says “as soon as I know your safe, I am going to wring your neck!” Safety can quickly become a guerilla-style situation in the ever-changing world of parenting a 3 year old.

It is tough not to get extra helicopter-y as he starts to enlarge his personality and test the boundaries of his growing world. Extra prayer and adult beverages are often called for. (I reserve the right to be protective – I’ve got 3+ years of work into this model – and even in his current state, I know how far we have come…   I am protecting my investment when I insist he refrain from diving off the top of the play set head first.)

Ok ok ok – none of this is ALL the time. It is accompanied by a large amount of cuteness, and charisma, and a wonder of the world that is amazing to watch each day.

You know – the kind of wonder that has a volume of +1000, and is streaking away from me at a flat sprint while giggling and dumping some sort of messy substance along behind.

Oh, Three.

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Paging Dr. Facebook. Just Sayin’.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Doctor Interwebz-ing my aches and pains.
Hell I Googled “did my water just break” when Jr decided it was go time. If I can’t web-search it, it probably didn’t happen.

BUT.
Even internet crazy me thinks that posting “HOLY CRAP- WHAT IS THIS?” type posts, accompanying pics of various skin abnormalities, bug bites, giant welts, etc, might not be the best path to reliable medical intervention.

Just Sayin’.

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Lucky one.

Dear about-to-turn-28-years-old-Keri,

Hey, it’s you, from 10 years in the future!! Don’t believe me? Let’s talk about that stash of  Taco Bell bean burritos and the pack of ancient Camel Lights you keep in the icy recesses of your freezer in case of civic or natural disaster. No one knows (knew) about that, eh?
See, told you it was me.. er, you.

(By the way, you never use any of that stuff. No zombie apocalypse yet.)

I am writing this on the eve of my/ our 38th birthday.
The wedding you are furiously planning for September? It was beautiful, and stressful, and it took forever to get here, and was over in 2.2 seconds.
Just like the last 10 years.
That English degree you are getting that everyone assumes is just the next notch in your wandering-academic-eye belt? Guess what – it’s the keeper.
And you get a job. And another job. And another.
And you never stop starting sentences with “and,” or writing like you talk. (Sorry, Mrs. Babb. )

In December you’ll turn a corner at the animal shelter and find out the shape of your heart is 32 pounds of fluffy perfection, and you will think you can’t possibly get any luckier.
Then in a year or so, you’ll find the perfect open, airy, amazing 6th floor condo, with a patio to die for in the best location, and you’ll think you can’t possibly get any luckier.
You’ll grow into a group of friends you haven’t even met yet, and you will just KNOW you can’t get any luckier.

Then you will have your son – YEP – the M.S. is totally controlled, and the docs all green light you, and it goes perfectly and HE IS perfection, and I swear you will think your heart will explode from being the luckiest of the lucky.

To top it all off, you will move with your hubba husband, freaking adorable dog, and beyond awesome son, to a perfectly sized house right in the thick of YOUR HOME TOWN!!

28 year old Keri, WAIT!!
Stop running and screaming! Listen to your older and wiser self.

You will move back. It will be your choice.
You will live a mile from your parents.
Just up the road from the friend you’ve known longer than any other.
You’ll have more waves of deja vu and flashbacks and ‘WTF am I doing here’ moments than even your/our ridiculously overactive imagination can concoct.
You’ll get ANOTHER job.
You’ll undertake 2 years of remodling projects (dear God I hope we are done now.)

And 10 years from where you are, you will sit out on the patio in the same quiet you knew as a child, sipping a dirty martini, writing a letter to yourself by the light of your son’s room monitor, and you will know.

You will know, at the very center of the core of your being, that you couldn’t possibly be any luckier than you are to be right where you are in your life right then.

Happy birthday, 28 year old Keri.
The life you are on the brink of launching into is nothing like you planned, and every single thing you ever dared to dream.

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