The Mischief of Minions

Kids, Family, Insanity…

The 3-year-old Babysitter

My 3-year-old daughter occasionally out-mothers her mother. She loves (most of the time, anyway) to play with her little brother.

Last night, she decided to babysit him. I walked into the room to this:

The baby seemed perfectly content to be buried in toys (of which we have far too many) and play while his big sister looked on fondly.

Yes, someone is going to have to clean up this mess: probably me. But I will take this instance of pure love and caring between the two any day.
She really is a good big sister.

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Minions of the 4-legged variety

We are blessed with much fun and laughter in our house: pre-baby, and even pre-marriage, we brought in a crazy pug puppy, and he has been making us laugh ever since.

He was, truly, my first baby, all 2 pounds (now 20) of him. If you aren’t familiar with pugs, they are a kind of crazy breed and do all sorts of neat things: the head tilt, the bunny run (tucking their tail under their belly and running like mad), and are pretty entertaining overall. We named him Loki the Wonder Pug, after the Norse God of Mischief. It’s appropriate.

Today, realizing the pug smelled a bit like a sewer and it could no longer wait, started getting the tub ready for the stinky fur ball.
Loki, though generally agreeable, is not a big fan of baths. It requires a lot of work to keep him in the tub and get him clean without him escaping. Today with my arms elbow-deep in fur and lather, my daughter (who loves baths) decided to take advantage of my distraction and jump in the tub with him: right in with the dirty dog water.

Rather than yell at her I decided to be philosophical: even though she was now going to also need a bath after jumping in the hair-pool, at least she couldn’t be drawing on walls or something. Besides, it was kinda funny.

Anyway, if you aren’t lucky enough to have an obnoxious pug, I thought I would share some of his post-tub drying methodologies:

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Hockey girl!

My husband is a crazy hockey nut, especially a fan of the Chicago Blackhawks. Their convention is this weekend, and my excited husband and his hockey pals were gathering in the kitchen, examining their “game-worn” and making plans for their big weekend.

My daughter, all excited at their arrival and caught up in the fun, immediately ran upstairs and started digging through drawers to don herhockey jersey. She was one of the boys all night – but by far the cutest!!

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Bedtime anguish – can you help me? Please?

So cute when she’s sleeping -but so hard to get her to sleep!

Seriously, this is ridiculous. The pain of knowing I am losing a war with a three-year-old is humiliating. And costly. I am an awful parent. My daughter has giant black circles under her eyes. WE have giant black circles under our eyes.

When it was just one child, things were easier. I had more hands. I had more patience. We could attempt the bedtime routine thing with books and music and it was enough. It isn’t anymore.

I admit it: I struggle somewhat with structure in my own life. I know that I should start putting her to bed at 7:30pm, walk her to her room, get her into her pajamas, brush her teeth and read a book.

But when I get home at 7pm from work, that makes it hard: I want to see my kid; I want her to know me. So we play. We dance. We color. We talk. We eat. I lose track of time with frequency in the midst of having some quality time with my family.

But even when I try to get her in bed by like 8:30pm? It’s a battle. And we’ve been weak: we’ve let her go to her room and read books on her own. On occasion, she’s managed to slip into bed with an iPhone and play games. We’ve done whatever we could do to keep her away from her brother long enough for him to actually go to sleep, and it is backfiring miserably.

She gets jealous that he is getting the attention. She cries, she yells, she bargains; we threaten, we wheedle and cajole. Last night, I found her downstairs watching the TV we had left on, bug-eyed because it was a seriously scary show and the poor thing couldn’t look away.

I’m near the end of patience with what to do. I’m out of ideas.

I am pulling out my already predominantly gray hair (you know, under the awesome highlights). So this is a plea: Readers, those of you kind enough to read my musings and struggles, how do I fix this? How do I solve the bedtime problem before she hits puberty??

Please, your comments and wisdom and advice are desperately needed!


One Liners: Captain Hook

S: “Mommy, you’re Scully and I’m Captain Hook!”

M: “Well, Captain, where’s your Hook?”

S: ::looking down:: “I don’t have a hook. I only have this bag…”. ::dramatic sigh::


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Plotting mischief

I took this the other morning watching the kids play. It is a story without legitimate ending but amazing potential: the look on my son’s face combined with the dangerous elements of a full roll of toilet paper and the limitless imagination of his big sister… Oh the havoc they will wreak together!

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A Perfect Moment

Frozen in time, a glimpse of tiny perfection in a moment where I am actually sitting and appreciating you. Your beautiful lips, your red-blonde lashes, the warmth of your tiny head and your visage of total relaxation and comfort.

Your squishy elbows and milky-white skin; your soft breathing and baby hair curling with sweat: your sculpted curving cheeks amaze me; the way you turn yourself so trustingly into my body gives me peace.

In this moment, you are still mine, wrapped in my arms. These seconds go too fast, and you are growing far too quickly for my liking. I search your face trying to memorize each tiny piece – each nook and cranny – because by tomorrow it will have changed.

My little boy, you are precious beyond words to me. You are all that is perfect and good with the world, and one of my greatest blessings.

In a short while, you will either be howling with laughter or screaming your head off because I left your milk in the kitchen; in a year you will be driving me crazy with your demands and talking back to me. You will likely throw trucks at my head, kick your sister and torment the dog. And that’s all ok: I look forward to your growth and the mystery of who you will become.

But allow me to enjoy this moment where you are peaceful, and sleeping and mostly potential. I am so grateful to be here with you! I love you forever, little boy. May your dreams be beautiful.

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Creative Watercolor

My daughter LOVES to paint and color, and spends most of her play-time doing so – sometimes painting for hours at a time.    One of her favorite mediums is watercolor: she loves to mix the water with the brush and swirl it around; she loves using her easel.  She seems to have an innate sense of color (like her mama!) and gets better all the time at shape and structures.  She made this for me a while back, and called it “Rainbow House” – I keep it at my desk at work and find myself staring at it and smiling.

Last night however, when I returned home, my little artist had found a new object to paint: her one-year-old brother.   He was all smiling, toothy grin on the front, but had a bright red paint line bisecting the length down the back of his skull.  When questioned, my darling girl enthusiastically assured me that “he really wanted her to paint his head” and that “it made him really happy” when she did so.

In fairness, I suppose he does make pretty good canvas: at one his very round head is still very bald.  I can see the appeal.

She should enjoy herself now, I suppose, while he doesn’t know what’s going on.  I suspect she’s going to be in real trouble in a year or two when he catches on!

“Rainbow House” – by S. Age. 3

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A picture of childish innocence…

Approximately 5 minutes after I took this picture, my beautiful daughter (clearly all sweetness and light) purposely sprayed her baby brother in the face with the hose and proceeded to start to dig up the lawn.

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The magic of weekends – and the ugly flipside.

Precious little hands a la crazy polish requests

For the working mom (aka, me, who will work until such time as I win Lotto or find a different way to provide for my minions) weekends are particularly precious.  You have two full days of being with the kids, the dog, maybe a husband.  You know the time is previous and even when you want, nay, NEED sleep you tend to ignore it to enjoy the time with the rugrats and keep them from self-destruction.

And yet, it is such a weird thing: kids have no concept of time at that age, and throw themselves completely into everything.  Today I painted my daughter’s nails (she wanted stripes), ran around with a baby hanging off me trying to get ready to go to a parade, came home from that parade and blew up the kiddie pool.  My husband and I tag-teamed on watching the mermaid and putting the baby to sleep. It’s a giant juggling match to fit as much in as possible, complicated somewhat by the fact that the kiddos feel no sense of urgency whatsoever and have to be half-dragged away from whatever has caught their attention at that moment.  We run, we play, we laugh, we splash, we cuddle.

But the biggest takeaways are the amazingly cool things they do.  Today I got to listen to my daughter tell me she wanted to hug the Darth Vader from the parade and later watch the ridiculous faces of my little son as he covered himself in red popsicle (and listen to the subsequent scream from his first brain freeze). I live for these moments.

There is a downside.  So rushed and intent am I on spending time with the kids (and assuaging the guilt I feel  from spending so much time away during the week)  that I rarely get much done in the way of preparation for the next week, cleaning, gardening, or any of the other things you probably need to make a household run smoothly.  My house is a mess and you could get lost in my closet.  I need to do work-work in preparation for the work-week ahead,  and get the floors clean, and nothing happens unless I stay up late at night or drag myself up at 4 a.m.  I don’t get how those other moms do it: have clean houses, ordered minds, and clothes without sticky shoulder handprints. Maybe I need some kind of organizational rehabilitation program?

Basically, I am a hot mess in desperate need of a few extra hours a day and 3 arms.   Can anyone tell me where to find them…?

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