The Mischief of Minions

Kids, Family, Insanity…

Toddler Dance Lessons

My daughter S. – Age 4 went to her first dance lesson this weekend.

We did the whole nine yards: bought the pink ballet shoes, tights and leotard; I even put her hair up in a bun for good measure, not knowing specifically what to expect.

I am not striving to be a dance mom. I never had dance lessons or even a single pair of ballet shoes. Mainly, because my kid seems kinda fascinated (if not, if I am honest, built for such things) with ballerinas and all things dance right now, I thought it would be fun for her and good exercise.

(Also her older cousin does it and she was totally jealous and I get that and don’t want her to feel left out. I am a sucker that way.)

Anyway. It was cute and sickeningly adorable to see all those little girls in their dance garb, trying to watch the teacher and raise their arms and point their toes.

My daughter was far more interested in using the dance bar as a monkey bar, climbing the mirror and trying to hang upside down. I felt a sick gush of pride at her skill, and grateful the bar didn’t come crashing down.

Even in that first class I did get exposed to some of the “dance mom” culture as they shouted “point your toes darling” to some of the girls and oohed and aaahed when their daughters did the right thing.

I refrained from rolling my eyes or saying “For God’s Sake they are FOUR!” Instead, I just smiled as my daughter galloped across the dance floor with a complete lack of delicacy and a giant smile on her face.

That’s what it is all about.


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Doggy Dish Trials

We’re worried about flooding in our kitchen these days. It has become a constant battle to keep the Pergo dry…
and the Pug hydrated.

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Running Madness


My tiny son is a machine: he runs excitedly even when he should be walking, and has taken to dancing and marching in place when standing still. He has boundless energy. In this picture he is chasing after his big sister S – Age 3.5.

I was remarking to my husband that when our daughter was his age, there is no chance we would have let her go like that, barefoot and in pajamas, down a puddle-laden sidewalk. We would have been two steps behind at best. I guess since the first survived we have relaxed a little, and are more inclined known to watch and laugh.

We did not, for instance, keep him out of the puddle: we were too busy making bets on how he would react – whether he would plow through or plop down for a splash. He froze, actually, like his feet were stuck in glue for a moment, and stared down at his wet toes in confusion.

He then toddled happily on.

My son would have made it to the other side of the neighborhood had I not eventually scooped him up.

Children are the best thing that ever happened to me, and by far the most intriguing little creatures. It is becoming pretty apparent though, that their daddy and I are going to have to start marathon training if we hope to keep up!

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Band-aid obsessed


No, it’s not modern art: it is an aerial view of my 14 month old son’s giant head o’ bald after Dr. S – Age 3.5 got to him post-traumatic bump with a Tinker Bell bandage.

I don’t know if it is the amazing colors or vast availability of characters from which to choose. My daughter is just as thrilled to get a new box of band-aids as she is a new toy.

The delight that follows every new bump, bruise or cut – on anyone in the family – is slightly wrong on some levels, but vastly amusing. Waking up from a nap with one on your arm seems a small price to pay.

Now that her baby brother is walking, it is good to know immediate and colorful first aid is always at the ready!

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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!


Everyone poops – eventually!

Cover of "Everyone Poops (My Body Science...

Cover of Everyone Poops (My Body Science)

There is a famous children’s book called Everyone Poops.  I think the title is misleading, or at least not complete enough.  It makes it sound like it’s no big deal.   The truth of the matter is that in my household, POOP is  not  taken lightly, written in all CAPS and bolded, and to this day requires a parade and light show with my daughter’s every deuce.

For whatever reason, my gastro-challenged toddler had an amazingly difficult time with the entire subject.  From the time she was very small, she would contort her body into the strangest positions (including one resembling child’s pose in yoga) to deal with this torturous body function.  She made awful faces.  She hid. We shoved prunes, fiber and everything else religiously down the kid but to no avail.  I felt horrible for her.

As a consequence, her potty-training was a year-long nightmare that only recently started to ease.  She refused to go.  It hurt and she hated us.  We tried ignoring the misses, we tried being nice, we offered praise and rewards for successful attempts.  I yelled, I screamed, I threatened and cajoled, and I had tantrums (okay, mostly she had tantrums and I ran away screaming) but nothing worked. I felt embarrassed and frustrated; I was horribly anxious and certain I was failing as a mom.  It was totally out of my control.  My kid – who spoke at one – was going to graduate from high school in homemade pull-ups.

They say it’s really up to the child to decide when they are ready, and that they’ll figure it out on their own.  And one day(after I had mostly given up) it just happened.  It may have been the diet of almonds, raisins, apples and water, or maybe she finally got sick of it being such a big deal and decided to move on, but my daughter does a pretty good job these days.   She did figure it out, and it did get better, completely outside of my personal efforts to make it happen.

That said, we are still called into the bathroom anytime she has a surprise for us in the potty.  We still have to make a big deal, and it is still a point of enormous pride for her when she either goes without being told and when she scores a No. 2.   It’s been a few months, but the first thing she reports gleefully when I come home from work is “No Accidents!”

If you are a mommy going through this, I have nothing but empathy for you.  Know you will get through this, and it will end.  Eventually, everyone poops – whether they want to or not.  Your job is to do everything you can to keep your sanity while you wait.  It’ll happen, I promise!

Can you relate?

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