The Mischief of Minions

Kids, Family, Insanity…

The turn to Age 4…


My daughter is now S. – Age 4 instead of S. – Age 3.5, and I admit, I am fighting off a bit of sadness and anxiety.

Her birthday was celebrated with sugar and fire (a la candle in donut as is tradition in my family among my sisters) and much fanfare, but after the stress of parties, etc. I fear my unchecked mind has had a little too much time to think.

My daughter becomes more interesting every day: drawing new things, creating amazing and bizarre stories in her head, pulling the most peculiar and yet somehow sensible logic and applying it to her world in the most fascinating ways. She has a memory like a fox for the most bizarre of details, loves music and art, and has an affinity for kindness and love that seems endless. Her beauty is becoming more mature, and at times I think I see glimpses of what she may look like even years from now with stunning clarity.

Don’t get me wrong: she can out-drama most 13 year olds and attempts Machiavellian schemes with maddening skill – and half the time has me pulling out my hair – but that is besides the point, and I am secretly proud of her more clever attempts.

I fall more in love with this kid every day, but at the same time, it is the realization of how quickly time passes, and how short a time I will really have with her, that floors me. I feel lucky and priviledged to have this child in my life – with all her blessings of hope and wonder at the world, and with it grows so the fear of its changing and moving on.

I am a mommy with pre-abandonment issues. On the last night of her third year, I admit I crawled into her little twin bed with her in the middle of the night, under a halo of butterflies and happiness and just laid there staring at that tiny face trying to soak it in so I would not forget any detail.

I push my fear to the background and try and focus all on my hopes for her future, and joy for my present with her – our present with her. She fills my house with love and madness, and is adored by her baby brother and parents. I must rejoice in this, and tell myself constantly that S – Age 4 will be even cooler, and that butterflies must be allowed to soar to truly live.

::Sniff::

I am one blessed mama.

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Moving Too Quickly


I haven’t posted in a few days – partially because of the need for both hands: my little boy, T. – Age 14 months is all over the place. If I am not removing him from one dangerous location or another, I am extracting objects from his mouth!

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Fecal Matters


As parents with a baby or toddler, there are many things you think you should be discussing. Perhaps you might talk about parenting strategies, or growth charts, or even your hopes and dreams for baby.

In my home? Somehow we are always talking about poop.

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Real men are OK with pink..


Because we had not found out what we were having with – well – either of our children but especially with the first, all of the baby stuff was pretty gender-neutral.

So when we got our precious baby girl, and she was old enough for her first baby swing, I pushed for pink. Truthfully, I think, I had figured, coming from a family of predominantly girls, it would not matter: clearly I would also have girls.

Which, of course, didn’t happen. And now that my son is old enough to enjoy such wonderful things, we are too cheap to buy another swing.

So- pink it is!

Luckily, my very macho son, T – Age 14 months, is far too cool to let color stand in the way of utter delight:

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Things that Make Me Jealous of Toddlers


There are at least a few moments most days when I am jealous of my children.

They don’t worry about finances, they squeeze into cramped spaces readily, and have a capacity for fun and merriment that I can only longingly admire.

Best of all? At this point in their lives, the world and the people in it exist solely to cater to their needs and amusement!

Here are a few photo examples from just this weekend of childish glee:

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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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Miniature Bicycle Babe – winning!


We got our toddler (S. – Age 3.5) a bicycle a few months ago. We thought she would be thrilled.

Instead, because she didn’t know how to ride it perfectly- struggled with pedaling a bit and took a spill, she has basically refused to ride it. The sparkling, purple (ridiculously girly!) princess bike has literally sat in our garage for months. I would beg, threaten and cajole but could not get her on the thing no matter how hard I tried. Every attempt was an exercise in tears so finally, I let it go.

It has been driving me nuts.

A week ago, we went to the park and she saw her friend R. – Age 5 ride up the park on his bike. She didn’t mention anything to me about it but I know she noticed. I didn’t say anything either.

Two evenings ago I suggested to her perhaps she and I could take her bike out and try it before bed. She looked at me for a moment, the cocked her head sideways and said: “Well, I guess I could try.

This morning that same kid rode that princess bike over a mile. What had started out as walking the dog S. – Age 3.5 turned into a quest, and I had not the heart to deny her. Accompanied by myself and our pug, she pedaled and pedaled and pedaled, and when she fell jumped right back up.

I had tears in my eyes. I am not sure if it was just pride – I think there may have been some (read: tons) of

OMG my baby is growing up!

in there too.

Here is a picture of the champ in her moment of glory:

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Running Madness


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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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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:

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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.

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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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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!

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