So-So Mom's Improvement Guide
This is mostly for entertainment, but don't you always feel like whenever you focus on one area, something else falls apart?
Toddlers are known for a certain stereotypical disposition, but a wide variety of distinct personality types still exists within this group of fun, exhausting little people. Our local pool separates the baby pool from the regular pool with a chain-link fence and gate. I've noticed over the years that the way each of my kids and their little friends has dealt with that gate says a ton about their personality.
Heads towards the gate a few times and throws a mini-tantrum when you lead them away and tell them 'no', but soon gets distracted by a pool noodle and resumes baby pool fun.
This is 'typical toddler' behavior. Typical toddler often translates to typical kid in the future. While it might seem tiresome, it is not soul-sucking exhausting and that is hopefully what you can expect from here on out.
Doesn't notice there is a gate.
When you have one of these, the other moms are totally jealous and consider asking you to trade kids for the afternoon. Just remember to enjoy it while it lasts. Total oblivion of surroundings, while an excellent trait in a toddler, is much less pleasing in a grade-school kid.
Goes to gate each time it opens to ensure that it gets shut properly.
Uptight, anal, whatever you want to call it, this kid has it! These kids are fun. They like to follow the rules and even when they do not, they might tell on themselves. At four this child may berate the lifeguards about not blowing their whistles when he gets too excited and accidentally runs. However, there is also a good chance you have many hours ahead of you spent waiting for this kid to finish buildings or puzzles before life can continue. You will also discover very few children and even many adults do not know how to shut a gate, because you will have to make 85 trips per hour over to that gate so he can shut it.
Sprints to gate, swings it violently into your legs, sprints to edge of deep pool and possibly jumps if you do not get there in time. Maniacal laughter may or may not be involved before the blood-curdling scream let out if you do catch up.
This kid is desperately trying to drown themselves basically every second you are at the pool and very irritated with you for not allowing it. There is no sitting quietly with a toy or cuddling with mommy to stay warm. I have one of these right now, which serves as a shocking reminder that not all of them are like this! If you have one too, I am sure you have the same fears I do about the implications this has for the child's future behavior. I am holding onto hope that it won't be so bad because this one did not jump into the big pool like the first one I had. Maybe she will just flirt with the edge of expectations rather than cannon balling them in the future. You pray for me, I'll pray for you.
Tell me. Which type do you have? Or am I missing a type?
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Sometimes we take for granted that some life lessons are blatantly obvious to our offspring, and they don't require explicit teaching. We assume some things concerning safety and hygiene come naturally, and for many children they do. But, there are those kids who simply just don't get it and not only do we have to teach them these lessons, but we have to teach them over and over!
1. Don't stand on things with wheels.
I find that the less balance a child has, the more inclined they are to do this. It is quite mind-boggling, really. This was my very first official house rule and one that is still often repeated. My oldest child
obsessively stood on his ride-on fire truck which eventually rolled out from under him splatting his head on the floor. Little did I know at the time, that child does not give a rat’s behind about house rules!
2. Don't eat where you poo.
Every mom occasionally has to remind her kids to wash their hands after using the bathroom, but some kids don’t seem to understand that if you lay your cheese stick down on the counter to do it, the purpose is pretty well defied. My third daughter once explained to me that it is just fine to eat a granola bar on the toilet because it only requires one hand and she can use the other hand to wipe. I suppose she is technically correct, but just ewww!
3. Don't wrap things around your neck.
There are some kids who possess a natural compulsion to wrap belts, cords, shoe laces, strings, basically anything more than ten inches in length, around their necks. Once again, my oldest was one of them. Our scariest incident involved one of those long, stretchy sticky-hand things. He turned colors before I finally jammed my finger between it and his neck to rip it off.
4. Don't jump from high places.
You know that funny feeling you get in your tummy at the top of the high dive? Apparently some kids do not have that feeling! I imagine my sixth child’s internal dialogue goes something like this, “Well yesterday I jumped off that stool, and I’m still alive, how ‘bout we try the counter today!”
5.Don’t jump into water of an unknown depth.
The kids who whine the most about getting water on their faces at bathtime are the first ones to jump into a swimming pool without considering that they might, just maybe, get water on their faces. The first time I took my oldest son to a hotel swimming pool, he ran and jumped into the ten-foot end. I could deal with that now, but at the time I had only been a mom for two years and freaked out. Luckily, my hubby sprung into action more quickly!
6. Don't run off with reckless abandon.
Some kids just see absolutely no difference between a big grassy area in the park and the parking lot at the grocery store. Both are fair game for expending some energy after being cooped up in the car. So far, I have had two runners, three stayers, and one eenie-meenie-miney-moe which one will it be today-er.When my oldest was two, he made a very sudden move to get away and sprinted off in Sears. He made a huge lap around the whole store, ran right back to where my husband was standing talking to a clerk, and laughed hysterically. I was near tears for my fear of him being kidnapped, and that was back when I still cared about the disapproving stares of little old ladies, so I felt completely embarrassed as well.
7. Don't lick poo.
Finally, here is one lesson that I only taught one time! Thank goodness! You would think the smell of poo alone would repulse all children enough to keep them from doing such a thing, but you would be wrong. Maybe my son had a super stuffy nose. Maybe he thought it looked like some delicious, stinky chocolate. Anyway, above is a picture I took a few minutes before the poo licking event. You see that pitchfork-like thing he is holding? It is a pooper scooper for cleaning cow patties out of barns. Well, he was proudly carting off a real fresh one when he suddenly stopped and in one swift motion, swiped his hand right through it and directly into his mouth. Brings a whole new meaning to getting your mouth washed out with soap, now doesn’t it?
Now before any of you claim that if kids were disciplined properly, they would not do these sorts of
things, please be advised that you are wrong. You have just not been blessed with the humility that these children provide for their mothers.
Do you have a monster under your bed?
He is the sneakiest kind of monster and an impossible-to-exterminate kind of monster. He is not a figment of my imagination, but he sure knows how to get inside my head!
He and his friends are known as the clutter monsters. I am not the only one whose home they have overtaken; they infest homes across the country. They come in many forms. They sneak into your home disguised as adorable crafts created by your preschooler, kid's meal toys, useless carnival prizes or are even brought to your home by friends and family wrapped in colorful paper. They multiply by feeding off of over-indulged children like parasites. They hide under beds, on shelves, and in boxes and drawers. When they outgrow those spaces they slither into all parts of your home, frequently concealing important items such as school shoes and homework.
They are extremely resistant to all attempts to rid your home of them because children adore them. They cry and complain and try to help them hide from you. They beg for more of them and bring home more and more of them with each passing day! Sometimes attempts to bring in devices to control and contain them simply exacerbate the problem by converting to clutter monsters themselves.
So why bother? Let the clutter monsters be, you say? They won't hurt a thing? Oh, but you are wrong! The clutter monsters can cause severe symptoms of anger and frustration that create tension and stress in the inhabitants of an infested home. They can also cause bodily injuries to your family by tripping them or poking their feet. They must be dealt with!
Mothers everywhere must forge on and continue to battle these beasts! I, personally, have a pretty serious infestation in many areas of my home. I suggest a dual-approach method. Some clutter monsters can be wrangled in and removed from a home, but many will remain. For these ones who are simply too difficult to eradicate, an effective containment system must be put in place. I have recently purchased new containment devices that are proving quite effective in my office, but the real test will come when I move on to rooms in which children and clutter monsters live in harmony. Wish me luck!
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Kids in big families will tell you that always having someone else to blame for stuff is their favorite part of having lots of brothers and sisters. And any that say something else are lying. My last couple of kids’ first complete sentence was, “He did it.” Sometimes I lay in bed at night fantasizing about fingerprinting, DNA sampling, and video surveillance to catch the real culprits. Here is my list of things I would like to discipline someone for if I could ever figure out whom that someone was!
1. Whose poop is on the wall?
2. Whose pee is on the floor?
3. Who bit one point off each star-shaped donut and sucked out all the fillings?
4. Who stuffed a partially eaten hamburger under the seat in the car?
5. Who tossed an apple core behind the couch?
6. Who got all of the Halloween costumes out in March?
7. Who spilled an entire bowl of cereal on the floor and just left it there?
8. Who left the fridge door open? (This could be numbers 1-100 by itself.)
9-14. Who broke the (fill in the blank)?
15. Who tossed a lunch box, a hair bow, the baby’s shoe, a toy car, a used paper plate,
a fork, and a half-finished math paper in the laundry room while we were ‘picking up’?
16-21. Who left their gum on the (fill in a location)?
22. Whose sucker is stuck in the bathroom rug?
23. Who used an entire roll of masking tape to create what I
can only describe as a mock laser beam maze?
24. Who put a pizza crust in a cup of pop and set inside the linen closet in the basement bathroom?
25. Who unpaused my TV show and changed the channel to ‘Dog with a Blog’?
26. Who ruined my good scissors by cutting plastic?
27. Who cut a dollar bill into 85 million pieces?
28. Who colored on the couch with a permanent marker?
29. Who colored on the baby with a permanent marker?
30. Who used three packets of frosting on one toaster strudel?
31. Who threw a shoe on top of the entertainment center?
32. Who threw away all the real mayonnaise including the extra bottle in the pantry just to be sure his or her sandwich is always made with Miracle Whip? (Okay, so this may not have actually happened. It is possible that I am paranoid about them plotting against me, but I sure thought I bought some mayo!)
I have discovered the perpetrator responsible for a few of these
incidents via intense interrogation techniques, but apparently most of them have
been committed by my invisible 8th child named Notme.
I am the mother of seven children ranging from teens to a toddler, living out in the middle of nowhere, USA. I aim to hone the craft of giving advice without pretending to have this whole mom thing figured out. I am Christian, but not the really nice kind that is good at it. I am also conservative, but I promise not to be in your face with political agendas very often. I like to infuse humor into my writing, so don't freak out if you are offended or appalled by what you read here. There is a very fine line between serious advice and sarcastic hyperbole.
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