Dirty Little Secrets

I have a deep, dark secret that I have not shared with pretty much anyone.  I can’t believe I’m admitting to this, but here goes—I have twelve children and I’m only 29 years old.  I know, TWELVE.  Not just the two I have claimed here on my blog. Crazy, right?

What, you don’t believe me?  Well, here’s the proof.


Laundry in photo may appear smaller than in real life. 

See! That has to be the laundry of AT LEAST twelve kids because it would be absolutely ridiculous (and completely un-domestic) to have that much laundry lying around with only two children under the roof.

Oh, alright.  I only have two kids and I guess the real deep, dark secret is that I haven’t done laundry in over a month (Or two.  Let’s just say, I’m rounding down. Maybe by a lot). You see, laundry is the enemy.  I’m sure we all have that chore that we detest and slide to the end of the list, right? Mine is definitely laundry.  (I would say dishes falls into the same category, but since I’ve given that task to my husband with threat of never cooking again if he gives me lip about it, I no longer have dishes on my to-do list.)

Laundry is the least rewarding for me.  A dirty bathroom can be cleaned in less than an hour leaving me with a happy giddy feeling every time I walk past.  A nice swept floor brings joy every time I walk across it and my socks don’t get stuck to goldfish and blobs of play dough. But laundry?  It takes FOREVER to wash AND dry one single load.  And then I still have to fold, hang, iron, press, mend, darn and put away (or something like that).  And that’s only one load.  And by the time I get all the loads finished, there is more dirty laundry finding it’s way into the house. Not rewarding.  Not motivating.

So I put it off until the situation becomes severe.  Until the laundry begins climbing the walls (as can be seen in the previous photo) in a desperate attempt to find a loving home where wash and dry aren’t curse words. Until I put my son in a pair of pink leggings with butterflies and tell people he’s my long lost niece Brutus-ella, because it is the last pair of pants in the house. Until I start telling everyone my daughter dresses herself because I can’t find a shirt and skirt that even remotely look like they go together.

So what’s your dirty little secret?  Toys stashed under the couch rather than put away? Giving your kids only finger foods because there aren’t any clean spoons and you refuse to do the dishes? An inch layer of dirt on the bookshelves you just don’t want to dust?*

*These are all hypotheticals to get your mind going, certainly not other confessions I’m making.


Think Positive

I always find myself falling into the trap of only seeing the negative in life. It’s hard not to when your days are spent refereeing sibling fights, cleaning yogurt off the curtains, and washing that never ending pile of stinky, dirty kid’s clothes.

So, today, I’m making a change. I’m going to look for the positive, in everything. And I do mean EVERYTHING.

Example 1: My children help me stick to my monthly budget.

There is this completely awesome antique/collectibles store in town with windows filled with gorgeous things. Every time I drive my daughter to preschool, I almost pull in and blow my children’s college savings on “things.” But then they help me do the math.

(1) antiques store filled to the brim with breakables, plus (1) touchy preschooler, plus (1) toddler with a throwing habit, minus the amount it takes to buy what you break, equals--a really bad idea. And so, each day passes and I am blessed with a bit of pocket change to put into savings! See, POSITIVE.

Example 2: My children give me free personal training.

They’ve set up a system in which I rotate between lifting a 25 pound weight (I shall call it Brutus) and a 35 pound weight (I shall call it Boo). And when they think I’m pumped for a massive workout, I get to lift 60 pounds at once! The best part is that my “weights” increase in size occasionally, so it’s like an always progressive strength training exercise. Just think, by the time I’m carrying around 200 pounds of teenager-sized weights (not to mention however many more “weights” I add to the family), I will have arms of steel.

Example 3: My children have taught me swift reflexes and the moves of a ninja.

Ninja Exit

Just imagine, you’re sitting at dinner having a polite conversation with your husband about gas prices when out of the corner of your eye you see a shadowy shape darting side to side. Ah, yes. You’re old Sensei has returned to catch you unaware and see if you’re training has paid off.

In one swift move, you snatch 18 lethal peas out of the air before they smoosh into your hair. In the next instant you twist into a crouch and catch 3 falling glass bowls on the tip of your foot before they shatter against the tile (without dropping a single pea). Now your old master thinks he has you trapped, and he goes for the kill. The sippy sayonara! But you’ve seen this before, you’re to well trained to fall for such a mess.To onlookers it appears as if your balancing in midair when your left leg snaps out and slams that sippy into the sink (from 20 feet away, I might add).

Before your husband has even looked up from his spaghetti and meatballs to comment that he remembers gas below 2 dollars, you have single handedly shown your 2 year old Sensei who the master is now.

Just think, I might come out of this whole motherhood thing a richer, stronger, and quicker grandmother than I ever imagined I could be.

(That is If they don’t kill me before I ever get to enjoy that stage.)


The “D” Word

You know the one!  The one that sends hands racing to cover sensitive ears and leaves mouths hanging open in shock that a person could use foul language in such a cavalier manner.  It seems that I’m hearing it everywhere nowadays.  Sometimes I fear leaving the house because someone, somewhere—a parent at the playground, the cashier at the grocery store, my pediatrician—will say it as if it’s an appropriate thing to do in polite company.

WAIT! What? You thought I meant “that” swear word?  No, no no.  I’m talking far more sinister than some silly four-letter word used when you slam your toe with a sledgehammer.

I’m talking about the nine-letter “D” word that sends shivers down the spines of toddler mothers everywhere!


Oh, it seems innocent enough.  Actually to many it might sound exciting.  A diversion from the boring work day. A diversion from the humdrum household chores. But mention it to the mother of a tiny tike and your bound to see head shaking and hand wringing and moaning.

It seems simple enough.  When a child is too young for reward and punishment like his older sister (No DS to take away, no lollipops to bribe reward with) you simply attempt to divert his attention to something else.  Seems so easy and ingenious!

But here in reality, its hardly a walk in the park.  Case in point: My son decided grandma’s end table picture frame was too irresistible to leave alone.  I moved them and proceeded to stack blocks like a crazy women as his bottom lip quivered.  Seeing the 4 foot high tower swept him into my diversion and the tantrum was prevented. Right?Crying Eyes

Sure.  Until he started using the blocks as projectiles to throw at his sister’s head.  And let me tell you, my boy has got a good arm! So I dove into Diversion 2.1, which involved oohing and aahing as I scribbled in a coloring book.  He was once again easily hooked and spent exactly 2.9 seconds coloring in the book before attempting to Van Gogh the fireplace, the wall, and once again his poor sister.  I wasn’t about to lose to an opponent who weighs less than my left foot, so I searched deep into the cobwebs of my mind for the perfect solution.

“Where are your shoes?”  I said (or more accurately shrieked like an injured cat.) “Shoes, Brutus! Lets find them!”  I was bordering on lunacy, but I had to divert his attention.  It’s what EVERYONE says to do.

Luckily, Brutus is a child after my own heart and his shoe-love reaches far and wide. Unluckily, his shoes were easy to locate and we had to go outside and play.  He played and I diverted.  Stay away from that pile of dog droppings, don’t eat the rosebushes, stop clawing at your sister’s eyes.

I’d finally had enough diversion for a day.  There was only one solution. I carried him inside, plopped him on the floor, handed him the irresistible picture frame, told Grandma I’d buy her a new one, then fainted into the couch from exhaustion.

I should have stuck with the original plan.  Pretend you don’t see, make amends later, and enjoy the hour (that you could have wasted chasing your child away from anything in his grasp) by watching TV and eating a giant bag of chocolate covered pretzels.

You know, sometimes expert advice and reality just don’t mesh.


5 Things I’ve Learned From Motherhood

And no, I’m not talking about surefire ways to end a newborn’s cries in 2 minutes or less (though that does come in handy), or five ways to manipulate your toddler to pee on the toilet (Or even that one’s heart can grow an infinite amount of love for wrinkly, crying infants and tantrumming toddlers.)
I’m talking about answers to questions you never fathomed you’d be asking.
Here are my top 5 in order from kinda cool to “Wow, that’s awesome!
1. Is brushing one’s teeth with Oxi-Clean water a good idea? Unsurprisingly, no.  It’s a bad idea! (Thanks Boo for my first ever Poison Control call . . . FYI : 1-800-222-1222, never know when you might need it.)
BrushingBrushing 2 
2. What’s that up our toddler’s nose? Answer: Small baby hair clip.  Apparently not just a choking hazard.
3. Can you eat an entire pan of brownies and not gain five pounds? No.  But your child can.
4. Will eating a silica gel packet poison my poor child?  Nope, it’s apparently just a choking hazard.  Who would of thought?
5. My child’s screaming and holding their arm, what could be wrong? Apparently un-dislocating a dislocated elbow is not all that difficult, and certainly not worth the price of a doctors visit EVERYTIME it happens, even if the creepy feeling “pop” sends my stomach reeling. This skill makes me feel way cool and gets applause from those around.  I highly recommend it.
What have you learned lately?


It’s Not Them, It’s Me

I’m not sure the correct term I should use for this post.  “Difficult” sounds rude, “High-Needs” sounds prissy.  “Grumpy, Clingy, screaming, Attention-mongers” doesn’t fit on a business card.


I’m sure if you’ve hung around these parts much, you’ve deduced that I feel my kids fit in the aforementioned categories.  I love them to pieces, but they are not the easy-going tots that pregnant women hope for. 

At least, I think they aren’t.  But then again, there’s always the possibility that it’s me, and not them.

What if my life is a self-fulfilling prophecy?  What if I, in my cranky sarcastic manner, have pushed my children into being clingy, whiny, wretched sleepers? That is currently what is keeping me up at night.

And I’m not sure how to figure out the true roots of this situation.  I guess I’ll just have to wait until Kid 3 makes an appearance in the family (which may take 10 years in order for me to retain a small portion of sanity).  If Numero 3, falls into the descriptions above then I think that will be my proof . . . and a sign that I need to close the fertility gates and try to salvage what I’ve done to the ones I’ve got.


They Grow Up So Fast

It seems like my kids just won’t stop growing up.  Brutus is walking finally. Boo is [sort-of, almost, will it ever really happen?] potty trained.  He is finessing his fine motor skills by throwing applesauce at the chandelier.  She has perfected the indignant eye-roll of a fifteen year old.

It seems like only yesterday, she was a pony-tailed 3 year old playing with dolls and now . . .

Four Eyes

Now she appears to be a scholarly college student heading off to take a final.

She looks so grown-up in her new glasses (she’s apparently the unlucky recipient of her dad’s bad vision genes.)  Luckily, not many people can pull off bright pink frames with rhinestones, but she looks adorable!

Hopefully no one calls her four-eyes.



I just can’t stand those mom’s who seem to know everything!  And, no, I don’t mean me.  I just pretend to make up for my many insecurities.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  The ones with a van load of kids who have pretty much been there and done that for everything.  And they always tell you things you don’t want to hear.

I’ll use one of my best friends Roslyn* as an example. Roslyn has six children which includes a set of triplets.  TRIPLETS.  That means THREE teeny, tiny, crying babies at one time. I would need to be sedated for 18 years to survive that!

Roslyn is always telling me that one day I’m going to miss having a sweet baby around.  I’m going to miss rocking a baby to sleep. I don’t know what world she lives in, but I have had PLENTY of rocking to sleep.  I’ve spent more time rocking a screaming baby in the last three years than I have spent eating, sleeping, and showering combined!  We are in our first week of training our child to sleep in a bed without having to be sound asleep when put there.  And no, I’m not talking about the baby.  I’m talking about my three year old.  Add in the much shorter (but long enough) year we spent rocking my son to sleep before he figured it out on his own, and its enough to make my head spin.

Sweet Baby

Miss this?  Really?

Sure! And do you know what the worst part is?

Roslyn is right.

She is always right.  My 15 month old son doesn’t want to cuddle with me before being put in his crib.  He doesn’t want to nurse.  He doesn’t want me to sing to him.  He just wants me to put him in his crib and walk away.  And as wonderful as it is that he doesn’t need hours of rocking each night, I wouldn’t mind if he needed at least ten minutes.  But he’s too wiggly and he knows he’s ending up in that crib anyways, so he might as well just get it over with.

Why did she have to be right? Next thing you know, she’ll be telling me it’s time for me to have another baby.  And we all know I’m not. Right? RIGHT?

Oh, no.

*Name has been changed to protect the person who apparently is always right.


Please! Stop Sharing.

Once you have 2 mobile kids, discussions on sharing toys are as common as the phrase, “We don’t hit (kick, bite, lick, pinch, scrape, scratch, torture) each other.”  They’ve actually started to understand the sharing concept.  Brutus loves nothing more than to shove his binkie in someone else’s mouth, and Boo thinks she’s hilarious when she uses his bottle to act like a baby.  Actually, in the bathtub they’ve started passing toys to each other—from one mouth to another.  It’s close enough to French kissing to make my husband uncomfortable.  They begrudgingly share toys, food, blankets, and stuffed animals with only sporadic down-and-out fights.


And I’ve had it!  There will be NO MORE SHARING in this house.  The new rule is that your toys are your own and whoever gets to it first, gets it. There will be screaming! There will be tantrums! There will be hurt feelings!

But, at least there won’t be a constant cold being passed around!  If one of my kids gets sick, it’s basically impossible to keep the other from catching it.  Toys, food, and fingers go from one mouth to the next and back again.  It’s a cycle of sharing and sickness.  I can disinfect all I want and I still can’t keep away the colds when they insist on passing things back and forth in a germtastic collision of sticky fingers.  So, the sharing has to stop!

It’s over-rated anyway, right?


Expect the Worst

My husband is happier than me.  And no, it’s not because he’s married to such an amazing wife.  It’s because of one simple thing—he always expects the worst.

I on the other hand, always get my hopes up.  I can’t tell you the number of times I would be rocking my daughter or son to sleep and be thinking, “This is the night the baby will sleep all night and I will wake in a panic in the morning, run into the nursery and find a peacefully sleeping baby.”  Which never happens. Or the number of times I think to myself, “Today my son will sit and play on the floor for 30 minutes and let me get something done.”  And he never does.

I’m setting myself up for failure.

My husband on the other hand probably doesn’t expect my daughter to actually put herself to sleep until she’s 32, and he figures that my son will need to be carried constantly until he’s 14.  And when the unexpected happens, he’s elated.

I’ve got to work on my pessimism.  I think it will make me happier.


Newborn Survival Kit

If you were stranded on a desolate island with a newborn baby, what 5 things would you want?  Granted, my first instinct would be 1) a nanny, 2) a boat, 3) a great mattress, 4) ear plugs, and 5) a sleeping pill.  I’d send the nanny and the baby in the boat to find civilization, and then take the most wonderful amazing nap I’ve had in a LONG time.

But, this is reality.  What kind of desolate island has a nanny?

So, here are a few items in my Newborn Survival Kit.

1) White Noise Machine.  Apparently the womb is about as loud as a vacuum cleaner.  Don’t ask me, I don’t remember.  But it seems that baby’s like loud steady noise.  My kids spent their early months in the master bath because of the fact there was a loud exhaust fan, but then I got a white noise machine and suddenly I found freedom.  Now I can take white noise with me where ever I go.  Grandma’s house? Check.  Napping at the babysitters? Check.

2) Baby Carriers.  My daughter liked to be held.  A LOT. Twenty-three hours a day might be an understatement.  But, of course, there were things that I needed to get done, and as skilled as I was at doing things one-handed, it really was difficult to be productive.  Then I found slings, wraps, and carriers, and suddenly I could carry her snuggled up against me, and still have two hands to do things.  And, even better, my husband couldn’t use the excuse, “I have to study!” to get out of toting her around.  Aww! Who doesn’t want an adorable study buddy?


3) Nursing/Feeding Pillows.  Because, honestly, I fell asleep a lot during those middle of the night feedings and this probably saved my kids from falling to the floor. (WARNING: I do not condone falling asleep while feeding an infant during the middle of the night. With my next kid I promise to try harder.)

4) Swaddling Blankets. I’ve heard a lot of moms tell me that their babies really dislike being swaddled, but I’ve yet to meet an infant in real life who didn’t like the security of being unable to move their arms.  They can’t control them.  I can’t imagine I’d enjoy being smacked in the face by my own hands.  They may fight the swaddle at first, but trust me, they all give in!

5) Suckies, Loveys, and Mobiles.  Basically anything that will give your baby a sign that it is sleep time.  My daughter never took a pacifier.  I thought it was great because we wouldn’t have to break her of the habit. Oh, boy! I wish she had.  It would have really helped her sleep.  She also never had a lovey.  She never had anything to cuddle in the middle of the night.  She also didn’t ever have any music or mobile to signal it was bed time.  In my experience, babies need signs that it is time to go to bed (that’s why a bedtime routine is always stressed in infant sleep books.)  Pop my son’s binkie in his mouth, hand him his blue stuffed elephant, and turn on the music mobile, and you can tell that he knows it is time to sleep.  Of course it took some training, but now he has resigned himself to his fate.

So, there you have it.  Those are my top 5 survival tools.  What are yours?


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