The 5 Most Important Rules for Toddlers

Most Important Rules for Toddlers

1. Clothing is your greatest enemy.

Whatever you do – do not allow your parents to dress you! You must refuse and you must resist. Do not take this responsibility lightly. Your own body is your best defense: arch your back, flip over, and run away. Your teeth and fingernails are your weapons. Use them wisely and use them often. Continue reading “The 5 Most Important Rules for Toddlers”

12 Funny Tricks Babies Play on Their Parents

Babies look so sweet and innocent. We parents often stare at them and wonder what it is they dream about when they close their eyes and what they think about when they stare at their mobiles. The truth is that babies actually have a lot more going on than we might assume. They are plotting and planning. You think that smile that you saw cross your newborn’s face was just gas? Think again. Continue reading “12 Funny Tricks Babies Play on Their Parents”

A Letter From the Family Dog (Guest Post by My Husband Will Eberle)

Dear family,

Fuck you.  Truly.

Remember, before you brought those feeble, pink, fur-less puppies home, when you used to care if I lived or died?  Yeah, me too. Continue reading “A Letter From the Family Dog (Guest Post by My Husband Will Eberle)”

A Letter From the Family Dog (Guest Post by My Husband Will Eberle)

A Letter From the Family Dog

Dear family,

Fuck you.  Truly.

Remember, before you brought those feeble, pink, fur-less puppies home, when you used to care if I lived or died?  Yeah, me too.

Nevertheless, I’m still here, patiently waiting for you to regain your senses and rekindle the relationship we once had.

Currently I’m literally drowning in my own fat, a once regal, now morbidly obese canine long of tooth and nail struggling to get off the couch, desperate for just one minuscule scrap of attention.  You used to stand on opposite sides of a field and hit tennis balls for me for hours. I’d gallop across the alfalfa like a Prometheus Proto-dog, glistening in the sunshine like an Egyptian god-dog emblazoned in hand-ground pigment for all time on the side of some Pharaoh’s sarcophagus.

Now I’m the thing you trip over on the way to finding your Crocs. You used to buy me raw chicken and lovingly Saran Wrap individual portions to be frozen and triumphantly presented to me each day like flutes of champagne at the Carnivàle. Now you fling a hideous glop of dry kibble in my general direction every night before flossing your teeth. Would that I was the floss in your treacherous fingers, at least then I’d feel your warm touch just once again upon my fur.

Do you remember when we used to go canoe camping together?  I’d ride in the prow like a Viking pillager, steadfastly keeping lookout for the first spit of land, the rich timbre of my bark peeling of the mountains when we found a likely cove?

Now I’m lucky if you notice me barking when you’re stepping on my tail.

I. Literally. Can’t. Even.

Let’s get a few things straight. Those new puppies you got? They’re shitty dogs. They have no teeth or claws to speak of, and they don’t even have the decency to kick dirt upon their feces, no they have the audacity to make you handle it and wipe their neither regions with dampened clothes. How absolutely vile.  Can we talk about their protection skills for a minute? Unless you’re looking for someone to protect a warm bottle of milk you’d be better off with a banana slug if intruders visited the home place at night.

I can crunch through chicken bones; I wouldn’t know who to put my money on in a fair fight between them and a graham cracker. I can swim across a reservoir; those pathetic displays can barely survive a sink bath.  It disgusts me.

But it wasn’t always like this. We used to have something truly special. Oh how I remember the delicious jangle of my leash, the brisk wind whipping through the open door, your joyous whistle. I’d bound to the stoop, your beloved and trusted companion, and we would cover miles of terrain like visiting dignitaries inspecting the estate of a great and noble host.

Life was simple. We were happy. All I needed was you, and all you needed was me. Or so I thought.

Now all that I inspect is the floor of the breakfast nook, the site of my daily debasement, where I’ve taken to groveling beneath the “high chair” of the one you have crowned, and christened “baby.”

How I despise this “baby.”  Would that she too knew the dirty oaken boards of you floor, would that her knees became accustomed to its knots, as she waited hour after accursed hour for just one morsel of pre-chewed food to drop. Would, that just once her precious dampened cloth failed to come to her aid, and she was made to live with the natural consequences of her deprivations after soiling our once lovely den.

I pray that you will come to your senses, my old, dear, friends –  my “family.”  I pray that the fog will rise from your once mighty brains, the shroud will be lifted from your eyes, and you will remember the noble dog before you.

Though it has been years, I entreat you to remember that it is still not too late.

Simply leave the fur-less ones outside –  nature will attend to the rest.  Remove the jars of putrescence vegetable mush from the refrigerator and once again fill its shelves with glorious mounds of Saran-wrapped chicken.  Throw the “diaper bag” in the nearest trash compactor so that nothing might prevent you from easily grasping the leashes and toys of your oldest friend.

We can be great again, you and I.  Just throw the ball.  You can be assured that I will always fetch it.

I leave you now as I found you, wretched and alone.  May the sun and fresh air of days to come remind you of your decency, and your duty.

Sincerely,

Your Dog.

P.S. – I know how much you love that damp cloth, so I left you a little present in the shower.

 

 

 

 

How to Get Your Four-Year-Old to Preschool On Time (A Guest Post by my husband, Will Eberle)

preschool on time

6:00am Lean over in the dark and peak at your phone. Freak out! You only have 30 minutes until it begins…

1 minute later (Actual time- 6:30) Hear that accursed chime – your alarm clock – your daily reminder that your plan to design Lego sets for a living or become a professional bass fisherman didn’t work out and your mix-tape wasn’t fire so you still have to go to work every damn day. Continue reading “How to Get Your Four-Year-Old to Preschool On Time (A Guest Post by my husband, Will Eberle)”

Surviving The Why Stage

Surviving the Why Stage(1)

My newly-four-year-old son is deeply entrenched in the “Why Stage”.

For the past six months he has been constantly asking, “Why why why?” and it’s driving me crazy! Seriously. I think I’ve finally reached my breaking point.

I thought I would be a better parent through this.

Ever since my son entered toddler-hood, I knew that something like this might be coming. Continue reading “Surviving The Why Stage”

 If I Had The Chance To Do It All Over Again

Do you ever wish you could go back in time? What if you knew everything back in those first days of motherhood that you know now?

Here are a few of the things I would change if I could do it all over again…

 

1. I would not focus quite so much on my baby’s sleep patterns.

I was so fixated on trying to get my first baby to sleep through the night. I put a lot of energy into deciding which methods might be the best (least harmful) to make it happen. Looking back I realize that I was just scared I’d never get him to sleep through the night and therefore, I would never get a good night’s sleep again.

Continue reading ” If I Had The Chance To Do It All Over Again”

Super Sibling!

super siblingLast Saturday was cold, the kind of cold where you’re not sure if the car will start and you don’t want to leave the house. I certainly didn’t want to go anywhere because I was just getting over a terrible respiratory infection, complete with a wet, hacking cough that would put most cowboys to shame. But there we were at 8am- my husband, three-year-old son, and I trudging to the car and gearing up for the hour-long drive to Burlington so that Wolfy could attend a sibling preparation workshop. On the way up, we stopped so that I could use the bathroom. Yes, I had just peed when I left the house, but believe me, you do not want to negotiate with the bladder of a woman who is 37 weeks pregnant. Also, the car needed gas.

Our battered 2002 Subaru wagon is usually a trustworthy car.

It was a gift from my husband’s grandmother when she could no longer drive and it is the perfect beast for our life on the back roads of Vermont. But sometimes when it’s super cold outside, the automatic gas shut-off malfunctions and this causes gas to spew everywhere. This was one of those awesome occasions.

There we were- a half hour from home and my husband covered in gas and now we’re running late. But nothing was going to stop us from this very important endeavor of getting Wolfy to his sibling workshop, so we loaded back into the car and back onto the highway.

Five minutes later, my husband declares he needs to stop and wash his hands. He thinks all the gasoline smell is coming from his right index finger. So eventually we find a rest area and he charges inside holding his stinky finger out in the cold air in front of him.

Finally, we got to the hospital (where the class is happening), found a parking spot, and ushered Wolfy inside.

“This is the biggest elementary school ever!” Wolfy loudly declared. Oh right, you’re going to a class so you think this must be a school. Well, it’s not quite an elementary school, but we will still be sanitizing your hands every three seconds because like a school, this place is a germ factory and I’m not up for giving birth while having the flu.

We meet our class and our instructors. Of course, we are one of the last families to arrive. But what’s really annoying is that the instructors insist on referring to everyone as friends.

“Here are some new friends, just arrived! We only have a few more friends we’re waiting for!”

I try to suppress one of my hacking coughs so my new “friends” don’t think I’m getting everyone sick. And please, stop forcing the intimacy. I don’t know these families. I don’t want to know these families. They don’t want to know Mrs. Hacks and Mr. Gasoline either. We are certainly not my friends.

The only thing we have in common is that we want to do some kind of ridiculous so-called enriching thing for our young kids on a Saturday morning.

Oh yeah, and there’s one other thing we have in common: we’re terrified of bringing a new baby around these three-foot-tall monsters.

I look over at the instructors. Do they look capable of instilling a little last-minute sibling training into Wolfy’s brain? These poor little children. This is probably the last nice thing they will get to do with both their parent’s attention focused solely on them for a very long time.

Enjoy your sibling class, kid. Did you just notice how your father and I both raced over at the same time to help you take off your coat? That’s probably one of the last times that will ever happen. I hope you enjoyed it. You really don’t know how good you’ve had it these past few years.

The last straggling “friends” show up and all the families are herded on an incredibly long journey through the bowels of the hospital.

Wolfy races off ahead of everyone at top speed and the instructors start looking around with astonished, accusatory looks on their faces that say, “Whose child is that?” Oh, that little boy? He belongs to me. Well, actually me, the coughing waddling woman and this guy who is walking around in over-sized hip hop style clothes that are covered in gasoline.

The journey includes an awkward crowded trip in the elevator, which is mostly silent until one of the dads pipes up with, “When the doors open, you’ll be mimicking the birthing experience.” Wow, funny guy! You are so fucking funny. Oh my god, how did I survive without knowing you before? Thank you for that joke… now please refrain from ever opening your mouth again.

The class gets underway with the little kids having to perform such tasks as peeling the back off of their name tag sticker and getting measured to see how much they grew since they were born.

Wolfy is constantly standing up and getting right in the face of the instructors as they are talking. My husband and I shrink a little bit in our folding chairs. Wow, three years of constant adult attention has resulted in a kid who thinks someone should be paying attention to him all the time. Who would have thought?

Then my next thought: oh well, they’ll straighten Wolfy out next year when he goes into public school. Sharing one incredibly stressed out adult with fifteen other three -year-olds will certainly take him down a notch of two.

While all of this important learning is happening, I realize I’m lightheaded from the intense gasoline fumes radiating from my husband.

I lean over to him and whisper, “You reek. I don’t think this is good for all these pregnant women.”

“I know!” he whispers back and shrugs his shoulders. Then he tells me that he’s going to go try to wash his winter boots off in the bathroom sink because he thinks maybe he got some gas on them. All I can do start praying that no one walks into the bathroom and calls security on him.

Meanwhile, the instructor shows the children how to hold a baby. Soon, all of these toddlers will be responsible for “helping your grown-ups care for” real living, breathing tiny humans – but for now, they can practice on their stuffed animals and dolls.

Wolfy came prepared with his boy-doll, which my mother gave him last winter.

He named the doll, Vuffa. And Vuffa has a penis.

It’s actually a little nub that my mother sewed onto the doll with the idea that Wolfy would identify more with a doll if it looked like him. Except, my mother kind of put a little too much stuffing into Vuffa’s penis nub and it looks like he has a teeny-tiny half-erection.

Of course, Wolfy immediately takes off all of Vuffa’s clothes. So now I’m sitting powerless in the folding chair and there is Vuffa sprawled out on the floor in the middle of the circle with his penis exposed.

The instructor shows all the children how to hold “your baby” but Wolfy is just pinching Vuffa’s eyes together over and over again. Yes, he is totally ready for this sibling thing.

Please, pretty please, don’t call Child Protective Services on us.

Finally, my husband returns from the bathroom with a giant coffee for us to share and somehow the rest of the class pretty much went off without a hitch.

My personal favorite part of the whole experience was when the instructors taught all the kids the Super Sibling Handshake. Yes, this is real. It involves putting your hands over your heart and then extending them outward from your body in two thumbs up and saying, “Super Sibling!!!” Apparently having a secret or not-so-secret handshake is a very important part of being a big brother or sister.

A few hours later I asked Wolfy, “What do you think the word ‘sibling’ means?” Without hesitation he said, “It means thumbs up!” and showed me the handshake.

Oh yeah, we’re ready for this whole sibling thing. I see nothing to worry about here…