Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Yes, I'm aware I'm being judged

What turned out to be Abby's outfit.
Now that Abby is three, there are plenty of moments in our everyday lives where I know other people are judging us.

That reality doesn't so much upset me because I'm concerned about what others think as much as I feel awful for the judging I've done in the past.

Case in point:

I asked Abby what she wanted to wear today and -- for the second day in a row -- she wanted to wear a skirt without any tights. So, she was wearing nothing on her legs when we were leaving the house at 34 degrees.

On top of that, she didn't want to wear a coat. Peachy.

I wasn't up for starting up a tantrum over her walking from the house to the car, so I let her get in the car coat-free.

We get to school and are heading up the walkway. Abby is wearing a skirt without tights, a long-sleeved t-shirt and sunglasses. She looked like she was going to the beach, yet we could see our breath.

Jack was wearing about five layers.

As much as I didn't want to, I was justifying the issue as soon as we walked into school. By the time we got to her class, I told one of her teachers that I, in fact, brought tights she was refusing to wear.

On my way out, I saw her primary teacher. When I mentioned that I left the tights, she was clearly concerned and said, "Yesterday at recess we felt so bad for her poor little legs."


I'm the awful parent for not dressing her properly when she INSISTED on wearing nothing on her legs.

Now we get to the dilemma.

Chrissie-sans-children thinks, "Come ON. You are the parent, here. Really? You are letting HER dictate that? You just put the tights on her!"

Chrissie-plus-Abby thinks, "Okay. So she'll be cold. It won't kill her. I'm not up for us being another 20 minutes late because Abby will literally drop to the floor in a fit and refuse to do anything until she wears herself out or we give in. Cold legs it is."

I ultimately recognized that Abby didn't want to wear tights because, a) they are boring (they're white ... how lame is that?) and, b) they have feet and she loves her some fun socks.

The leggings I found at Target.
I found myself at Target, searching for leggings. I ended up with five pair, two skirts and two shirts.

Back to Abby's school I went, armed with purple leggings and polka dot leggings. I pulled Abby out of her class to put them on her. She picked purple.

She had to take her skirt off to put the leggings on because the skirt has built-in shorts. I took the skirt off and put her leggings on. At that point, she refused to put her skirt back on.

Abby's reasoning?

"Mommy, the skirt will make me cold."

She has this condescending, you're-an-idiot tone that I really admire in a three-year old. I mean ... she sounds like she has everything figured out. It's impressive.

I finally gave up with my kid wearing leggings and her long-sleeved t-shirt.

When I got back to pick her up at the end of the day, she was, in fact, wearing her skirt. I was relieved my child was at least decent upon my arrival.

Looking forward to tomorrow's wardrobe, when we have countless patterns to choose from.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The paradox of being needed

Everyone needs to be needed.

Even those who claim they would be happy flying solo ... everyone needs to be needed.

I do have a confession, though. Sometimes being needed can get to be a little much. Especially when there is that transition from kid to cat.

My daughter needs me to do everything. Brush her teeth? "Mommy do it!" Hand her a cup? "Mommy do it!" It's taxing, even if we combat it because ... well ... then we're combating it.

As much as we love our children there is that moment at the end of the night when we take a collective sigh of relief at the quiet.

Then the meowing starts.

It's as though an alarm goes off in Luke's kitty brain the second the children are securely in bed. It is his time. Nothing will deter him. It's as though I am walking catnip.

I suppose it's endearing. I love Luke. He's really annoying, though. Like ... really annoying.

I could walk from the living room to the kitchen with him at my heels.

What happens when I try to exercise.

For the love.

It's not so much the need for attention as much as it's the need to be intrusive.

Apparently, sitting with me, purring, is out of the question. He must be biting, clawing, head-butting.

"Cat people" hear my stories and I can tell they're judging me. Then they come to my house and experience the craziness. I have literally had people look at me with wide eyes and say, "Wow."

Yeah. It's that bad. I wasn't lying.

It is impossible for me to do any sort of exercise in the living room because he attacks my head. He jumps on furniture so he can bat at my shoulders. He claws my legs. He bites my arm.

Ah, Luke.

Then when I'm sitting peacefully (the rare occurance), where is Luke? Snuggled peacefully on a chair, or the floor, or ... somewhere. He couldn't hang with me then. When it's convenient for me.

No, he has to make sure he gets his attention when it's really tough to handle.

And people don't think you can compare kids and pets.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Why ... Why not?

Okay, so there are a lot of cliche things about being a parent. One of them is that your child constantly asks, "Why?"

I kid you not, I thought this was a piece of parental folklore. I didn't think it really happened the way it was spoken about. I figured there had to be some exaggeration in there someone.

There isn't. It's real. God help us all.

Our child has been in the "Why" phase for awhile now. It's mind-numbing. At least for me. For an easygoing guy like Tom (self-professed "glass-half-full"), this isn't a big deal. In fact, he finds it funny. Entertaining even.

Me? I find it as pleasant as no air conditioning on a 100-degree day.

"Abby, you can't play with scissors."


"Because I don't want you to cut yourself."


For the love.

For my husband, this is nothing. For me, it's like Chinese water torture.

Then it got worse.

I write and edit for a living. I like to be grammatically correct. I'm one of those annoying people who can't stand it when people don't hyphenate properly.

Well, Abby (fittingly) decided to play on this when she took the "Why" phase to the next level.

She started asking "Why not?" in completely the wrong context.

"Abby, I need you to throw that away."

"Why not?"

Just consider me defeated.

"Abby, don't jump in the bath tub, I don't want you to slip."

"Why not?"

This is when prayers go up.

It's funny ... but it's not funny. For the love, child, don't injure yourself. Do you want to injure yourself? I didn't think so. STOP. ASKING. WHY.

I doubt this will actually stop anytime soon. In the meantime, throw some positive vibes my way.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Me, According to Abby

I'm at that point where I really should be jotting down small notes and interactions with my children, but I ultimately don't and then don't remember what I'm supposed to write down.

Then I feel guilty for not remembering and thinking that I'm failing my children and this blog for not writing down the cherished memories that I will ultimately forget.

My daughter in particular offers a lot of material. She picks up on words and terms that I never thought she would (e.g. "silky", "sour"), though the best has to be when she uses phrases that I use on a regular basis.

It is at those moments when you realize just how you come off to your children.

As far as Abby is concerned, this is me:

Name: Mommy, Chrissie, Mama

She has also called me ChrissieTom. Not really sure where that one came from. Well, I mean, I know where it came from, but I don't know why she used it.

Anyway, moving on.

Interests: Drinking coffee, running, exercising, working, finishing my work, text messaging

It is in this category that you, as a parent, recognize what is important to you.

  • Abby was playing in a car and declared she "had to go to work". She had to rush because she was running late. She still stopped for coffee.
  • Sometimes I ask Abby to do something and she tells me she "just has to finish some work" and that she'll "be done in two seconds."
  • Abby enjoys putting the heart rate monitor band around her waist and then telling me she's going to exercise.
  • Abby does a mean downward dog.
  • If I'm pushing her and Jack in the double stroller and I'm walking, she will ask, "Mommy, why are you not running?" Other times she will just yell, "Mommy, run! Run faster!"
  • I get ready to walk out the door for work and Abby tells me not to "forget my phones" (yes, plural).
  • My phone went off the other day in the other room and Abby brought it to me.

Habits: Tardiness, forgetfulness

  • Through tears because she doesn't want me to leave, Abby will say, "Mom--sniff--sniff--my ... don't ... forget ... your purse and your phones."
  • She has told me not to forget my keys.
  • I have then had to ask her if she'd seen my keys.
  • She tells me not to forget my sunglasses.
  • I have then had to frantically search for said sunglasses. Then I declare I'm late.

Traits: Loving, encouraging, demanding, others that I don't need to get into

  • Abby quickly learned to say, "GET DOWN!" to the cats when they are on the table. Best part is, they listen to her.
  • The other day I handed Abby something and she exclaimed in an exaggerated tone, "Oh, Mommy, that was so nice of you!"
  • I put a puzzle piece in the proper place and she said, "Great job, Mommy!"
I have to say that seeing myself through my child's eyes has to be one of the best parts of being a parent ... though I know the not-so-flattering traits and habits will continue to surface.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Potty Training: The Great Unknown

If there is one thing I know with absolute certainty, it's that non-parents have no idea the glee that comes along with successful potty training moments.

I can honestly say that anyone who shared potty training stories with me in my pre-parenting days had his or her story fall on uninterested ears.

Hell, potty training stories today that aren't about my kid don't really garner a strong level of interest on my part.

This clearly doesn't keep me from sharing successful potty training stories with anyone -- including those who read this blog -- so please don't take my comments personally. I'm thrilled for those who are walking down the path toward diaper-free living, but there is something that comes along with seeing your own child succeed that is like no other.

We have been moving at a slow clip with Abby and she has been wearing "big girl potty pants" (yes, this is our lingo) for three full days. After the first day of five total accidents, we had just one yesterday and none today!

The coveted moment came when she really went on the potty for the first time this evening. I'm not going to spell it out ... I think we all know what I'm talking about.

She was so proud and we were so proud. You would have thought she just discovered the cure for cancer. I screamed even though Jack was sleeping. We danced. It was glorious.

The best part, though, was when I had to then ::ahem:: use the facilities (just No. 1 people, get your minds out of the gutter!). Abby was in the bath tub and insisted on "looking in the potty".

She then mimicked my voice inflection perfectly, saying, "Great job, Mommy, I'm so proud of you!"

Aw, shucks.

I'm not sure what was more gratifying: getting her praise or knowing that we sound that way to her.

Either way, my kid is sporting some Sofia the First and Hello! Kitty underwear and we couldn't be more proud.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I probably wasn't supposed to find this funny

We had the Little Tikes car out and Abby was "driving". She had her Minnie Mouse bubbles in the back.

Jack crept up behind her, grabbed the Minnie Mouse bubble stick and booked it with a look of sheer terror on his face ... he knew what he had just done.

Took everything I had not to bust out laughing.

As Abby screamed, "NO! JACK! THAT'S MINE!" Jack ran to me for safety, handing me the bubble stick with a look of complete satisfaction.

He had successfully hunted his prey.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Coming out of the woodwork ...

Abby and Jack
... to be sentimental.

I know I typically go for the humor angle, but this was beyond adorable and touching and I have to share.

As I told Tom, if I cried in happy moments, I would have been bawling. But I don't, so I cried on the inside.

These days, we put Jack to bed around 7:30. Abby goes to bed around 8:30. Jack has been awake when we bring Abby into the room. He gets beyond excited when we enter the room and any drowsiness he may have had dissipates.

I tuck Abby in and then I have to calm Jack down. Inevitably, he cries when I leave the room. At that point, Abby starts screaming because she wants Jack to be quiet. Attempting to explain the situation to a two-year old hasn't even occurred to me ... until today.

I decided to recruit Abby.

I walked in after the second attempt to put Jack down and I told her that he is only crying because I leave and that he would stop quickly as long as she didn't start crying.

I then told her that she would be a great big sister if she would help Jack fall asleep by reading him a book or singing him a song.

I left the room again. Jack screamed.

I started walking down the stairs and heard Abby's up-and-down inflection of telling a story.

I tiptoed back up the stairs and listened at the door. I couldn't make out what Abby was saying, but she was clearly "reading". Then I hear Jack let out a delighted giggle.

Abby then whispers excitedly to herself, "It worked! It worked!"

I was beside myself. Seriously the cutest thing that also showcased Abby's big heart and love for her brother.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Can't fault her matter-of-fact response

I was reading Abby her "Superhero book".

The first page reads, "Who's a superhero? Me! That's who! Do you like to play superhero, too?"

Abby: "No, I don't like to play superhero."

I pause.

"You just like to read about them?"

Abby: "No. I don't like to read about them. I'm reading my book."

Then she went back to reading her "animal book", in which she looked at the page with the skunk and kept saying, "pee ewe, stinky!"

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Parenting technique gone awry

On the way there (coat on).
Okay. So, I've been trying my best not to be a dictator and to allow Abby to suffer the consequences of her own choice when she's choosing to be defiant. Let's face it: the kid isn't going to listen once she has her mind made up.

Case in point: Today we went to the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum. We were getting ready to leave and I told Abby it was time to put on her coat.


It was about 40 degrees and windy outside.

"Are you sure? It's really cold."


Okay fine.

I made up my mind that she would go outside without a coat and - once she determined she was cold and that it was a silly decision to defy me - she would ask me to put it on and a good lesson would be learned.

So Tom, Abby, Jack and I walked outside, the kids in the stroller.

I waited.


We walked a block toward the parking structure. Wind howling.


I looked at Tom with my eyebrows raised and finally mouthed, "Has she said anything?"

He shook his head.

We continued to the structure and not a peep from Abby. People walked by us with a look on their faces I would probably give other parents whose child wasn't wearing a coat in 40-degree weather.

We ended up making it all the way to the car and she never even mentioned being cold.

The little stinker.

Conclusion: Abby is either the smartest and most manipulative child in the history of the world ... or she is cold-blooded.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Evidence that - for now - I am still the superior-thinking party

Me and my girl.
Went to Crisler Center today to watch the Selection Sunday show. Took both kids. Boy, that was a fun adventure.

Will save the unnecessary details. When we left, Abby decided she was going to be difficult.

We walked down the 4,000 stairs from the main concourse to street level. I was carrying Jack and half of my possessions and Abby was trailing behind, enjoying a leisurely, scenic stroll.

I got to the bottom (with Jack - should I mention he was squirmy? He was squirmy - and half my possessions).

That's when Abby gave me a look like she was going to mess with me and doubled back to have a little fun on the stairs.

She knew exactly what she was doing. She was bored and was going to entertain herself at the expense of Mommy. "Let's see what I can make Mommy do in public."

She walked up the stairs. I yelled for her to come down. She walked down a few ... then turned around again. At one point, Tom walked down the stairs with half his team. Awesome. Nothing to see here, guys!

Finally, I had it. I wasn't going to look like an idiot whisper-yelling (you know what I'm talking about) for my child to pretty please come downstairs so we could leave. So I told her, "Bye! We're leaving!" and walked to the door. Parents of older-than-two-year-olds, please don't tell me when this tactic stops working. I would like to relish in today's small victory.

Ultimately she came running behind me. She had her track suit on, but no winter coat. It wasn't bitter cold, but it was pretty cold.

Well, since she wouldn't come voluntarily and I had Jack in my arms - should I mention he was fussy? He was fussy - and half my possessions, I really wasn't able to put it on without running the risk of her scurrying out of my arms and back up the stairs. So I figured I'd pull a 1950s lesson and let her take the (short - please don't call CPS) walk to the car without it on.

She was not happy, but we got to the car and she quickly warmed up.

We had driven about halfway home when I turned around to look at her at a red light.

I asked her, "Do you know why Mommy was upset?"

She cheerfully responded, "Because I was running up the stairs!"

This probably shouldn't have floored me, but it did. She so readily responded. She didn't have an answer like, "Toodles!" or something else that didn't make sense from a two-year-old. She knew exactly why I was upset, confirming that look she had given me before was, in fact, because she was purposely messing with me.

We had a quick lesson in what she would do next time and I gave her a high five.

I have to say that, in Abby vs. Mommy, Mommy definitely won this battle. Not only because she understood what she did wrong, but because I now know her plotting capabilities when it comes to future head-to-heads. She can no longer pull the I'm-just-a-toddler-and-have-no-idea card with me. She showed me her hand.

Though, I have to say, this kid is pretty smart (she does, after all, take after me), so I have no doubt she'll up the ante next time.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"I love Minnie!"

Over the past week, Abby's love for Minnie Mouse has grown by leaps and bounds.

Daddy brought her a Minnie Mouse stuffed animal from Walgreens and you'd think Abby has a new puppy.

Last night, the perspective of Minnie's importance came crashing down.

As I was getting Abby dressed after her bath, she was laying down, with Minnie. She exclaims, "I love Minnie!"

I reply, "You love Minnie?"

"Yeah! I love Daddy!" she says emphatically.

"I love ... JACK!"

I wait.

"I love MINNIE!"

Pooched by a fake mouse.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My daughter's spin on being a little girl

Abby and her Buzz PJs
I don't know what other two-and-a-half-year-old girls are doing to act out being a mommy, but mine definitely has a unique spin on the concept.

Tonight, after Jack was asleep and Abby had had her bath, we settled down in the living room to look at a book together.

When it was time to go upstairs to read books and go to sleep, I grabbed a bottle for Jack in case he woke up and needed to eat. Abby saw the bottle, and asked if she could have one for Buzz, who she was carrying in her arms.

I made a mission to find the play baby bottles, which I knew I had seen the other day.

As I was digging through the toys, I could hear Abby behind me shushing Buzz to comfort him as I looked for the bottle. "It's okay ..." she said, mimicking what Tom and I do with Jack.

I found the bottle and we headed upstairs.

As I was reading Abby books, she was preoccupied with making sure Buzz was settling in. She was feeding him the bottle (one of those disappearing-milk ones with the companion juice version).

It was at that point I looked at my daughter - decked out in her Buzz and Woody PJs (boys), cradling Buzz in her arms and feeding him a bottle - and thought how much I loved the spin she was putting on being a little girl.

I continued reading (at which point she said, "Shh ... Buzz is sleeping" to mimic what I have to do with her every five seconds of reading time to keep her from waking up Jack), but she was more interested in Buzz.

I finally closed the second book (Buzz chose it. Superhero Me. I told her it was an appropriate choice), told her I loved her and kissed her goodnight. I then kissed Buzz on the helmet and told him goodnight. She was pleased that Buzz was acknowledged the same way she was.

Then I tip-toed out of the room, leaving my little mother to tend to her bundled space ranger.

Friday, January 18, 2013

You know you've lost it when you drive away with your iPad on the top of your car ...

Let me preface this post by saying that no iPads were harmed, lost or stolen during the following incident.

That being said ...

Please don't kill me, dear husband.

I took Abby and Jack to my parents' house today to visit. We visited Mom at work, then grabbed lunch and spent some time with Dad at the house.

The visit lasted about three hours.

I packed the kids up and drove away toward the freeway.

That's when a strange thing happened.

I was sitting at a light waiting to turn when the man next to me began honking frantically.

I immediately became irritated, wondering what this crazy man was doing.

He began pointing emphatically toward the back of my car. Was someone behind me doing something?

I looked at the car behind me in my rearview mirror, but saw nothing out of the ordinary.

I looked back at the gentleman next to me inquisitively. He pointed toward the back of my car again.

That's when I saw it.

Our (::ahem:: Tom's) iPad on my back window.

My first reaction?

I looked at the gentleman next to me and mouthed, "Can you get it?"

Really, Chrissie? You're looking for this wonderful man who saved your arse to now get out of his car and retrieve your iPad for you?

I quickly got out of the car, got the iPad (which, thankfully, was hanging on to the car thanks to the cover being wedged into the slot of the trunk) and got back into the car. I looked at the gentleman next to me relieved and thankful. Good Samaritan for sure.

As I breathed a sigh of relief that my husband wouldn't be killing me today, I realized that he may have preferred the iPad go missing so he could get a new one with a camera.

Well, Tom, too bad for you, your iPad survived me leaving it on the top of my car and driving away. It actually survived my parents' block and all of Allen Road to the light at Southfield.

Let's make sure we keep this iPad cover - it provides great protection. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


We have reached a new stage in development: the why-repeat-everything-need-things-now phase.

Yes, that's a thing.

It can definitely drive me up the wall. I remember thinking that the "why" phase really couldn't be that bad. I mean, you just have a little self control.

But once you hit the "why" and "repeat" phase, you recognize why people go insane in solitary confinement when they can hear a single water droplet dripping over and over and over.

The "what's that/why" phase
I thought I would be able to handle this. We're barely into it and it's driving me crazy.

"Mommy, what's that?" as she's pointing in the direction of approximately 75 things while I'm attempting to soothe a crying Jack while making her a waffle.

"I don't know - it's a ... cup."

"No, Mommy, it's a (inaudible)!"

"Yep, sure, sounds good."

Repeat phase, repeat phase, repeat phase
This one may be the death of me.

The other evening, Abby, Tom and I were playing with her Matchbox cars in the kitchen.

We were rolling them back and forth and Abby says, "Mommy? Play cars?"

"Yep, you're playing cars!"

At this point, I'm cheerful and upbeat.

"Mommy? Play cars?"

"Yep! Playing cars!"

I'm keeping it together. Haven't hit the wall yet.




Now I've lost it.

"YEP ... You're. Playing. Cars."



I-needed-it-a-minute-ago phase
This is typical.

Abby: "Mommy? Abby want crackers?"

Me: "Sure!"

I walk to the cupboard. Before I even get there ...

Abby: "Mommy? More water?"

Me: "Yep, let me get your crackers first."

Abby: "Mommy watch TV?"

Me: "Babe, I can only do one thing at a time."

I still have not successfully retrieved the crackers.

Abby: "Mommy? My finger hurts."


Medicine and Abby
Since she had to take antibiotics for an ear infection and because she has three molars currently breaking through, Abby has taken a lot of medication lately.

She now requests it frequently.

Abby: "Mommy? Need medicine?"

Me: "What hurts?"

Abby: "My foot."

Uh huh.

Abby: "Mommy? Need medicine?"

Me: "What hurts?"

Abby: "My finger."

We're working on it.