The Toddler Tantrum

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If you haven’t seen my latest FB post, please hop over to either feel like you aren’t alone or to get a good chuckle.

Parenting toddlers is H.A.R.D. There should really be a warning before you bring the baby home from the hospital. (WARNING: If you can get through 1-3 hour sleeping increments, feedings every 2 hours, 12-20 diapers a day, 2-5 outfit changes for baby, 2-5 outfit changes for you, they turn into toddlers and it could get worse!)
Join me on this probably very familiar scene in our house this morning. J (my 3 year old) wanted a firetruck shirt. The obsession is on the verge of insane asylum evaluation status. He is obsessed with all things firetrucks and firefighters. If you combine his other obsession, yellow, then the world is close to apocalyptic scenarios.
Today he woke up with the idea that he wanted NEEDED to wear a firetruck shirt. He has quite the collection of them so normally it isn’t much of an issue. As I peeled off his firetruck pjs, he insisted on a firetruck shirt and that just wasn’t an option. We are approaching laundry day in our house and you might as well tell J it’s the end of the world because that’s what it felt and looked like. The firetruck shirts are the first to be worn, leaving no option for the second half of the week. I showed him the variety of shirts he was able to choose from: yellow shirts, truck shirts, favorite character shirts, nothing was a firetruck shirt and nothing was cutting it.
Cue full mental breakdown. It included throwing every shirt being offered. Throwing oneself on the ground. Kicking. Rolling over and pulling at the carpet in a desperate attempt make a new firetruck shirt out of it. And this was all before 7:30am. Hello Wednesday, it’s been real!
Of course, there are plenty of parents out there who have similar, funnier, more pathetic reasons why their kiddo is now mopping the floor with their body. “The wind is blowing in the wrong direction.” “I didn’t let him drink from the dog’s water dish.” “The current TV show has ended.”
If you need some future evidence that these little people living in our house are a little unstable, head over to Buzz Feed to see other depictions of why kids are crying. They are hilarious and if nothing else, it unites us in this delicate, fast moving, unpredictable stage of life. Maybe it’s just the universe’s way of preparing us for more delicate, fast moving, unpredictable stages of life ahead (one of them called the teen years). Either way, each stage seems impossible to get through, (remember those newborn years that seemed to go on forever with no sleep, now they seem so glorious to the toddler tantrum years) but looking back, aren’t as bad as they seemed when going through. Embrace the toddler tantrum. Try to laugh through it because tomorrow, they will no longer be wearing firetruck shirts and you will be fighting over their wardrobe for a much different reason.
Stay strong, parents. If needed, throw yourself on the floor and have a tantrum. You may find it therapeutic.

No Sick Days for Mom

Yes, I have been completely MIA for a while. One kid went down with the stomach bug. One kid came down with a small virus. I came down with the same virus, plus a little extra. What is the absolute worst is that there is no room for moms to get sick. There is also being a little under the weather and dealing with a cold and then there is also being stuck on the couch with a fever and not being able to move.

Here’s what I learned quickly these last two weeks— 1. I needed help, 2. I need a good soup in my repertoire, 3. it’s OK to lay on the couch dying while my kids watch TV for more than 24 hours.

I needed help.

Yes, I needed to call on some of my dearest friends to help. With husband away, I could barely get off the couch and I had to call upon a friend to help bring my kids to school and to take them for a few hours while I rested. It was not an easy thing to ask, but she was so gracious and offered way more than I needed. That is what a true friend does, they don’t ask what you need, they just do. As a mom and woman, we have a hard time asking for help, even when someone says, “What can I do?” Our answer is always, “nothing. I am fine.” when really we aren’t. This friend took it upon herself to take my youngest out and about and it was the best gift anyone could do for me.

Good soup

I was blessed to have two friends bring over some of the most delicious soup I have had in a long time, especially since I’m not a big soup eater. I was even able to repeat one of the recipes and send it off to another friend of mine during a time she needed a little help. Let me share this amazing recipe with you:

  • 1lb chicken thighs
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup colored baby carrots
  • 20 minutes in the instant pot and then add 1 cup of cooked jasmine rice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I was also given Tastefully Simple’s Creamy Wild Rice soup which was DELICIOUS with a little added chicken!

It’s OK to lack in the mom department

My kids have been on a TV binge for a few days. They played a little on their own, they both went off to school and gym class, but mostly while they are home, they are sitting in front of the TV watching Disney Junior, and you know what, I’m OK with it. I have a voice that barely works, a throat that is killing me, and a fever that won’t seem to vanish so whatever it takes for them to sit quietly and be good, I was all for it.

Sometimes we have to remember we can’t be super mom– maybe some of you can, but I certainly cannot. I very much needed the help provided me and I cannot be more grateful to have a support system that I have. I have learned from those who cared for me and hope to return the favor to them when I can. While that is not what friendship is about (one act for another), when we care about our friends, we do what we need to to help them out and I’m so blessed to have people who wanted and did help me so I can get back to being Super MOM status.

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Want to AVOID the stomach bug?!

 

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Raise your hand if the stomach bug has already reached your home. It has hit households across the nation (at least according to my Facebook newsfeed). The only GOOD thing is that it seems to be a quick turn around. I contracted it about 4 days before Christmas. The actual sickness lasted about 12 hours and a few days of watching what I ate (or just not being quite up to eating normally). A week later, my daughter contracted it. We were super lucky that we were with family with a household of people to step in and help and that we both started first thing in the morning and then feeling better by dinner. There were no late night episodes or lost sleep. The three other people in the house did not contract it, and it’s safe to say that if they do, it is not from us.

So if you are one of the lucky ones, let’s look at some ways to AVOID the stomach bug. Then, we will look at some great things to have on hand in case this nasty bug hits your home.

Ways to AVOID:

  • Grape juice. 100% NO SUGAR ADDED grape juice (or drop a few drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract in some water). Drink it immediately if you have someone near you with the stomach flu– BEFORE symptoms. If you are already showing symptoms, it will just create a more colorful scene later. The juice works by changing the pH level in your intestinal tract causing the virus to be unable to multiply. It is also full of Vitamin C and antioxidants to flush out and kill the virus. The rule seems to be: drink it 3 times a day for a few days and you should be in the clear.
  • Wash hands! An obvious step but one many of us probably forget to do. Not the hand sanitizer stuff either– real soap and water. That is your best defense. The CDC conducted a study back in 2011 that showed a staff that used hand sanitizer were six times more likely to contract the norovirus over their soap and water washing counterparts.
  • Stick anything used by the sick in the dishwasher and don’t hand wash utensils and plates. Let the appliances in your kitchen do the heavy hitting. (Now I know some don’t have this luxury, but if you do, put that dishwasher to use.)
  • Wash clothes at the highest setting possible. Clothes can harbor these germs for longer than we would like (the washing machine is somewhat the culprit) so wash anything that came in contact with vomit or stool at the HIGHEST temperature that you can.
  • Clean all those small surfaces- door handles, banisters, keyboards, iPads, phones, remotes. Anything that a germy hand can touch, wipe it down!
  • Open the windows. Even on the coldest days, you can crack open a window to allow the air to circulate around so it doesn’t sit stale in your house.

Get THROUGH the virus:

Maybe you didn’t quite get out of contracted the virus despite your best efforts. Even if you don’t have it, these are some great things to have on hand in case it does make it into your house.

  • THESE bags!! My dear friend Shannon over on Monday Morning Mischief referenced them in her blog. A little while later, after this post, she was very happy to have these on hand in the car as they were put to good use.
  • Disinfecting wipes! You can use the hospital grade wipes called Caviwipes. These are super DUPER aggressive. These are the ones that will kill the virus. If you are not quite ready for these, any wipes are better than nothing. There are a ton of options from Babyganics to Lysol, They just are not guaranteed to kill the virus.
  • If all else fails keep disposable gloves near you at all times to avoid spreading your germs.
  • And if you are suffering from a fever, grab these fever reducing strips for kids  or ones for adults to allow your body to use the fever to fight the virus but still giving you a little relief.

The stomach bug is NO joke. Do what you can to avoid it, but know you are also know you are in good company if you didn’t.

The New Year’s Resolution

It’s that time of year. A new year is about to begin and we start thinking of ways to make ourselves and our lives better. Maybe you want to head to the gym. Maybe you want to eat healthier, drink more water, be more patient, love more, stress less…… It’s a huge deal to do any of these things and if you are anything like me, I think I can just do it starting January 1 and forget all my bad habits. Then when January 5th comes around, I am already disappointed in myself and everything goes out the window.

This year, I am vowing to be happier and calmer. Dealing with a deployed husband and two young kids, this is something I am very much struggling with, but something that I can’t just turn my back on. It’s more for the two little ones who must deal with me every day than for me, and I am hoping that it helps make it stick a little longer.

Here is a list of things I am hoping will help, but I am no expert and these are not necessarily scientifically-proven, they are just reminders for myself and maybe you can find some value in it as well:

  1. WRITE! Write your fears, frustrations, accomplishments, failures, gratitudes– everything. This is something I am doing not only with this blog but with a journal I have at home as well. A dear friend of mine gave me a journal to write it while my husband was gone. It was something she did during her husband’s deployments. I also saw somewhere to keep a gratitude journal which is a great concept but we all have so many emotions and things going on in our lives that affect us. I find that if I can write it down on paper (or screen), it’s like talking to a best friend about it. Sometimes you need to let it out for it to affect you less. Writing has been an excellent outlet for me. It allows me time to reflect  and process everything and not overreact. Starting in the new year, I may create a section just to write down only happy memories from each day so when I have extremely hard days, there is something I can go to easily and relive those.
  2. BREATHE! Take a deep breath, hold it for a second, and release slowly. This seems like a no brainer, but how many times do we actually heed this advice? When I am about to scream at the top of my lungs at my kiddos, I myself need a timeout. I need to find the calm in the crazy and not reduce myself to a toddler/preschool level of tantruming. If all it takes is 10 seconds of breathing to find even the smallest glimmer of calm, it is worth it than my kids crying because I overreacted about them picking up toys.seriouslybreathe.gif
  3. ALONE TIME! Give yourself 10 minutes of alone time. Yes, WAY easier said than done. I used to get decent alone time before my kids woke up where I was able to start my day with a little calm (and coffee), but now my kids wake up and snuggle in my bed before we start the day, which I absolutely love! This just means I need to find it somewhere else during my day. For me, my kids rest at around the same time and they are in bed by a decent hour that I can find 10 minutes to myself. Not every family is as lucky as me, but I urge you to find 10 minutes to just be by yourself with no cell phone, no TV, no kids, no adults. Even if it means you take the dog for a walk when our spouse gets home or drive a letter to the post office instead of putting it in your mailbox, find 10 minutes to just be with yourself. Maybe you can only get 5 minutes locked in the bathroom (just try to start your 5 minutes after the banging on the door for you stops), or your drive home from school drop-off- find time with no distractions to allow your brain to process your day.
  4. CUT OUT TOXIC PEOPLE! Do you have a neighbor or “friend” who just rubs you the wrong way and every time you encounter them, you feel anxious and frustrated, cut them out. Trust me, this is another WAY easier said than done, but it will allow you to rid of that spitefulness you hang on to every time you see them and you will feel your heart and your attitude lighten up because they aren’t there bringing it down. Now, if you are like me and as connected by so many people through so many different avenues (clubs, Facebook groups, meet-up groups), you may not be able to cut someone out entirely. My best advice is to participate in whatever it is you are involved in pretending they aren’t there. Don’t allow their presence to shy you away from anything. Allow your presence be known and do your best to continue to be yourself and try to block out anything that is toxic to you.
  5. GO MEDIA FREE! Put your cellphone on silent and in a different room, turn off the TV, close the laptop. This can be combined with your 10 minutes to yourself, BUT wouldn’t it be something if everyone could put away all electronics and media for 2 hours at the end of the day when everyone is getting home from work and school and just be a family?! This is something I need to do better myself. I am so glued to FB and I absolutely hate it. I don’t want my kids to only know me with a phone in my hands. I am in a little bit of a predicament as we wait for my husband’s call and I don’t know if we will get one or not each day so my phone stays close, but I have to be better about not opening it up every 30 seconds and checking other people’s lives. I definitely have the FOLO– Fear of Losing Out, and I am going to do my best to leave in 2016.783a2a9c4b4524b5fe5673267d6f1ede
  6. DO GOOD! Every week, do a random act of kindness. Random acts of kindness do not need to cost you anything. You can give a compliment to a complete stranger. You help someone load their car with groceries. You can allow someone to pull out in front of you or give someone the spot both of you are competing for. If you have a little extra change, pay for the person behind you at the drive-thru. Send a handwritten letter to someone. Pay for another table’s meal. Take a bag of popcorn to the Redbox. Take a quarter to the gumboil machine. Whatever little thing you do, it may make you feel silly, but it will also make you feel good inside.

There are so many other things you can do to try to be a better, happier, calmer you. Getting more sleep, giving yourself a break, reminding yourself how important you are, surrounding yourself with the right people, planning a getaway, doing one thing for yourself everyday, loving the person you see in the mirror. All of these are true and wonderful pieces of advice. I hope the 6 things I laid out for you though are simple things that everyone can incorporate into their lives. We all want to be happy. We all want to live calmer, in the present, lives. Try these out and see if they make a difference for your 2017 self.

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When it rains… it pours.

Ever have one of those weeks that you think, “things can’t possibly get worse,” or if you are little bit more optimistic, “we will get through this and be stronger at the end?” Well let me tell you, I have had one of those weeks. It started with visiting grandparents and my daughter coming down with a 103 fever. She was a zombie. I had never seen her that sick. We headed to urgent care where we were and the doctor was PHENOMENAL. He checked her from head to toe and spend about 30 minutes with us (after we waited for about an hour and a half). Poor thing was checked for the flu and strep and both came back negative and her lungs were clear– no sign of anything. Fast forward to Thursday, she was still fighting a fever (after a 36 hour break) and we were able to head to our pediatrician. Went through the flu and strep test again and now this time X-rays to rule our pneumonia. EVERYTHING was negative. Finally two shots of antibiotics and a blood count confirmed she had something bacterial. She went back the next day for another blood count and ended up with two more shots of antibiotics. Finally the third day (Saturday), her blood count was back to normal and she was given an oral antibiotic. So now the task as hand— NO ONE ELSE GET SICK!!!

UNTIL— my son spikes a fever Monday afternoon (but only 100.something). UGH! Well I take him IMMEDIATELY to the doctor and explain my whole reasoning (which they totally understood) and again, everything came back negative so they wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic but to hold off one more day to see if he gets better. It’s now been day 4 of fever and 2 days of antibiotics, and another doctor visit!!!

Oh wait– and then I have had sciatic pain shooting down my leg, causing me excruciating pain to walk or move quickly, and even worse, getting out of bed is the biggest challenge… and ready for the kicker?! Husband isn’t home!!!! He was luckily home until my daughter was given antibiotic shots, but he hasn’t been home since.

SO— I know we have all been there. We have all had these weeks from hell that we want to just forget about (or maybe we can laugh about later— much MUCH later!) I try to keep reminding myself that it’s only been a week and we can get through it. All of this is temporary. All of this will eventually go away. Fevers reduce, pain goes away. We are lucky actually to hopefully get it all over with in a 2 week period— but I. Am. So. Tired. Positive thoughts, though, or I might just go insane and cry. But, we have all been there.

So to all the moms and dads who just want to throw in the towel— one step at a time. Things will get better. Reach out for help. Surprisingly, people do want to help!!! Yes, sometimes it might not be convenient for you or them, but people want to help and let them!! Parenting takes a village and sometimes in this world, I think we forget that. It’s not all happy kids and fun playdates as seen on Facebook but a daily struggle, so let people in and enjoy the village!