Saturday, November 18, 2017

Day 18: 100 Little Lies



When Mr. KK was little, he would go to Friendly's with his mother. They would sit at the stools at the counter and order ice cream. Naturally, any child's first instinct was to spin around in the stools.

Mr. KK's mother would point to the menu of ice cream flavors and tell him, "'I would let you spin in your chair, BUT it says right here that children are not allowed to spin on stools. I'm sorry'."

Luckily, Mr. KK was too young to read, so he believed what his mother told him. Sucker.

Before you have children, you like to think you'll never lie to them. I told myself that. I believed I'd always be upfront and honest. Tell them how it is. But then, you're in the middle of a crowded parking lot and your toddler is screaming and won't get into his car seat, and he's causing a scene. And you have no choice but to tell him about the parking lot police who patrol the parking lot for boys who don't get get buckled into their car seats. 

It's nice to think you won't lie to your child. But then, you are only lying to yourself. Because if you don't lie to your child, you will never survive Toddlerhood.

(And by lie, I mean small untruths, naturally)

On any given day, I tell Little Mister at least 100 lies. it's how we get through the day. And every single one of them is for his own good.

It goes something like this:

In the grocery store. "If you don't sit in the seat in the carriage, the store manager is going to come by. If he sees you trying to get out and being unsafe, he's going to yell at you and put you in time out."

In the car. "If we don't buckle your car seat then the car won't start. Then we can't get home to eat lunch."

At home. "I wish I could give you more ketchup, but we can only eat a certain amount of ketchup a day so we don't run out."

Before lunch. "Let's go wash our hands. If we don't, the clean hands fairy will look at them and if they are too dirty she will eat your sandwich."

Before bed. "We can't have a cookie right now. Do you see the big clock? We missed cookie eating time. It's too late now. Maybe tomorrow."

I'm a big believer in the little white survival lies. 

I think they build character.

Hopefully in a few years when Little Mister is old enough to catch on, he thinks so too. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Day 17: My Peace of Mind Was Stolen

"I think someone broke into our house," Mr. KK said to me this past January, when he called me at work, in the middle of the day. "And I don't know if they are gone," he finished.

"GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!" I yelled to him, grabbing my coat and bags and heading out the door. "I'll be home as soon as I can."

It was a cold, clear, Wednesday in late January. Mr. KK left the house at 8am, returning around 11:30am from an off-site work meeting to let Vito out.

Mr. KK entered the house, noticed some dirt footprints on the floor in the living room, and assumed it was his dad who had a key ad often stopped inside our house, and who often spent the days in our yard splitting wood, driving the tractor and stacking logs.

Vito was on the couch, tail wagging, waiting for Mr. KK to come and give him belly rubs. By this point in his life Vito was pretty much deaf, and we would have to walk all the way into the house before even realized that we'd come home. But today, we was wagging his furry little booty on the couch, wide awake.

Being the OCD neat freak that I love, Mr. KK decided to sweep up the muddy footprints so we didn't track it into the house and scratch up the floors.

It wasn't until he was back in the mudroom looking for the broom that he saw the back door of our house, busted open.

We were officially violated.

I broke all sorts of records driving home, happy that there was no traffic in the middle of the day. When I got home, there was an officer outside of our house and he helped guide me into the house, instructing me not to touch anything or disturb any evidence.

Evidence. 

It's one thing to hear that word while watching TV crime shows, or see it while reading in my thriller books. But when there's a detective standing in your living room, wearing rubber gloves and swabbing ever surface in sight, it effing creepy.

It was like an episode of CSI...right in my living room.

Someone broke into our house in the 3-hour window we were away from home in broad daylight. 

We knew it was a male by the size of the muddy footprints that went from our mudroom through our living room and kitchen, down the hall, and into our bedroom. It was a direct line, and you could tell he was on a mission.

He didn't find much in our bedroom. In fact, if he was after cash and jewelry like the police suspect, he was probably really disappointed that he picked our house. We never have cash (I've been known to have less than $10 cash on me for the last 20 years), and I'm not a big jewelry person.

He thankfully skipped right by Little Mister's room, so I could rest easy knowing there was not a stranger standing in the room where my son slept.

That bastard went through my drawers.

He did, however, come into "my room" - the back room where my closet, dresser and computer is. Some of my drawers were left open, and my little necklace tree - that held the 3 necklaces that I owned - was missing.

And then I was pissed.

He not only took my Tiffany letter "k" necklace that I'd had forever, he stole the diamond flower necklace that my grandmother had made for me before she died. And, even worse, he took the necklace that Mr. KK and Little Mister got me for my first Mother's Day.

In addition to the necklaces it seems our mid-day visitor also stole a few containers of gas that we had near our snow blower.

But that was it.

The worst part, was that Vito was home when this happened. But our poor old man was probably asleep on the couch when the stranger broke in, and Vito never heard him. Seeing that my room wasn't as disturbed as it could have been, my theory is that Vito woke up while he was still in the house, and he walked down the hall and surprised him. Because even though Vito could hear, he could still SEE, and if he saw a stranger in the house, he would have barked his little ass off.

It's almost a year later, and they haven't caught who did it. In fact, forensics was so backed up, tests weren't even run until the summer.

The day after the break-in Mr. KK installed cameras around the outside of our house. Our doors were reinforced. The precautions made me feel like we lived in a horrible city neighborhood, not in a house on a main road in a sleepy little town.

If you've never been robbed, let me tell what you what it feels like. It gives you the chills - literal goose bumps on your flesh - the minute you walk into your house. It makes you doubt - more than usual - if you've locked your doors, or set your alarm. It makes you feel like you're being watched, especially after they tell you they found footprints at the French doors off the kitchen, with boot prints facing the inside of your home.

But perhaps the worst part, was that if they had come a day earlier, Little Mister and my mother-in-law would have been here. I keep telling myself that if they saw a car at the house, they wouldn't have attempted a break in. The day they came. both cars were gone.

We don't have a lot of material things in our house that are worth money. Things we deem valuable don't usually have a price tag. However, the day someone broke into my house, invaded my privacy, went through my drawers, was the day that my peace of mind was stolen.

If Mr. KK thought I was a neurotic door-locker BEFORE this happened, he hadn't seen anything yet.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Day 15: Halfway and a Crappy Day 2.0

I am halfway through blogging every day for 30 days. So glad you're hanging in here with me. Right?

Hello???

Anyway, I took a look back to a year ago on this day, curious to what I wrote about. Last year's blog title on this day was "Halfway and a Crappy Day", which I found rather interesting, because I would title today's post the EXACT SAME THING.

It was just one of those days. Everyone has them. Feeling a little overwhelmed. Work wasn't great, which naturally made me question my move into my new role. Is it right for me? Am I too far out of my comfort zone? I didn't get half the work done today I was supposed to do, which puts me behind for tomorrow. Will I ever catch up? And my personal to-do list a million miles long. How is Thanksgiving only a week away???

And then, Mr. KK and Little Mister came home. And everything got just a little bit better.

We had dinner together. 
We played a fun counting game. 
I had a big glass of wine.

It's so easy to get swallowed up by the minutia of the day. It's the big stuff that really matters. Mr. KK and Little Mister the couch with me. Watching Finding Nemo for the 8 millionth time. Being asked for a special treat for keeping his undies dry all day (Little Mister, not Mr. KK).

So this is my reminder to myself: Look at the big picture. Live in the moment. And just let that bad sh*t go.



And when all else fails, make silly faces with the ones you love.



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Day 14: Mama! Mom! Mom-my! I'll take it all.



This video is from two year ago, when Little Man apparently developed a sense of humor.

I was the one who spent 24/7 with him for 4 straight months.

I was the one who read to him every night.

I was the one who took him to Target.

But still...he made me wait. He didn't say Mama until he was good and ready.

Now, however, the ONLY word he says is Mama. Or Mommy. Or Mom.

Non-stop.

He screams "Mama!" when he comes home for the day. 

He asks "Where's Mommy?" when I'm hiding out doing something in another room.

Every night it's "I want Mommy to read to me!"

We are in a 'mommy phase' and it's wonderful. Even though I can't get anything done, I will soak up every minute. Because soon enough, he'll only want Daddy. And my time in the spotlight will be gone.

I know I'll always be his mother, but for now, I'll relish being his "Mama".


Monday, November 13, 2017

Day 13: The Most-Heard Word in Our House



We are going through what I hope is a short-lived toddler phase in our house. It's called, "Say 'No!' to everything that is asked of me". Oh, and do it loudly. 

As adults we are conditioned to try and rationalize. However, if you've ever tried to rationalize with a toddler, you'll find yourself wanting to run from the house, ripping your hair our crying. It's probably one of the most frustrating things you'll ever attempt, and it's not for the faint of heart.

In commemoration of our toddler saying "No!" to everything from 'Let's brush our teeth' to 'Time to go to school' to 'Let's finish our dinner', I have rewritten the lyrics to Meghan Trainor's popular song "No".

Parents of toddler, let me hear you sing along (to the same tune):

[intro]
I think it's so cute and I think it's so sweet!
How you try to rationalize and try and talk to me
But let me stop you there
Oh, before you speak...
Nah to the ah to the, no, no, no!

[chorus]
Bedtime? No!
Bath time? No!
Eat my veggies? No?
You need to let it go
You need to let it go
Need to let it go
Nah to the ah to the, no, no, no!
Clean up? No!
Use the potty? No!
Listen to you? No!
You need to let it go
You need to let it go
Need to let it go
Nah to the ah to the, no, no, no

[verse 1]
First I gotta say I won't eat brocco-lay
I want pasta on my plate
I don't want a coat, it's not even cold
Let me wear whatever I want
I don't need to brush, why you in a rush?
Don't you know I'm the one charge?
Blah, blah, blah
I be like nah to the ah to the no, no, no

[chorus]
Bedtime? No!
Bath time? No!
Eat my veggies? No?
You need to let it go
You need to let it go
Need to let it go
Nah to the ah to the, no, no, no!
Clean up? No!

Use the potty? No!
Listen to you? No!
You need to let it go
You need to let it go
Need to let it go
Nah to the ah to the, no, no, no

Original lyrics to Meghan Trainor's song here: https://genius.com/Meghan-trainor-no-lyrics

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Day 12: Italian Sunday Dinners

Sunday dinner prep. Sauce and meatballs! 
(Oh, and lentil soup for the week)

Growing up, Sundays always meant family dinners.

It was usually at our house or my grandmother's house, and nine times out of ten, we ate macaroni.

"Dinner" time was always in the middle of the afternoon. It could start anywhere around 2pm and last until the time when non-Italians eat dinner on Sundays.

And the best part about these dinners, was that everyone showed up. No matter what was going on, they dropped everything and were seated at the kitchen table (no fancy dining rooms here), tearing apart a loaf of Italian bread with their hands.

We'd eat macaroni, meat – such as pork meat, braciola, sausage and meatballs, which had been simmering to ultimate tenderness in the sauce all day, sort of salad and bread. And, of course, red wine. That's it. Nothing fancy.

There were no invitations, besides determining the place where Sunday dinner was to be held, and that destination trickled down through the Sunday morning phone tree. And then you just showed up, grabbed a bowl, and dug in.

Nowadays, it's not so easy to pull off a Sunday dinner. Schedules are busy. Laundry is waiting. Errands need to get done. 

When did life get so busy and complicated? 

I know for us, if we are planning to attend – or even host – a Sunday dinner, I have to plan for that during the week, and pull double duty on Saturdays to get everything done.

Our weekends are sacred: grocery store, errands, laundry, cooking for the week, yard work, catching up on bills, putting away all the stuff that was lying around on the counters all week. And sometimes, finding time to do something fun, like take Little Mister to the park or go out to eat. And when I'm feeling frivolous with time, I try to sneak in a haircut or manicure.

We are fortunate that our 3 year old still naps (I KNOW), and not only that, he's a marathon napper. I use those 3-hour blocks like a pro, accounting for every minute. Downside: when I wrap up doing what needs to get done and I'm ready to sit down and relax for 10 minutes, he wakes up. Mommy time over.

So today, I'm recreating Sunday dinner, even if it's just for the 3 of us. Macaroni, meat sauce, salad. Lots of grated cheese and red wine.



I'd like for LM to have traditions he can remember from his childhood. 

Maybe it's time to bring back Sunday dinners! (Well, maybe once a month...)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Day 11: If I Were to Write a Potty Training Manual...



As a mother, by far my least favorite thing I've had to deal with in 3 years is potty training.

I hear you, mothers of teenagers, laughing at me because it's going to get A LOT worse. But right now I'm chained to a toilet, so it feels a little like rock bottom.

I attempted to potty train the Little Mister back in March, when he was 2 1/2 years old. I skimmed read the books about the 3-day Potty Training Boot camp Weekend. I was ready. I took a day off from work, loaded up on paper towels, and put LM in a short shirt and nothing else. Surprisingly, he did really well. For a few days. Then, not so much.

So we let it go.

Recently, however, as we approached the magic age of 3 and the transition to the Pre School room at daycare, it was time again.

Crotch Watch 2017 was about to begin again.

This time, however, I wasn't as prepared. 

We were embarking on vacation, and LM would start in the Big Boy room right when we got back. His teacher said, "No diapers in this room. When you get back from vacation, bring him in here in his undies."

Excuse me?

Me: "Are you sure? You want him to go into undies cold turkey?" Because I sure as hell wasn't going to start potty training my kid on vacation.

She assured me it would be fine and that she'd take him to the bathroom every 30 minutes.

On that first day back to daycare we dressed LM up in his new Lightning McQueen undies. "You need to keep Lightning DRY," we drilled into his head.

And here we are, two months later, and LM is more or less potty trained. He still wears a pull-up at night, but 99% of the time, we are keeping Lightning dry.

I know someday I'll look back and not even remember potty training. These two months will be but a blip in the amazing memories we have with our child.

However, living through the 2 months, that's a different story.

If I were to write a Potty Training Manual, it would be less about how to potty train your child and the psychology behind it (because, let's face it, your child will start using the toilet when s/he is good and ready, not because you're camping out in the bathroom), and more of preparation for parents on what is going to happen to their normal, everyday lives.

The Only Potty Training Manual You'll Need by kk

1. Potty Training sucks. Sure, go ahead and try and make it fun. You're just fooling yourself. At your lowest low, you will find yourself trying to rationalize with a toddler. You'll ask moronic questions like, "Why didn't you tell Mommy you had to go pee pee?"

2. Stock up on your adult beverage of choice. Because when the clock strikes 8pm and you can FINALLY put a mother-loving pull up on your kid for bedtime, you will need a drink.

3. Say good-bye to doing anything. Ever. All those chores and errands you need to get done on a weekend? Forget it. Why? Because you can't be more than 3 feet away from a potty for longer than 30 minutes. And the thought of packing everything you'd need to venture out of the house and be prepared for accidents? No thanks. House arrest is easier.

4. You will start to hate the sound of your own voice. Why? Because you'll hear yourself asking, "Do you have to go potty?" 4,739 times a day.

5. You will learn self restraint. Especially when your toddler stands in front of you in a fresh pair of undies, looks you in the eye and says, "I'm going pee pee right now." In the kitchen.

6. Get used to cooking. Because you won't see the inside of a restaurant for months.

7. You will start to resent your partner (just a little) for having legitimate reasons for leaving the house and being away from a potty-training toddler. Like they have to go to work. Or mow the lawn. Or go to the grocery store for toilet paper.

8. There's no point in getting dressed beyond sweatpants or yoga pants. A. You'll spend most of your day on the bathroom floor, wiping up pee or reading books to get your toddler to poop and B. You're not leaving the house anyway

9. Your hands will chap. Whether it's because you're constantly washing your hands with your toddler teach good bathroom etiquette, grabbing for skin-drying baby wipes, or once again grabbing the tub of anti-bacterial wipes to clean up the floor, your hands will be a mess. Don't even bother with a manicure until he's 4 years old.

10. Get used to the fact that your child will be much better at potty training when they are with anyone except you. Our child would have dry undies all day at school and when he was with his grandmothers. When he'd get home, he'd play and then tell us, "I made Lightning a little wet." Even though we'd been asking him a million times if he had to go.

11. Accept the fact that will have to bribe your child. It's the only way it's going to work, folks.