I had a whole amazing blog post idea for today but then I’m bringing the kids to the Botanics for a walk instead so I’m totally going to phone it in and repeat some of the conversations I’ve had with the kids in recent days. So it’s like they’re earning their little field trip by doing my work for me and we all win.
Also, it will be very useful material for my speech on their wedding day. Yes, I’m already preparing my speech for when my kids get married, I’m efficient like that. It will be equally awesome and embarrassing.
Kirsten: Mommy, what you doing?
Me: I’m trying to sleep. No more talking, sweetheart.
Kirsten: Goodnight Jesus. Mommy, I say goodnight to Jesus.
Me: Jesus says goodnight too. Ok go to sleep.
Tru: Mei mei don’t jump, you’re stepping on my balls.
Me: what??? do you even know what are balls? where are these balls that you speak of?
Tru: Here. *points to his knees*
Tru: I need to sleep on mommy’s bed because there’s an octopus.
Me: Right. Where is it? I’ll ask daddy to catch it.
Tru: Daddy cannot catch it. When mommy go bathe, the octopus will come out.
Me: So it’s hiding?
Tru: Yes it’s hiding. And I don’t like the octopus.
Me: Ok fair enough, I don’t like hiding octopuses too.
Kirsten: Mommy we need to take bus?
Me: Yes baby, we’re taking the bus today.
Kirsten: Mommy you got no car?
Tru: Mommy needs to work then got car.
Me: So should mommy go to work?
Tru: No. I like to sit on the bus.
Tru: Mommy I need to go poo poo toilet bowl.
Me: Just give me 2 minutes, Kirsten is falling asleep.
Tru: I need to go now. If not I will poo poo on my training pants and it will drop on the floor. I cannot let the poo poo drop on the floor.
Me: *sigh* I know you’re not actually urgent enough to poop on the floor but for the convincing argument, I’ll take you now.
I saw them go into the room so I figured they were playing with toys peacefully for once. That was nice, I thought. No shrieks of “GIVE ME BACK”, “NOOOOOOOO” to contend with and I can finally sit down for a cup of afternoon coffee.
I set down my steaming cup of joe and walked into the room wanting to tell them how proud I was that they were learning to play in peace and maybe give them a pep talk so it would last longer.
Instead, I walked in to see the entire left side of baby girl’s cheek colored pink. In Tru’s hand was the smoking gun, a bright pink marker. ”I draw on mei mei’s face”, he pointed to his masterpiece. Objectively speaking, it was a fine piece of work, with the entire surface area colored in like I taught him to. Except that it was his sister’s face he was using as a canvas. In semi-permanent ink.
Deep breathing. Come on, be calm. I never specifically told him not to draw on his sister’s face so no rules were broken, so to speak. Besides, Kirsten was a willing party. “See, pink color,” she said laughing. “I like kor kor draw on the face.” Give it 10 years, young lady, and we’ll see if you still like it as much. Well, he did use a chair to prop himself up high enough to reach the box of markers I thought was kept safe out of his reach but that was a misdemeanor at best. This will just have to go into the list of things he now knows he’s not supposed to do.
Rule #261: No coloring on faces. Incidentally, Rule #260 was no putting rice in the washing machine. I need to have all my bases covered with these two.
When I calmed down sufficiently, I brought them to the shower and started scrubbing off the marker stains (which upon closer inspection was on their hands, legs and Truett’s right butt cheek – I don’t even want to know how that happened).
“Ok, that’s enough mischief for the day, go play with toys. Peacefully.” I used my stern mommy voice so that should buy me fifteen minutes to get some vacuuming done. As I was finishing up the living room, Kirsten started screaming bloody murder and this time, I walked into something far worse. Truett was holding a pair of scissors and there were clumps of hair EVERYWHERE. He had taken it upon himself to give his sister a haircut and by the looks of it, took off a piece of her ear in the process.
That was when I lost it completely. Kirsten was still screaming, I was screaming and by this time, Truett decided it was probably a smart move to join in the screaming. On the plus side, Kirsten’s body parts are all still intact but her hair now looks like she was attacked by dogs. I’m trying to change her parting so I can use the hair from the other side to cover up the patches.
With two kids, silence is not golden. It’s terrifying.
On Saturday, halfway through her nap, baby girl decided to wake up, drag her stool to the door, climb up on the stool, lock herself inside while trying to open the door and then cry for help like a damsel in distress.
All would have been well if we had the keys to open it from the outside but like most important things in our house, they’re never around when we need them.
We tried to pick the lock but we’re nowhere near as good as Simon Baker in the Mentalist. Then we tried getting her to unlock it herself (which I’ve seen her done before) but she’s a classic girly girl. In a distressing situation, her best solution is to cry for help in the most pitiful way possible. Like “mommieeeee, I want mommieeeeeeee…bwahhhhh” many times over. We were standing outside the door going “come on baby girl, you can do it, just get back on the chair and turn the knob, come on” but when she’s having a meltdown, she’s incapable of following instructions.
At least I know for sure that she’s not going to be a secret agent or KGB operative when she grows up. *Dangerous occupation averted*
So then we tried calling a locksmith to come and pick the lock but it was a Saturday afternoon and it would take at least 45 minutes for one to get to the scene. That’s 45 minutes of lockdown. With a very upset damsel.
Which left us with option D: a large hammer. The husband flexed his giant muscles, gave the doorknob several hard knocks and bam, problem solved. We had our dramatic big-rescue-reunion-moment where baby girl collapsed into my arms and hugged the life out of me. She’s doing fine now, no Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or anything.
As for the doorknob, it’s not feeling so good but it’s just as well since we won’t ever need it to be locked again anyway.
lockpicking gone horribly wrong
That brings us to our lesson, which is this. There are very few problems in life that cannot be solved with a large hammer. For those problems, you probably just need a larger hammer. I mean, have you ever seen Thor with a problem he couldn’t solve? Yeah, didn’t think so.
This came in the mail yesterday. In an important-looking On Government Service envelope so at first I thought we were going to be given some GST credits or something. Until the husband opened it up and it was basically a warrant for our arrest for making nuisance calls to the police hotline.
Whoever said that having kids was boring clearly didn’t have my kids. With my kids, I have to be prepared to be hauled off to jail at anytime for something that’s not even my fault. Well technically, it is possibly my fault because I should be vigilant and preempt all the mischief they get up to but there’s no way I would have expected my 18-month & 30-month-old kids to dial 999 and then breathe heavily at the police officer.
As the responsible, law-abiding citizens that we are, this is not something we find in the mail everyday. Or ever. Worst part was that we didn’t even get to feel all badass about prank-calling the police just for fun (yeah, don’t tell me you’ve never wanted to do that). Now I have to be extra careful to make sure they don’t prank call the police again or get hauled off to jail.
Also, Mr. Police Officer, there’s really no use putting the phone on a high ledge somewhere because there’s no place to high for the kids to reach. Especially since they learnt that dragging a stool around the house gives them a height-boost. One time I came into the room to find them scaling the window grilles in their room (which were securely locked but it didn’t stop me from going psycho-mom on them for dangerous behavior).
The way I see it, the only probable option was rehabilitation, where I made them realize the severity of the issue. So I gathered the kids and told them that they weren’t supposed to play with the phone and particularly not to dial 999 under any circumstances.
Tru looked very serious during the talk and after I was done, he grabbed his chest, gave a fake cough and said “Truett never play with the phone. I need to call the ambulance because I’m very sick.”
I’m pretty sure that’s a sign my kid is way too smart for his own good. That’s also a sign we are probably going to be arrested.
Kel: Don’t be ridiculous, everyone know that lizards don’t read blogs.
Me: Oh yeah, well obviously they read mine because how do you explain this?
Ok, let’s back up a little. Right after I called them malevolent vile creatures, they decided to launch an attack during my most vulnerable moment. In the shower.
Iceholes. And I don’t mean ice at all.
I was taking my relaxing shower last night when I reached out for the body wash and there it was. The monstrosity. Hiding behind my shower foam having a little siesta. It got rudely awakened when I moved the shower foam and jumped onto my hand so I flung it off with the most vicious, spastic hand jerk and started SCUH-REAMING the house down. But then I was stuck in the shower area with the abomination standing between me and the door. I could either leap over it and risk getting attacked or I could stand there and wait for it to make the first move. And if there’s anything I learnt from Sun Tzu, always be the one to strike first.
So I yanked open the door, jumped over as fast as I could and RAN out of the toilet (still screaming, by the way). And of course, I slipped, crashed into the sliding door and fell flat on my ass and the husband who was lying on the bed calmly playing his Championship Manager, started laughing like it was some sort of huge joke. I can see how the sight of a naked person screaming and crashing onto the floor might seem hilarious but multiple bruises on my hands, legs and ass ain’t no joke, aight?
You would think the story ended when I made him catch it and disposed of it. Except that it didn’t. He came out with a piece of tissue saying that he got it so I figured it was safe to go finish my no longer relaxing shower. This time, I was all lathered up when I saw it again. On the wall right next to my toe. So began the second round of screaming and running (I didn’t fall this time) out of the toilet.
The husband says he might have missed it when he thought he got it the first round but I’m pretty sure that those slimy little pieces of filth are trying to attack me. You know how when you have the boss fight, you always send 2 guys in to do the job. This is *exactly* like that.
Lizards: 2. Me: 0
And then this afternoon, I was clearing the trash from the kitchen bin when I found another lizard hiding at the bottom, underneath the plastic bag, so it fell back to the bottom as I grabbed the plastic bag out. This time, I didn’t have the husband around to exterminate it and it was fortunate that it was trapped in the bin. For my finishing move, I poured a whole jug of boiling water into the bin so it’s probably dead now. I didn’t check, I’m going to let the husband clear that when he comes home later.
Lizards: 2. Me: 1
But you know what this means. It means WAR. I could have tolerated them as long as they stayed hidden in their dark corners away from the personal space that is my bathroom. I’m going out to get a dozen lizard traps tonight. Just wait, little suckers, I’m coming for you.
If you’re also a mom, you’re probably sympathetic to the fact that post-baby, your body is never going back to the way it was before. I blame all those slimming centre commercials with all the before and after shots (which were all probably photoshopped in anyway) because they make it look so easy. Pop 3 kids, wear some glad wrap and bam, you’re back to a svelte 45kgs.
First of all, glad wrap doesn’t work. Yeah, I’ve tried. I even let the masseuse slather me with some miracle ginger concoction that’s supposed to burn all my fats away. All it does is give you a hernia and you can’t even pee the entire time, which will mess with your bladder. Fail.
Oh, it’s all about controlling the food intake, you say? Ever since baby girl popped, I’ve been down to having 1 or 2 meals a day. If I’m lucky enough to find time to wolf down a sandwich in the morning, it’ll take me to dinnertime when the husband gets off work. If not, I only get to eat at 2 or 3 in the afternoon when the kids go to bed. I know there are a lot of theories on how eating at irregular hours will trick your body into storing fats but let’s just put it this way. My body is going to store more fats if I have more food than if I have less. Basic math, people.
Then there’s the exercise. Which I do not have the time for. If I have a spare hour in the day, I’m going to use it to eat, take a shower, catch some shut eye and watch the new season of Grey’s Anatomy. In that order. Doing squats to Richard Simmons on DVD is very far down my list of things do to on a day I manage to squeeze out some free time.
What makes it worse is that after you have a baby, you have to work doubly hard to keep in shape, as if it wasn’t hard enough before you had the baby.
But not to fear because I’m about to tell you how to get rid of that postpartum baby bulge – which is already sans the baby so it’s just a bulge – right in the comfort of your living room. And you don’t even have to spend thousands of dollars on expensive gym equipment. Now that you’ve already gone ahead and had the baby, might as well make the most of it.
For those of you who are still breastfeeding, DON’T STOP. Until your kid is 12. I think it starts to get a bit weird once they start hitting puberty but up till then, it’s all cool. Every breastfeeding session is equivalent to one solid workout at the gym so you can still watch tv and snack on nachos with extra cheese while those gym rats are huffing and puffing away pumping iron.
2. Weightlifting while on the treadmill.
Mothers are the masters of multitasking and we should use that to our advantage. When the baby is screaming and demanding to be rocked to sleep, it’s the best time to get in that extra workout. At one point I had to carry baby girl and run around the house in order to get her to fall asleep. I lost a whole kg in that week alone. Then I got lazy and left her to sleep on her own, at which point I gained it right back. And then some.
I used to do this a lot during my basketball training days so I’ve incorporated some of them into my daily routine with the kids. So I’ll be fixing their lunch in the kitchen when I suddenly hear a scream or a thump or worse still, absolute silence and I drop everything, leap over the baby gate, rush into the room to find the kids up to some mischief, yell at them a little, remember that my food is getting burnt and dash back into the kitchen. Repeat.
4. Endurance training.
These days, there are all sorts of fancy schmancy baby slings and carriers to keep the baby stuck to your hip as you potter around and do your motherly stuff. Use them. It keeps the baby quiet and you get to work out a little while you do the dishes or clear the chores around the house. You may get a slipped disc at some point but if you’re a real athlete, that’s part of the package. No pain, no gain. (which is what my nazi lactation consultant said as she manhandled my boobs and the next person who says that to me will be punched in the gut)
5. Make up your own
It just doesn’t seem right to end with 4 points so you get to come up with your own. It’s like an assignment that nobody wants to do but I’m asking anyway because I’m all out.
PS. If you tried it all and nothing works, crap, just do this.
When I first got my hands on the iPhone, I resolved not to let my kids play with it, knowing that they are likely to chuck it, smash it, dunk it in water and basically make me regret ever letting them touch it in the first place.
But kids, they have a sixth sense for all the things they are not allowed to touch and you know how it is. After a day of constant badgering, I finally surrendered my spanking new phone. Also, I heard other parents raving about how incredible some of the apps are, with its educational and keeping-kids-quiet capabilities. I was mostly sold on the second part.
Once they got it, they proceeded to submerge it in water and use it as a weapon of destruction just as I expected but I suppose I only have myself to blame for it. Although that’s not really the point here.
The point is that in the process, I also discovered that the phone was truly unparalleled in its ability to prevent meltdowns. Every time I saw a tantrum coming, all I needed to do was pull out my trump card and… instant silence. I know, I can practically sweep best parenting awards with this move. Stop judging me.
It’s not like I don’t try other methods. My car is filled with different toys to keep them quiet but each one usually lasts for 60 seconds tops before it gets flung out of the baby seat. Even daddy’s Omnia doesn’t make it past the 5 minute mark. It’s like they know it’s inferior.
With the phone, baby girl watches Youtube quietly on the go and Tru, he’s addicted to ALL the games. He can fiddle with the phone for a whole hour straight reading Dr Seuss, singing the Wheels of the Bus and playing that spelling game he’s getting quite good at. He’s also got a signature move to go with it, where he grips the phone with his left hand, sucks his right thumb and uses his pinkie to navigate the phone. That boy redefines the meaning of badass.
Recently, we’ve been trying to figure out a way to reduce Tru’s playing time. Every time I tell him time’s up, he goes all screamy on me and he’s like “forget it mom, you’ll have to pry this from my grip of death”.
Until yesterday, that is. Tru was with me at the wet market, seated in his stroller with phone in hand while I was trying to do my marketing when he suddenly threw down the phone and unleashed the mother of all screeches. Everyone within a 5 meter radius turned to look and we were all trying to figure out if he was injured or something. I couldn’t find anything wrong with him and he was crying too badly to explain. Eventually, I figured it out. The source of the distress: Talking Carl.
Let me qualify by saying that I got this app because it was highly reviewed by one of the Mac sites. This little guy supposedly repeats everything you say with a hysterical voice and it is claims to be able to provide me with hours of peacefulness. Apparently, my son disagrees. Turns out, it’s his greatest nemesis. He’s terrified out of his skin and freaks out completely whenever he so much as sees the icon of Talking Carl. He also made me throw the app away, which I was forced to do immediately.
I was sure he was overreacting and it was one of his bizarre quirks. Then I saw this clip and it all made sense.
*For best results, crank up the volume or use earphones.