I debated the flu shot a lot this year, not because I am typically against it, but more due to the fact that the flu mist was not available. I was pretty sure that making my four kids get an actual shot was a bad idea. Then the day came, the day my husbands work offered flu shots for free, and I knew I had to make a choice. I bravely drove to the school, got my twins out of the car, and checked my daughter out early for the day. My kids knew we were headed to daddies work to meet him for lunch, but I decided to not tell them the rest. Well, my oldest daughter quickly guessed why we were really going, and so the drama began. After the not so short 45 min drive, we arrived and proceeded to fill out paperwork. My husband and I didn’t so much as flinch when we got our shots, but it didn’t matter, the other crying kids in front of us had already set the standard. My most panicked child acted like a crazed chimpanzee trying to escape the building. In her panic, she didn’t even notice the nurse reach over an administer the shot. No pain, no crying, it was so quick she laughed. In fact we all laughed in response to her reaction. Relieved that the shots were done, we celebrated with a picnic lunch at the park. So were the shots worth the drama? I guess I’ll never know, but here’s to hoping a year is long enough for me to decide.
Currently, I need to use the bathroom, but I have decided that it is not worth the drama. You know, the kind of drama you get when you walk out of the room your toddlers are playing in. Even if I decide to be a little sneaky and wait until they are not looking my way, I know that their “my mom has left the room” radar will quickly go off. As a result the once happy and content little girls that I have now, will turn into panicked, crying, banging on the door, basket cases. Upon exiting the bathroom, the determined little toddlers will insist on being held, and neither one will want to share mom with their twin. Back problems will of course follow, as I lug 55lbs of combined toddler around until I can make my way to the couch. I will then sigh because the intended two minute bathroom break turned into a 20 minutes emotional ordeal, and as a result, I will be worn out and will not want to return to needed tasks. Yes I think waiting until nap time to use the bathroom is definitely in everyone’s best interest (just hoping my bladder is up for the job).
Five outstretched fingers reaching with all her might to grab the bag of M&Ms off of the shelf. I steer the cart away and hear a loud protest, “I need M’s!”
I restate, “You need M’s?”
“I need M’s for Lilly (her 2yr old twin sister)!” Lilly confirms with a nod.
Despite their cuteness, I don’t comply with their request. My next move is to distract them with the free cookie from the bakery. A crumb trail now follows me wherever I go in the store, this proves useful when I realize that Katie is now missing a shoe. I follow the trail and find the shoe. Ok back to my list.
I head to the dairy section. I’m now in the back corner of the store. “I go potty mommy!” I cringe not only because the bathroom is at the front of the store, but also because I hate taking toddlers to public restrooms! Despite the fact that the girls are wearing pull ups, I make a mad dash and ditch my cart at customer service. I hold Lilly onto the potty while trying to keep Katie from touching every surface in the stall. Now slightly flustered, I reclaim our cart and make the long trek back to the dairy section. I carefully nest the eggs in a location that I deem safe from the girls. Once in produce, I realize that my fruit is in danger! I do my best to stack it in a way that seems less accessible to Katie who is riding in the big part of the basket, but I know that bruised apples are inevitable.
The excitement of coming to the store is now gone, and the girls decide to start to poking and annoying each other for entertainment. After a quick glance at my list, I decide I need to pick up the pace. I feel like a broken record as I constantly remind Katie to sit down, so I can push the cart. The tired girls decide that they no longer want to listen to mom, and have a deep desire to get out of the basket! Whining, turns into crying, which quickly turns into screaming. With other shoppers now staring, I do my best to calm the girls down and hurry to the exit. I start to unload my cart onto the conveyor, and realize that I am missing an important item from my list. I quickly decide (now that the girls are in full meltdown mode) that it’s not worth it, and head for the car. I wrestle them into their car seats and put the bags into the truck. The overwhelmed look on my face disappears, as I discover a favorite treat in one of the bags. I not sure taking the twins to the store was one of my best moves, but the comfort food was probably worth it.
Yes I said Ninja, but not the violent star throwing kind, more the sneaky, get your kid from the car to his bed without waking him kind of ninja. I’m guessing you never thought of yourself as someone with ninja skills, but consider the following…
Skill 1: Super Fast Cleaning
Example: Someone just knocked on your door and your house is a mess! Do you shrug your shoulders and hesitantly open it? Or rather, frantically pick up everything in view during the 30 seconds you have? Yes, super fast cleaning is a mommy ninja skill!
Skill 2: Distract and Run
Example: Natures calling, and knowing your toddler, he will likely throw a fit if you go to the bathroom and close the door. After some quick thinking, you decide to turn on his favorite TV show, and make a mad dash during the intro song! Distraction, a must have ninja skill!
Skill 3: Light on your Feet
Example: Your baby is a light sleeper and seems to startle at any sound. After putting her down for a nap, you decide that instead of walking like normal your only option is to gracefully leap into the air to avoid the squeaky floor board in the hallway. And I bet you never thought that leaping would be a useful mommy skill.
Skill 4: Sneaky Snacker
Example: You tell the kids no treats until after dinner. But come 3:00 pm, those homemade cookies are calling your name! Do you follow your own rule and wait for dinner? Or do you palm a cookie, gobble it down, and leave no crumbs behind? Naughty, but the cookie is totally worth it!
Skill 5: Spider Killing Master
Example: No one is home but you and the kids. A mammoth size spider appears, and threatens the life of you and your babies. You bravely run for a shoe and smash him before the spider knows what what hit him. Ok, maybe moms do have a little bit of actual Ninja after all.
If you find yourself nodding in affirmation to mentioned skills, you can now with confidence call yourself a mommy ninja! Sticky situations are no match for you, even if they involve actual sticky! Last minute cleaning, cranky babies, and even spiders, don’t stand a chance against your reflexes. Being a ninja is not without it’s recognition, so don’t be surprised if you little boy proudly draws your picture next to his favorite ninja turtle, and gives it to you on mothers day!
The time between when you start potty training, and when your child can go the bathroom by themselves! This time is way worse than changing diapers, but is the only way! I recently decided to make the plunge, and start training my twins! Now about a month in, I am wondering if there really is light at the end of the tunnel? I kicked it off by using some version of the 3 day method. And just for fun, I thought I would share a few highlights… Day 1: My favorite pair of shoes (that I was not wearing) became the first puddle victim. Day 2: We tried to spend a lot of time outside with their portable potties, and when they would have an accident, I would just spray them off with the hose (because they were playing in the water anyway). Day 3: I told my husband to go and mow the lawn, and during the hour and half that he was outside, the twins had six accidents! Yes, I said six, and it was crazy! As soon as I would almost get one cleaned up, their was another one, and then another…By the time he came back inside, I had pretty much lost my mind, and was ready to give up. Within a few minutes, they had 2 successes, and although I was happy, I had mixed feelings.
So were the twins potty trained after 3 days of torture? Well kinda, depends on your definition? Did they know how to use the potty? Yes! Did they successfully use the potty? Yes (a few times). Potty trained? No, not really (enter Limbo). Day 5: I was trying really hard not to use pull ups until…Lilly puddled all over my bed, after we had just spent all morning in the bathroom. And although my mattress protector did it’s job just fine, I had a little meltdown, and on went the pull ups! The ironic part was that Katie managed to stay dry the entire day, even in a pull up. I was excited but confused on what to do next! Day 6: Not so dry.
Ok so as a twin mom, I feel defeated! I have been overwhelmed by constant panicked trips to the potty (every 20 mins), and am having a hard time staying fully committed. I know that if I switch them back to underwear, they could make much quicker progress, but I enjoy life outside of the bathroom. So until I agree to another round of mommy torture, I am stuck in Limbo. And because my kids are often smarter than me, they are taking advantage of the situation! At church this week, the twins decided that they didn’t want to sit quiet during the meeting, so they got an idea. In their not so quiet voices, they announced to the congregation, that they needed to go poopie! To avoid looking like the meanest mom ever, I felt compelled to take them, but of course once I got them to the bathroom, they didn’t even want to try! Walk back into the meeting, another announcement, and the cycle continued…
Unfortunately, I know that since they have now been introduced to the potty, I can’t stop letting them try, but I really do wish I could hit the skip button on the remote for this chapter of raising twins. Maybe there is some kind of potty training summer camp that I could send them to, where all the kids run around in swim suits and potties are everywhere! It would be great, you simply drop off your kids, and they come home potty trained! Now that is a camp I wouldn’t mind supporting! Ok it would be total chaos, and a terrible place to send you baby, but can’t a mom still dream?
After reading this, I am hoping that I have not terrified anyone who is gearing up to start potty training! Although a huge pain, it really is worth it to get your kid out of diapers! Some kids really do train fast, and if Katie was just a single baby, she would already be trained. So to make up for the fact that I may have just scared the pants off of you, I decided to write down a few of my favorite potty training tricks, that might make your stay in limbo just a little more bearable!
It’s that moment at the check-out stand when you look down at your shirt, and realize you didn’t look in the mirror before leaving the house. At least it’s just peanut butter…Or is it? At this point you’re not really sure it matters, but because you’re next in line – it’s decision time. Do you draw attention to yourself, and make some lame joke/excuse for looking the way you do? Or do you act dumb, and pretend you didn’t notice the fudgey fingerprints?
You wonder to yourself, why you ever bother to wear a black t-shirt? Yes, it looks great when you put it on, but does it really hide the fact you are a mother to four kids? Apparently not. As a mom, without fail, every sticky, yucky, crusty, situation will make its appearance on your shirt. Whether it’s your sweet little boy, who just wanted to give you a hug after he ate his peanut butter sandwich, or your little toddler with a cold, who hasn’t figured out that mom is not a human Kleenex. Your shirt is in danger! No wonder why you never have anything clean to wear, despite endless loads of laundry. Yes, the odds are definitely stacked against you!
The sound of the receipt printing, snaps you back to reality. Still unsure of what to say, you laugh to yourself as you realize that the only reason you came to the store, was to get a little brake from the kids in the first place. Now with no way to hide the kid mess all over your shirt, you go with a lame joke. This is returned with a slight smirk from the clerk. Amusement? Pity? Too late to really care. You bag your duct tape along with your remaining pride, and head home to where you know you will be much better appreciated!
It’s 9 pm, and even though you are completely exhausted from running around with kids all day, it’s now officially your “me time.” Although crashing in bed is probably what your body wants the most, your mind wants to do something other than watch “Daniel Tiger” for entertainment. You channel surf, check your e-mail/facebook, and hang out with your husband for a little while. All of a sudden, you feel yourself relax, and remember what it’s like just to be you. As a mom, these moments are precious, enjoy them!
It’s now midnight, and you decide that you should definitely get some sleep. Now, more tired than ever, you somehow manage to shove a toothbrush into your mouth before drifting off. About 30 mins after you lay down your head, you are unfortunately interrupted by a child who has had a bad dream. Because you are awesome, even though you’re half zombie at this point, you quickly sooth your child back to sleep. Despite your quick action, it takes you another half an hour to settle back down, before falling asleep again. Another 30 mins in, and you are woken up once more, crying baby this time. Slightly more grumpy, and less awesome with this child, you somehow manage to sooth them back to sleep as well. It’s now 2:00 am.
You then kick yourself for staying up late (kids somehow, seem to know, the nights when mama lets her hair down). Understandably, you had not expected to be woken up, because your kids are old enough now, that they “should” be able to sleep through the night. But as an experienced mom, you know that “should” is still a gamble. Oh well, you had a little fun, and it probably was more valuable to get some “me time” then to get a few extra hours of sleep anyway…
You then start to reflect on the days when you kids were infants and needed to be fed every 2-3 hrs. You remember your son as an infant with reflux (he was such a terrible sleeper, that he would not sleep unless in an upright position, and either had to be nursed or lulled to sleep by the sound of the shower!) You still wonder why you didn’t buy one of those white noise machines, that would simulate the sound of a shower (instead of wasting more water than you care to admit), but you were so desperate for sleep during that time, it was hard to think clearly. You laugh to yourself, as you remember the first time you accidentally left the shower running. You had turned it on, with the intent to only run it for a few minutes, but in the process, you also fell asleep. Upon waking, you found yourself in a very sticky sauna room, and realized that instead of running cold water, you ran the hot! Yeah, definitely should have looked into that white noise machine…
After reflecting on your sleep zombie past, you come to the conclusion that although this particular night has been rough, you most likely will get better sleep tomorrow, and so you worry less about your current predicament. Now with your mind still wandering however, you decide that you should start to spread awareness about mom’s suffering from sleep deprivation. Maybe moms could wear an electronic device that indicates how many times their kids woke them up at night, and how much total sleep they are trying to function off of. Slurred speech, bags under eyes, and unexplained crying, might then, be more understood by others. Maybe, even just a T-shirt that says, “my baby is a bad sleeper” would allow moms the slack they need, to explain why they look/smell the way they do after a particularly rough night. Yes, I see a Mom Sleep Deprivation Awareness (MSDA) movement coming soon…
It’s always nice when the kitchen is clean, toys are put away, and everything looks as it should. Unfortunately, my house only looks like that, after a couple hours of cleaning during the twins nap. Once they wake up, that is when, the whirl wind begins… It’s almost painful to watch, as the afternoon snack get smashed and ground into my freshly vacuumed floor. Out come the books, toys, and games. Play dough on the table, crayon on the walls, and socks everywhere. It is impossible to keep up with such a tornado! Cleaning up with twin toddlers on the loose, is like trying to shovel snow in middle of a blizzard, no real progress can be made.
It took me a long time to learn how to deal with messy kids, and realize that a clean house is not the most important thing. I decided to choose one thing that I could keep clean, and designate it as my happy place. For me this is the island counter in the kitchen (a place where the kids can’t reach). If I can keep it clean, then I find it easier to remain calm and collected, as the rest of my house gets destroyed. I’m not sure why having a small token of cleanliness helps me, but it does. I think keeping a part of my kitchen clean, is a reminder that I am a clean person, and the kids are well, just kids. It’s kind of a mystery why this trick works for me, but if you find yourself in a similar situation, I highly recommend you find, your happy place!