parenting

How I wish it had went down

After having 7 children you would think that I would have the problem of taking toddlers into the bathroom down to a science.  But we are talking about toddlers and they have never been known to be particularly great about being consistent with anything, much less bathroom etiquette.

Today I went grocery shopping with #7.  Who had to go #2.  Of course before embarking on said trip I asked #7 repeatedly if he had to go potty.  Nope, not gonna happen.  Exactly 2 minutes into our grocery store expedition he pipes up from the backseat:  “Mom, I have to poop.”  Of course you do.

After assuring me that he could hold it until we got to the store he proceeded to talk about poop: how it smells, how it looks, how big his poop is going to be.  You know, the usual stimulating conversations you have with a 3 ½ year old.   He did hold it until we crossed over the threshold of the stores entrance.  Than it was a race to the bathroom.

Now, I have no problem taking #7 (who is a boy) into the women’s room with me.  #7 has recently developed a problem with me taking him into the women’s restroom.  He thinks that he should only go into the men’s restroom.  This is an issue.  I have seen #7 in his natural environment in the bathroom.  It involves a lot of running water, throwing toilet paper everyplace but in the toilet, and getting into everything that he can.  In the bathroom.   Not to mention the glaringly obvious point of that he is too young to go into a public bathroom unattended.  This particular grocery store does not have a family restroom so he was ushered, yelling and squalling, into the women’s bathroom.

Thank god it was empty so he was unceremoniously led into a stall and told to poop.  He got as far as pulling down his underpants when he decided that he wanted to go into a different stall.  I convinced him that the stall he was in was the BEST stall in the whole bathroom.  He grudgingly agreed to give it a go.  He kept up a constant litany of how he was pushing really hard, the poop wasn’t coming out, how bad the bathroom smelled, and why Chase from Paw Patrol is his favorite.   I’m tapping my foot and begging him to hurry up.  Mommy suddenly has to go to.

Then someone walks in.  That poor lady had no idea what she had walked into.  #7 immediately seizing up on the idea of an audience goes full bore into inappropriate conversation.  He talks about his poop being pretty, he tells me that his balls are huge, he starts to tell the story of when he peed on the cat and then decides to talk to the lady in the stall next to us.

#7 asks her if she is okay “Hey lady, are you okay?”   The lady does not answer.   #7 gets louder.  “Hey lady, are you pooping too?”   Still no answer from the neighboring stall as I am trying furiously to get #7 to quiet down and just finish.  “Mom, that lady is pooping.  It stinks.  Mommy, that lady is being rude!”

Finally, #7 is blessedly done.  I wipe him, let him flush, and help him with his pants even though he “can do it.”  Now its mommy’s turn and after #7 promises to stand still and wait until mommy is done, #7 lies.  He flings open the stall door as I am mid-squat and yells, “hurry Mommy, it smells really bad in here.”   Our neighboring bathroom guest is washing her hands and trying her best to ignore us. Great.

So, here I am, embarrassed, rushed and wishing to hell that I had made #7 go before we left.   And how has your day been?

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It’s been a wild ride since we moved into the farmhouse.  We inherited three barn cats, now we have 7 all total since one of the barn cats was a momma to be.  Neville Longwhiskers and Phyllis are officially house kittens for now and Gus and Ivan the Purrible are not happy about the intrusion.  Add to this feline mix four hens and a rooster.  We do live on a farm after all.  Jemima, Vanessa, Ruby and Coffee (#6 ran out of name ideas I think) are laying eggs and causing our rooster, General Leslie Tso, all sorts of headaches.  And now we have a turtle, Mort Goldenbaum.  My sister-in-law is convinced that we name our pets all sorts of weird things but I like the fact that the kids are more creative than Midnight or Fluffy or Eggs.

chickens on the table?  Why, of course!

chickens on the table? Why, of course!

We had a successful get together christened Fall at the Farm and S.O. and I imbibed a lot (shout out to those that made fall flavored Jell-O shots, we thank you) and enjoyed showing everyone the hard work we have done at the farmhouse to make it our own.   The kids had hayrides, played on round bales, chased the chickens and Elmyra’d the kittens.  (For those of you who did not watch Tiny Toons, Elmyra loved, and I mean, really loved all animals.  To death.   Relax, the kittens are not dead but they probably will learn to run and hide when they hear the patter of little feet from now on.)

Now that harvest is in full swing I can expect S.O. to be gone from sun up to well after sunset.  The combines and spreaders are out in the fields and on the roads.  It is time for cool mornings, beautiful sunsets, and liberation from air conditioning.  The kids are all in school except for #7 who keeps mommy entertained and on her toes.

This is my favorite season of the year.  I miss hubby being home but without him and his crew and all my other agriculture peeps, we wouldn’t have the tasty treats that I am currently gaining weight on.  Did you know that Halloween candy is an acceptable form of food?  Yeah, me either but my body thinks otherwise.  Did I mention that hoodies and yoga pants hide a multitude of sins?

But there is trouble in paradise.  Our cars fuel pump went out, we thought it was the alarm system malfunctioning and spent wasted money on a new ignition switch.  Car is getting repaired now and it’s only costing 1/3 of what the car is worth so that’s a win.  Borrowed my dad’s pick up and now #7 thinks he is a cowboy and refuses to ride in anything other than a pick up or a tractor.  Bonus side, we live in the country so driving a tractor down the road is not as uncommon as one would initially think.

#3 is contemplating moving out on his own in January and while I know that he is 20 and needs to spread his wings, I don’t like the idea.  #4 is a senior this year in high school and has plans to join the Air Force upon graduation.  I’m proud of his decision but again, mommy doesn’t want to let her chickadees get too far away.   This is a lot harder than it was with #1 and #2.  I am not sure if it’s because I know that they are all slowly flying the coop (gotta love my farming metaphors today) or because the OG5 are not little any more.  Probably a combination of both.   I still have at least 15 years before #6 and #7 leave so I can just smother them with my affections until then.  That’s healthy, right?

Until next time, I will be eating fun size Snickers and sobbing quietly in the laundry room.  But not doing laundry.  I am not that sad yet!

 

 

 

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I completely believe in supporting moms and not judging others parenting.  I wish that I could just embrace all moms and how they parent and give them air high fives.  In truth, I am a little judgey.  I have my opinions about parenting and sometimes I think that I am doing it right and other times I think that I should have my head examined.

I think that every mom should at least try breastfeeding.  I am not militant about it but I found it to be such an awesome experience and it is so good for the little ones that I think that all moms should give it a shot.  If you don’t even try how will you know?  But I am not going to berate someone for choosing not to breastfeed.  I stopped breastfeeding my kids before they were a year.  Sometimes they were a combo of breast feeding and formula. And they have all turned out okay.

I think that parents should allow kids to make mistakes and learn from them.  Don’t hover.  Don’t try to control every little action.  Don’t try to turn them into little images of you.  They are individuals who deserve to be individuals.  I cringe whenever I hear a parent say, “I was just like that when I was little.”  No, you weren’t.  By the same token, I can clearly see in my kids a mix of both parents but also that they are their own little terrible people.  So, yes, they act just like dad but they also do things that set them apart from him.  Like putting socks in the laundry basket.

Let them get dirty and grimy.  It not only helps them to acclimate to the germs that cover every surface of everything in life but its fun for them.  Its okay if their face is dirty or their clothes have a spot on them.  It all washes off.  I don’t think that they should be covered in snot and dirt but occasionally, it’s okay if they look like they re-enacted Lord of the Flies.   Just not in public.  There’s a big difference between a neglected child and a child that has been playing outside.  Trust us, we know the difference and it’s not a reflection of your parenting when your kid just ate a dirt sandwich and is proud of it.

Enforced bedtimes.  I know that some parents let their kids stay up as late as they want until they finally fall asleep exhausted.  I know  some parents enforce a bedtime regardless of summer hours or if the child is tired.  It’s a careful balance.  When you have to get up at 5 in the morning to get your kids ready for daycare or school than yes, they need to get some sleep and probably go to bed earlier than most grandparents.   If you are putting your kid to bed at 7 pm regardless if they are tired because you want 4 hours to yourself and don’t want to deal with them anymore, that’s a selfish parent move.  If you are letting your kid stay up until 2 in the morning because they are “night owls” and then they sleep till 11 the next day,  I think you’re being lazy.  Kids need sleep and schedules and parents need alone time.  Find a balance.

Letting kids cry it out.  Kids need to learn how to handle things like not getting their way and not throwing tantrums.  But kids are going to throw fits.  If your child has been crying, and I mean really crying, not the whining fake cry, for over 20 minutes, they are in distress.  Pick them up and try again.  A child left to cry for hours is a child that is being ignored.  This is not raising strong children. This is setting a precedent that they don’t matter.  It is sometimes not worth engaging a kid who is having a meltdown.  Let the meltdown happen.  It’s frustrating and embarrassing and makes you feel like a terrible parent but sometimes a kid has to let it out.  You know your child and know when it’s time to step in and when it’s time to let it go.

Disciplining your child.  This is such a touchy subject.   Time outs work for some kids, not so much for others.  Disciplining your child is not abusing them.  A child needs boundaries and those boundaries have to be enforced.  If another parent, or grandparent, or complete stranger is telling you that how you handle your discipline is wrong, especially in front of the child,  tell them to fuck off, politely but firmly .  This is your child and you are the parent.  If they really have a concern they will pull you aside and talk to you about it, not berate you or try to enforce their ideas on you.  If you are abusing your child, then you deserve to be told to fuck off and abused yourself. (I am not promoting violence.  Kids should be protected and if you are not protecting your child than you are not deserving to be called a parent.)  Giving a child a swat on the butt because they have run out in the parking lot and almost got hit by a car is appropriate.  Explaining to the child why they were punished is also necessary or the punishment makes no sense and is just a waste of time.  Smacking your child in the face because they told you no is not appropriate.   Finding the balance and the appropriate punishment is what is important.  I also don’t agree with parents who never discipline their kids.  You are not raising an amazing child with no limits, you are creating an entitled brat who will experience a lot of hardship because you chose to not teach them about rules and boundaries.

So, yes, I have opinions and even though I have 7 kids I am not an expert.  Nobody is.  It’s all trial and error.  So, don’t judge too harshly the mom who is trying something, anything, different to parent.  I may have my opinion but unless you are asking me for advice, I will try to keep it to myself.  I may be judgey but I will do it silently.  In my head.  Like a normal person. And I will be giving you air high fives.

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