Well, from the title, I thought it was about food.

What a productively lame weekend.

I pretty much ran errands, shopped as much as I could for the next two weeks (I hate shopping with the girls, unless I'm just futzing around. Shopping with a goal in mind sucks.) and cleaned the heck out of the house. I had hoped to get around to making a shload of meatballs, but I didn't finish cleaning until close to 10 and wanted a bath more than I wanted a stockpile of meatballs for meals this week.

I screwed up and forgot to order the girls' hot lunches for school this week, so after tomorrow, I have to pack everything. That puts pressure on me to make good dinners .. Bean will be thrilled with the packed lunch, as she begs all the time for "lunches from home" instead of the hot lunches. We each persist in getting her to eat the hot lunches because we hope it will get her to eat a bigger variety of foods and eat some damn veggies already.

I'm so looking forward to getting my big girl back tomorrow. I just want to hold her and make everything right in her world .. not that I can, but holding her and telling her I love her will make *me* feel better. I'm looking forward to Miss O, as well, except she's apparently sick, so I am not *at all* looking forward to her cooties. I'll be taking like 900 vitamins tomorrow. And wearing a mask.

Thanks for the responses, here and via email, about Bean's behavior. I did put in a call to the therapist I used post-divorce; she's seen Bean once before and she knows the backstory, so I think it'll just be easier to use her than to start fresh. She told me that about 50% of her practice is kids of all ages, so she should be able to work with Bean. I don't know how much, if any, of the behavior is divorce-related, and how much is just four-year-old behavior. Bean's always been more physical than her friends, so maybe the physical part of this is just her being her, as the freakout part seems to be pretty common among 4-year-olds.

But I don't want to assume anything. So she's off to get her head shrunk. Whatever it is, Dave and I each need to understand it and get some insight into ways to deal with it ourselves, since parenting this kind of stuff doesn't exactly lead to stellar parenting moments ... le sigh.

I'm glad she's getting it out, whatever it is, rather than keeping it in. I just want to find a better way for her to do it ... and don't think I haven't seriously considered a punching bag or taking mother-daughter boxing lessons. I even wondered this weekend if I could find a vet who would let Bean watch some surgeries, with the thought that giving her more to think and talk about would help.

Maybe I can get insurace to cover horseback riding lessons and a field trip to Texas A&M?

Can I make a suggestion that doesn’t involve violence? Or is this the wrong crowd?

I'm so far behind on personal emails, I really shouldn't be blogging ...

Bean's just in a bad place right now. Dave got another incident report, the nutshell being "she hit a kid, and when her teachers got her her away from the other kid, she 'came at' both teachers kicking, hitting and scratching."

It's just gut-wrenching to read that. I wish I could explain how it hurts my heart and just makes me feel like we've screwed her up on the grandest scale ...

She's been vocalizing a lot about the divorce, especially the mommy and daddy not being together part. The other night she (verbally) came at me with all kinds of questions and almost-accusations. Things like "I just want my mommy and daddy together" and including highlights like "why did you have to leave?" and "why didn't you want to live with daddy anymore?" The fact that I didn't bite my tongue *off* is amazing.

I did tell her, very firmly "mommy and daddy will never be together again, and you have to accept that and deal with it. I know it sucks for you, but it is never going to be the way it was."

We talked a bit more, and I reiterated, time and again, that mommy and daddy were both good people who just didn't want to live together anymore and didn't love each other anymore. That we still liked each other, as friends, but that was it.

Unfortunately, I think the whole "friends" thing, in a man-woman way, is a blurred thing for her because of how (poorly, IMO) the whole she-who-will-not-be-named sitch was handled; now Bean has all these nuances of 'friendship' she has to reconcile, and I don't think she really *can* reconcile them.

I called my old therapist tonight, and am going to get Bean into counseling. The 'aggressive/ violent' behavior, for lack of a better descriptor, really concerns me. It's like she's got all this hurt and anger she can't verbalize, so it comes out like this.

It's not my weekend, but I want so badly to just go scoop her up and hold her. To take her somewhere, just her and I, and somehow make everything okay for her. I'm sitting her typing and crying and feeling like an utter failure as a mom because my sweet girl has so much to deal with.

The point is, I haven't even broken a sweat.

Ladies, thanks for the comments letting me know I'm not alone in my struggles with fourliness. (Yeah. I made that up. So what?). Having heard from my BFF that 5 sucks, too, and six is when it "gets better" (last I heard she's still waiting on the "better"), I've decided that the only reasonable course of action is to bleach out the toilets in prep of swirlies of doom.

It's hard to remember that Bean still has amazing moments, and she still says awesome stuff, like when I picked her up today and she hugged me, then blurted out "Mommy! You peed in your pants!" And then I got to explain butt-sweat to her, and her preschool teacher, and about 5 *other* preschoolers, since I didn't want anyone thinking I had, indeed, wet 'em.

(Loudly) "Mommy didn't pee in her pants, she was just driving with the windows down and got sweaty from sitting in the seat"

(Note to self: sit on towel next time, or do windows-down in summer on days you *don't* pick up Bean.)

A hippie-in-training, she has mad love for the "baby redbud tree" at school, says hi to willow trees (and loves them because they "look like (my) cat, Willow") when we're out and asks for leaves from every tree she knows.

She shares, unprompted, with Miss O, when Miss O is upset in the car. Bean will talk to her in a soothing voice and, one by one, give her everything she has or that she can reach.

She has this soft, gentle yet almost-condescending voice she uses when she explains things to me, where it's like she's talking to a temperamental, yet high-functioning, hamster. It's sweet and somewhat demeaning all at once. It's the voice that I imagine she used when she and Dave had a conversation the other day about her finger-sucking and how it's impacting her dentition.

(Paraphrased, from conversations with Dave) He told her that she needed to stop the finger-sucking because it was giving her an overbite, and she essentially thanked him for his concern, but said her teeth were different than his and she liked them that way, thank you very much. he said "she was polite and dismissive at the same time." I'd kill to have that on video ...

Oh, and she just told Max "You're such a turd-y cat. We're going to have to take you back to the animal shelter because you're doing unkind things."

Defining awful: "Like if I got killed, that would be awful. That's what awful means."

When I told her cell walls give leaves structure, she said: "Structure means strong. I know that already. Structure starts with S and strong starts with S, that's why they mean the same thing."

Whatever is causing the Joan Collins 'tude, deal with it. Embrace the pain, spank your inner moppet, whatever, but get over it.

It was a brutal weekend. Bean's being four may actually drive me to drink.

Since the "bad" always seems to overshadow the "good" (man, I wish it didn't work that way), an honest assessment of the weekend reveals that there was more good than bad. But it's just like that Longefellow poem my mother used to say about me: when she was good, she was very good indeed. But when she was bad she was horrid.


We're not talking pushing children into traffic or pulling the legs off spiders; we're talkin' violence, strong language, adult content ...

The kicking, screaming, flailing hissy fits of lore at the slightest hint things may not go exactly her way.
The running away screaming "no!" and "I'm never going to be your friend again!"
The dramatic recitals of her punishments, with a liberal helping of *over* drama: "I'm never going to get to color again. And I'll never have any friends ..." all said in a pitiful pout/sob/whine that just begs my sarcastic bitca streak to make some kind of snarky remark.

Le sigh. For someone who doesn't like to sugar coat things and tends to shoot from the hip, often without a full run past a mental censor, parenting an over-the-top drama queen is a real challenge. When she runs off screaming "Don't talk to me! I'm never going to talk to you again!" I want to come back with "If *only*!" When she tells me she's never going to play with me again, I want to let her know the overwhelming joy I feel when contemplating a future without My Little Pony games.

And I'll admit, after several hours of turdburgery, I will let a "promises, promises" slip when told for the umpteenth time that she's never talking to me again.

But she still has that undercurrent of Bean sweetness and curiosity that saves the day. After all that turdliness, she'll pull something like "Mommy? I love you" out of the blue and I get that mental reset I so badly need.

Miss O is still just chugging along on her very own path. She's not talking a ton, but I ran through a bunch of picture flashcards with her yesterday, and she knew about half the words. Her clarity is lacking, although somehow mama, no and mine! all come through with no problems. I pick out a "grandma" in this video, the second of four in a series I call "A Study in Nap Avoidance"

From 8-22 - A Study in Nap Avoidance

(You can enjoy the full series here)

To read makes our speaking English good

Sigh. Yesterday was a napless day, so bedtime came hard and early. Both girls were out cold within 20 minutes, and O slept like a rock until 5:45. Unfortunately, that early bedtime meant 5:45 was it, and mommy's a little cranky and dragging.

Bean was coloring and writing yesterday, and I asked her if she wanted to spell Max's name. We'd never talked about it before, and she usually asks me to spell new words while she writes. So she turned to her paper and wrote, and spelled out loud, "M-A-X". I was surprised, so I asked her how she knew how to spell his name.

"Because when I was in the car with daddy and we drove past Office Max and I saw Max was spelled M-A-X."

Okay then.

Later on, we were talking about something in the body, and she described it perfectly, then said "I know stuff like that, so I'm going to be a doctor when I grow up."

We had to do the parent-teacher-conference thing on Friday, after Thursday afternoon's whole "Bean kicked a teacher" episode. I think Dave and I were both braced for the teachers being crappy, but we were both pleasantly surprised by the tone - it was "what can we do to help Bean?" and not "Bean is a pain in the rear". We spent a good half hour talking amongst ourselves about behavior challenges, how Dave and I handle them at our homes, and what has and hasn't worked at at home and at school. I was really impressed with their wanting to find a way to help Bean be less of a turdburger, but not in a mean or judgy way.

I'm finding four to be a really challenging age. I think I spent like a week or two thinking it was an awesome age, but that brief period of disillusionment has crashed and burned in a horrifying way. We're talking Pompeii, but with more carnage. I know now why people call it the "F-ing Fours"

Bean is volatile, reactive and once in a while just generally unpleasant to be around. I hear that she's not my friend multiple times a day, there are screaming hissy fits at the slightest provocation, and she flails around if you try to approach her mid-fit, so I get hit and kicked a few times a week. It is incredibly hard not to hit back. Especially when I get repeated smacks.

What's is (or what was) your biggest challenge with your four-year-old? How did you deal with it?

Booty down, friends

Bean "bootying down"
Originally uploaded by vickwrites
One of my favorite Bean videos to date.

I wasn't gonna use violence. I don't always use violence. Do I?

Doing clean up the other night, Bean observed: "There are 34 Bristle Blocks, mommy."

So, naturally, I asked if she had counted all of them, to which she replied: "No, I used my imagination and I counted them in my brain! I practice-ed, and practice-ed until I got it right."

Not bad, kiddo.

Sadly, as we discussed what she was bringing for show-and-tell, she decided on baby Cheerilee, the fan-flippin-tastic talking MLP she got for her bday. Not her take-apart human torso, not her tree book, not her body puzzle or even her "biology book with the baby being born!". I'd have been happy if she even took the "mommy" horse, whose boobs were actually boy parts. But no. Baby Cheerilee. Ah well, she is only 4 after all.

So I dropped her off Wednesday morning, and reminded her the next two nights were with daddy, as I had a couple functions to attend.

Wednesday night was some 'Texas Music & Film Playmakers Social' at The Ranch downtown. I wasn't looking forward to the event, but ended up having a blast and meeting a few interesting folks. Last night I was supposed to go to a Door64 happy hour, but ended up leaving work early because I felt like crap - no fever, just a lot of nausea. I was also smelling The Smell all day long, even at work.

I'm a bit better today, and thankfully, no Smell, but I may be in for a parent-teacher conference later today. More on this when I'm not about to head to work, but apparently, Bean had a meltdown and kicked a teacher, then, as she was running away, kicked a kid's head. She also whacked her dad in the face. I need to understand how it all went down, get the teachers' sides and get Bean's side, but I'm a bit perplexed how to handle this, and wondering if anyone else is seeing/has seen stuff like this around 4 years and how they handle(d) it ...


The things we do for love

I'm just a love machine ...

Y'all know I suffer through all the online dating crap, so when eHarmony added a new little "here's how we psychoanalyze you in a handful of questions" quiz, I couldn't help taking it.

Those who know me well will know that this quiz actually hit the nail on the head. Apparently my "love style" is grounded and I'm realistic about what makes a long-term relationship work, "forging a love based on friendship and respect". I "believe that a true partnership is about sharing responsibility and being able to count on one another." I'm also "looking for a love that lasts. Unswerving loyalty comes naturally, and when (I) say 'I do', it will be for keeps."

Well huh. All that from a quiz that asks you to select what picture represents what feeling.

I'm the chosen one. And I choose to be shopping.

As much as I miss my kids during these weekends, I love having every other weekend off. I can do so much stuff I could never do with them, host wine nights for my friends and stay up way too late watching documentaries about oceans and the geology of the earth. I know, stop. It's overwhelming to y'all when I'm This Cool, but bear with me.

Friday night I got to see all the moms from the playgroup I used to belong to in my SAHM days. It was great to see everyone again, and fun having wine and running our mouths for a few hours. I hope everyone was able to pass of the morning stuff to the hubbies after such a late night :)

Today, after a late start, I hit a couple Goodwill's to looks for clothes/toys/books for the kids. I also scored a pair of Banana Republic pants and a pair of Gap pants for myself.

I found fab books for the girls. Including a couple "My Little Pony" early reader books that Bean will crap kittens over.

My best score was spending about $20 on 6 dresses for the girls, including dresses from Ralph Lauren, Lilly Pullitzer, Laura Ashley and Sweet Heart Rose. These all would have retailed above $20 each, some well above $20, so not bad. I just love getting cool fabrics and solid construction that will stand up to being a play dress, all dirt cheap.

There actually was some big old barn/garage play thingie for $4 at my local GW that I resisted buying, simply because they don't need it. I scored a great Fisher Price barn there for $2 a couple weeks back so, technically, they're set.

I've realized that thrifting is kind of an obsession of mine. I started doing it *way* back in the day, when I was like 15 or 16, and dressing completely differently. So I'd look for cool mens' button-down shirts and jackets (think chunky punk, and that was me). I'd go with my then-BFF, Ashley, and we'd scour the thrift shops downtown. Hell, we may have started before we reached driving age, and taken the bus.

Ashley, if you read this, I actually dreamt that you and I were on the phone, talking about the good old thrifting days, and also about how we'd like to try to plan to meet up some time. So if you get some random nostalgic Sarasota thrifting email from me, that's why :)

I hit a Goowill that someone referred to as Sak's 5th Goodwill, way down (way down to me, at least) on Lake Austin Blvd. I did score the Lilly Pullitzer and Sweet Heart Rose dresses there, but the store was so cramped and chaotic that I didn't enjoy shopping there. No Goodwill, that I've seen, at least, is really good about sorting and sizing their clothes - it's usually something like "black tank tops" as a category, so you have to sort through the entire thing to see if any are in your size. But my local one, at least, has bottoms sectioned into types and sizes, so you don't feel like you have to go through 30 feet of stuff, just your section.

Maybe I should hire myself to Goodwill as a merchandiser for all the local stores ...

You're not going to be young forever // Yes, but I'll always be stupid....

Congrats to Fox News for their "fair and balanced" news coverage [/sarcasm] of a new doll that promotes breastfeeding. Watch the video - totally "fair and balanced", as their news tagline says.

News flash - breastfeeding dolls won't encourage early pregnancy. Not any more than a bottle-feeding doll would. What, specifically, about breastfeeding would cause a 4-year-old to think "hells bells, as soon as my parts work, I'm getting knocked up?" Or, when they hit puberty, what about breast versus bottle is going to make them reflect back and go "wow, that breastfeeding doll really made me want to have babies."

It's idiocy that parents and even *doctors* are thinking that by switching how a doll is fed, you're changing anything about how the kiddos playing with dolls will mature or when they will become sexually active. Here's the braniac Fox News staff doctor's quote:

Dr. Manny Alvarez, managing health editor of FOXNews.com, said although he supports the idea of breast-feeding, he sees how his own daughter plays with dolls and wonders if Bebe Gloton might speed up maternal urges in the little girls who play it.

“Pregnancy has to entail maturity and understanding,” Alvarez said. “It’s like introducing sex education in first grade instead of seventh or eighth grade. Or, it could inadvertently lead little girls to become traumatized. You never know the effects this could have until she’s older.”

Well, now we know why you're the editor at FOX and not the surgeon general, Manny.

Seriously? Seriously. Pull your heads outta your a$$es folks, and realize that a breastfeeding doll isn't controversial, it isn't to be treated with contempt and it isn't, early-pregnancy-wise, any different than a bottle-feeding doll.

My oldest "nurses" dolls all the time. So does my youngest. Here's how Bean handled taking care of a stuffed cat when she was watching me nurse her new baby sister:

And here's how the youngest does things:

So, according to FOX news and some of the more erudite folks who've been polled about this doll, I should go ahead and get both girls their HPV vaccine and some birth control pills this weekend because this will make them sexually active sooner.

Obviously these folks could have used some breast milk as their tiny little brains were developing. Or at least a better formula.

I've seen you looking at my breasts // Nothing personal, but when a guy does that, it just means his eyes are open

Very cool site from Texas WIC: Breastmilkcounts.com - tons of great info and breastfeeding support.

Their info?

Welcome to BreastMilkCounts.com
A mother's one-stop breastfeeding resource

Congratulations on your new baby! Whether you’re sure you want to breastfeed or you’re still deciding, know that breast milk is one of the most important gifts you can give your growing baby. Breast milk protects babies from illness and infection and promotes their brain development. Because it’s made especially for each baby, breast milk has important ingredients that are not found in artificial baby milk.
Yay Texas!

And the weird behavior award goes to...

Check me out - I'm fabulous :)

Thanks Stefany @ To.Be.Thode for the tag, the award and the sweet comments :)

Now I have to list 5 obsessions and tag 5 folks to name theirs ... hmmmm ...

1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - I just love everything about this show, even tho it's been off the air for years now. I use quotes from the show all the time as my blog titles (mixed in with a random movie or Douglas Adams quote here and there), and I still chuckle over lines I've heard and read a gazillion times. I haven't watched my full-season DVD set in awhile, but I keep thinking that I need to, since it helped me find my mojo a while back when I was in a similar slump.

2. Twitter - especially the links I find there. I follow like 100 folks, a lot of whom are big names in SEO, social media, web stuff, etc. And ever so often, I get spontaneous follows from folks who make me think "wow, I must seem kinda cool ..." But I follow links and read what folks have to say throughout the day, and really love the whole concept of Twitter. Love it.

3. Books - sadly, my voracious book appetite has taken quite the hit this year with my return to work; after reading like 120 some odd books last year, I'll be lucky to finish maybe 70 this year. But I love reading books.

4. Not taking sh*t from people - I don't know what it is about me, but I can be like a dog with a bone if I feel someone is trying to take advantage of me, or deliberately misconstruing what I say or just being a douche. It's kind of an all-consuming thing, where I do get obsessed with whatever the topic is, and will flog a dead horse until all that's left is a couple bones to make my point. It's an obsession and one of my bigger personality flaws ...

5. Mommyhood - I read books, blogs, web sites, magazines ... I talk to friends, my mom, other parents ... I want to get things "right", even though I know "right" changes from child to child - hell, it changes from day to day for each individual child. Yet I keep reading, asking, thinking in some obsessive pursuit to get it right

So in lieu of therapy for my nuttiness, I blog. And make others confess their own special little quirks :) I'm passing the award, and the meme, along to:

Julia, of Little Austinite fame. Because I know she's as weirdly obsessive about stuff as I am :) Her personal blog is private, but check out LA instead!

Shannon, over at But Aren't You Afraid, who definitely deserves an award for all kinds of stuff!

Dawn, who not only takes fab photos and produces a weekely podcast, but also blogs about her family's Fry Moments.

The oh-so-busy Jen of Cheeky Monkeys, who really doesn't need another way to procrastinate about getting ready for her class!

My fab cousin, Rebecca, who needs some excuse to get her rear in gear and Remember to update her blog with what's going on in her life and in her head!

So get busy showing your crazy, ladies, so I don't feel so exposed :)

I'm starting to think this 'working hard' is hard work.

Ugh. I still haven't sent out the thank-you cards from Bean's b-day. They're all written out, and she's signed them all, but Lazy Mommy hasn't addressed the envelopes. *sigh*

So Bean's over there playing with all her horses and she was showing me the 'family' (she's very, very into making families out of everything). She explained "This one is the daddy because it doesn't have any boobs. It's smooth and has a shiny horse on it's tummy. This one is the mommy because it has boobs - see?"

Sadly, the "boobs" were indeed the boy horse's bits. I didn't bother to correct her.

Miss O has been doing some 'potty play', where she'll park her tush on the small potty, and she delights in using TP to wipe, but there's no actual pottying going on. No big, since my approach to this stuff, especially at 20 months, is pretty organic. Bean figured out how to turn the lights and music on on the potty, tho, so now they both spend inordinate time making the potty talk, "flushing" it (it makes a flush sound) and then rocking out to the happy potty song that plays at the end. There are shrieks of delight and some kickin' dance moves that go along with the potty song, and I'll have to get this on video at some point ...

The slump I mentioned a little while back still lingers in some ways ... but not totally. I've been kind of feeling shortchanged at work, but I keep trying to balance that against how awesome the stuff I'm doing will look on a resume in a year or two, if I can't shake the feeling of not being truly appreciated. I'm involved in a lot of stuff I'd never be given the opportunity to do in a large company, simply because my boss took a chance on an unproven performer who's willing to learn on the fly. And that can't be under-valued.

I've been totally treated like crap by the web design company he hired to build the three websites I manage/edit/write copy for. And that has definitely not helped any mood slumpiness, I can promise you. They have talked down to me, treated me with total disrespect and said I was "demanding" .... presumably because when they give BS answers to my help desk tickets and close them themselves, I reopen them and say "no, you didn't answer the question", but in a nice way.

The owner has also totally refused to speak with my boss (you know, *his customer*, who has spent like $10K with them) in an in-person meeting. Refused. Said he will only talk to him via email. So if you're looking for a web design/hosting company in the ATX area, I cannot recommend Lucid Crew, based on their customer service. Their technical and design skills seem fab, but the way they have treated my boss and I makes me want to scream.

I can, however, recommend Julia, whose fab Little Austinite site is very well designed, robust and, best of all, I doubt she'd talk down to you.

I'm wrapping this post up (begun around 6:00 this a.m. at 8:45, after leaving the girls to fall asleep on their own. I'm sick to death of the whole bedtime rigmarole, and finally turned O's crib to face the wall and talked Bean off a ledge and walked out. Yesterday it took over an hour for O to fall asleep; when I'm going to sleep with them, it's not such a huge deal, but on the nights I'd like to get a couple things done, it's effin' ridiculous. Because it takes so long, I nearly always fall asleep with them. And get *nothing* done around here. And get all cranky and resentful.

I think I might just have to take the tough love approach on bedtime. Especially because O didn't freak out crying, just mutterd a few pathetic-sounding "mama"s, and they both fell silent within a minute or two. Bean was actually the one who cried, but then she practically crawls under my skin at night, insisting that she can no longer lay alone, normally, on the bed, she has to come be pressed against me as I lay parpendicular to the head of the bed down by O's crib.

Is a kind of emotional regression normal at 4? Asking around, it sounds like a few of the other 4-year-olds I know are acting slightly, well, down-level, for lack of a better term. Bean is now afraid to go in a room when the lights are off (even tho she has done it for months previous, and knows how to turn on the lightswitch herself), needs to sleep pressed against me and clings to me like a baby howler monkey at every. single. preschool dropoff. Miss O walks over to her teacher and says "buh-bye", Bean draws the goodbye out into 5-10 minutes of "I want you to stay with me".

Moms/dads of 4-year-olds, or older kiddos - do/did you see this too? It's so frustrating to go backward, and while I'm trying to be as accomodating and supportive of it as I can, I'd really like to sleep in my own bed and not have to peel my big girl off of me every day!

Birds need to fly, and girls need to use the toilet

Do you ever just feel like people take things just an eensy bit too seriously?

I'm watching a discussion on age-appropriate movies for a two-year-old, and while I agree with some of the issues folks have, I'm finding myself shaking my head on some of them. And the sidebar conversation about how people go to great lengths so their kids aren't freaked out by the auto-flush toilets in stores/restaurants.

I'm trying to decide if I'm just a mean/bad mommy, but I don't really go to great lengths to shelter my kids from too much. Yeah, when Bean was potty-learning, the auto-flush toilets bugged her; they still do. But so does *any* flushing toilet when we're out because they're all so damn loud. That's life. Instead of putting TP in front of the sensor so it doesn't auto-flush, or bringing along my own potty in the car, I just talked her through it. I told her that's just the way some toilets work and I didn't like it either, but it is what it is. I've made a deal with her that if I *can* let her leave the stall before the toilet flushes, I'll be happy to, but sometimes she just has to suck it up and deal with it.

I'm not trying to be b*tchy to the folks who go to these lengths; in fact, I can think of one or two kiddos whose parents probably have to do this and more, because the kids are truly that sensitive and need it. For mine, tho, it wasn't a *must do*, it was a *could do* and I chose not to go to great lengths to shield them from a loud flush. I'm not the only person who takes them places - if I set them up to need that kind of coddling just to pee on the toilet, how do I ensure everyone does it for them?

To me, there's things worth shielding your kids from: I have skipped The Lion King because Simba's dad is actually murdered; I haven't shown them Dumbo or Bambi, but Dave apparently has, without any emotional trauma on either kid's part. Neither would be something I'd chose to show them if the control were always mine, but so much of life is out of our control anyways ...

In a way, it seems easier to me to broach these 'tough topics' early on. Thanks to the death of a PT at her therapy place, Bean's been talking about death for at least a year now, and understands that everything, people included, dies eventually. As time goes by and her level of questioning/understanding increases, her questions about death grow more sophisticated, but I've not seen any indication that knowing about it and knowing that people die has been detrimental to her or has scarred her in any way. It will just be something she grows up knowing about and talking about, much to some friends' dismay.

Conversely, tho, I don't discuss religion with her, nor do I want people discussing it in anything more than "some people believe xxx, it's all a personal choice" terms. Much the same way I try to tap dance around racism - it's just a concept that seems too complex for a four-year-old to understand. Death is pretty black and white; religion, not so much.

What about you? Do you try to shield your kids from unpleasantries? Do you tackle 'belief'-type discussions with them? Why or why not?

You're certainly a font of nothing

I've been missing my kids a lot these days. Wishing I could spend more time with them, wanting to take days off to go do silly stuff with them ... of course, my being totally disenfranchised with my job probably plays some role in that. But really, I'm just wanting to be with them more. I'm chomping at the bit to leave and pick them each day and spending the evenings rolling around with them being silly. And then in the mornings, Bean's having the hardest time letting me leave her at school - she's not freaking out or crying, she's just clinging and telling me she doesn't want me to leave, that I should stay with her, that she wants to be with me always ...

I've begun my last two mornings with Bean snuggled against me, as close as she can get, and it's kind of nice :) This morning she was holding my hand and whispered that she was sad about my broken finger (my left pinky, I broke it a few years back and it healed all bent) and gave it a kiss.

After a bumpy week or two, four is turning out to be a pretty great age. I can reason with her, we can talk about most anything and she can express herself quite well. Twenty-some-odd months is slightly less reasonable. Miss O, however, for her part has been pretty decent lately too. We've been freak-out free all week, except for a small meltdown when Bean took the bowl of Flat Earth chips and wouldn't share them.

But O responds to reason somewhat well - if she doesn't want to do something, like get her jammies on, I just explain that if she wants to pick out a bedtime story, she needs to let me get her pajamas on.

She's still not much of a talker, but certainly has "no" down pat, and parrots most anything. She's got a (belated) 18 month check up this Friday, so I'll be talking to her ped about her speech just to be sure there's nothing to worry about. When I've talked to the teachers at her daycare about it, they don't think she's too far behind, and since they see more kids each day than I do, I appreciate their opinions. But I still worry a little, especially when I go back and watch videos of Bean when she's 4-6 months older than O is now and Bean's just rambling away ...

Can you believe that Bean considers extra hugs and tickles a fab reward for good choices? She did something sweet for O yesterday and I thanked her with a full-body tackle and tickling. We have a new bedtime routine (which may explain why it has taken them so damn long to fall asleep lately) of jumping on the bed and me grabbing them from mid-air and tickling them. What? I'm not supposed to encourage jumping on the bed? Pfffttt.

I know I'm not the only one who encourages or instigates "bad behavior" in the name of fun and silliness ... what's your favorite "bad" thing to do with your kids?

Mojo: What the French call a certain... I don't know what.

Been a long week ...

Sucktastic date aside, no major issues. I'm just kind of in a slump ... I'm not loving my job anymore, I'm kinda blah in general and somewhere along the line I lost my mojo.

At least I still have Bean to keep me laughing.

The other day, the guys were here doing the lawn. I was sitting at my computer in my underwear and a tank top. Not a thong, because Bean comments on those ("Your underwear is up your butt, mommy. When mine is like that it's distracting."), but still, not something I'd answer the door in. Bean came into my office and wanted to see the lawn people. She was pulling the blinds away from the window and I asked her to stop.

Mommy: "Don't open the blinds"
Bean: "Why?"
Mommy: "I don't want everyone to see me in my underwear"
Bean: "They're not looking at your underwear, they're looking at the grass sweetie."

The "sweetie" was said in that kind and considerate, non-sarcastic way that only a 4-year-old can deliver. She was trying to be reassuring. I know she didn't intend to knock mommy's fragile ego down an extra notch or three, but there it is.

The kid cracks me up. Her unintentional comedy is way, way better than most peoples' intentional funny stuff.

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