MOOMINMAMMA

will troll you

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This is how Ted has been saying hello for the past couple of weeks:
“Raaarrrgh!!!”
Dinosaur style. Usually met with uncomprehending stare. Except this time, he got roared at in return. Needles to say they became the best friends for the afternoon.

Filed under toddler socializing making friends how you doin

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…the firm, austere expression which is only seen upon those who have to control horses or boys.
Arthur Conan Doyle - The Adventure Of Shoscombe Old Place (Sherlock Holmes)

Filed under Parenting quote of the day

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Etsying and apple picking. Two of my favorite Fall pastimes. Ted’s not amused. (I might have at least finished trimming Tinkerbell’s coat before stuffing him into it and telling him to pose with some apples in the blazing Yakima sunshine.)

Etsying and apple picking. Two of my favorite Fall pastimes. Ted’s not amused. (I might have at least finished trimming Tinkerbell’s coat before stuffing him into it and telling him to pose with some apples in the blazing Yakima sunshine.)

Filed under projects crafting

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While I was blissfully enjoying my morning shower, Ted barged in, demanding to know where his trains were. I poked out my soapy head from behind the curtain, and went off on a rant: “They should be on the mat in the den, but you will also find some by the rolled-up rug in the hall, a couple under my bed, the flatbed train and the yellow lumber train on the windowsill upstairs, and the red steam engine on the craft table.”
No idea why, but by the time I finished, we were both laughing.

While I was blissfully enjoying my morning shower, Ted barged in, demanding to know where his trains were. I poked out my soapy head from behind the curtain, and went off on a rant: “They should be on the mat in the den, but you will also find some by the rolled-up rug in the hall, a couple under my bed, the flatbed train and the yellow lumber train on the windowsill upstairs, and the red steam engine on the craft table.”
No idea why, but by the time I finished, we were both laughing.

Filed under conversations with toddlers

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You don’t “find” time, you make it

Over the last few weeks, there have been a few decisions to be made that got me stuck thinking about life choices. Nothing major, but somehow I’ve ended up obsessing about the day I’ll have to sit Ted down and tell him to think really hard about what he wants to do with his life. Because youth is golden, and free, and full of possibilities. And then, one day, you realize the noise keeping you awake at night is the sound of the doors slamming shut, of your options fizzing out without ever being given a proper chance. 

About four years ago, in the last months of wedding preparations, I was standing at the precipice of a PhD that would have taken me back to Africa. It was my dream ticket. The scope was just right. The matter exciting. Relevant. Fully funded. On the night before my final interview, I was busy reading about current conditions in the country, when I started stumbling across articles about murders of journalists looking into my area of enquiry. I freaked out. I flunked the interview. I still got the place, but I’d have to pay my own way. I used that as an excuse to back out entirely. I was about to get married. I didn’t want to die. A few months later, I followed my now-husband to the US, had a baby and “settled down,” whatever that’s supposed to mean. I craft. I make jam.

I don’t bring this up because I regret not taking that leap into the academia. I do regret that that facet of me has disappeared the moment I walked away from it. I had spent years learning and building my life around it and then, one day, it all simply vanished. Nobody knows that about me any more. Most days, even DH doesn’t remember that this was how I used to define myself. Scientist. Researcher. Historian. 

I let it vanish. That’s the sad truth about it. I sleepwalked my entire life, never made a single choice fully informed or fully of my own free will, so I cannot be surprised at how easily everything I’d built has crumbled. I was building on sand. 

I do want to be “somebody” for Ted. I want him to look back at his childhood and be able to say that his mom was something more than a haggard presence forever doing dishes and folding laundry. And I want him, one day, to look back at his own life and be happy. To know he made his own bed, and that lying in it feels great. I don’t want him to waste time the way I do, researching recipes, reading human-interest stories linked from facebook, standing in front of a messy room wondering how to tackle it, but never actually getting done. Yes, I know I’m supposed to lead by example. But all I’ve got is excuses.

If I clean when he’s awake, he makes sure to make enough mess for two hours of cleaning for every 30 minutes I don’t pay attention to him. (Today, while I was sorting out out-of-date foodstuffs in the pantry, he took the old flour I dumped in the trash and went “swimming” in it. And when I left the freezer drawers to soak in the tub, he climbed in as well, fully clothed, and screamed bloody murder when I tried to order him out to peel off the ensuing cake batter.) Then, if I clean when he sleeps, I resent not having any time left for “me.”

He’s a great kid and, from what I hear, an easy one. Yet somehow I don’t have time for anything. I got an uke for my birthday and have practiced twice in the nearly three months I’ve now had it. I haven’t even looked at my book in half a year. I’d like to take better photos, but I haven’t had any time to practice in forever, and this year have somehow managed to take worse photos than the last. I don’t know how others do it, but I’m led to believe it’s possible. There are people learning to take amazing photos of their kids as they witness them grow. There are people writing books, cooking deliciously photogenic meals, turning out a craft project after an ingenious craft project week after week, all while being fantastic parents. So it must be possible. Somehow.

And that momentous decision that triggered this existential angst? Ted’s continuing enrolment in the co-op preschool. In the end, on the first day, I did pull him out.

He’s not even three yet. There will be plenty of time for him to get schooled. For now, we’ll hang out. Preferably on beaches.

Filed under manic Monday decisions decisions

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Literally nuts

I’m showing Ted the world. Or whatever happens to happen as we’re walking to the store/doctor/playgroup. Today, it’s chestnuts. I tripped on one as I ran to my appointment, so I picked it up and gave it to the kiddo.

me: “Look, sweetie, a chestnut!”

Ted (quizzically turning it in his hand): “What is it?”

me (over-enunciating) : “Chest-nut! Isn’t it smooth and shiny?”

Ted (tries to put it in his mouth)

me: “No, no! Not an edible nut. This kind of chestnut is poisonous. I thought you might like to see it and hold it, but keep it out of your mouth.”

After a short while:

Ted: “Another?”

me: “Another? Another chestnut? What happened to the one mommy gave you?!”

Ted: (hikes up his shirt and points)

Oh yes, I should have guessed. Chest-nut. And I thought I was overly literal.

Filed under toddler logic language development

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Bedtime, or else

It was past Ted’s bedtime and a while after we thought he fell asleep. Suddenly, we heard him crying and calling for mommy. Drats. DH paused the show and I walked over to Ted’s gate.

me: “What is it, honey?”

Ted: “I wanna go for a driiiiive!”

me: “It’s too late, sweetie. We can go tomorrow.”

Ted: “No! Nowwww! Right nowwww”

me: “Bed, Edward.”

Ted: “Nooooo! I wanna go for a driiiive!”

me: “Bed.”

Ted: “Nooooo! Driiiiiive!”

me: “We can go tomorrow, but now it’s time to sleep.”

Ted: ”Nooooo! Driiiiiive! Right nowwww!”

me: “Ted, mommy had wine. It’s not legal to drive after you had wine. The police would get really angry with mommy if she drove now.”

Ted: “No?”

me: “Tomorrow, when mommy’s okay to drive again.”

Ted: “Okay.”

DH was a little cross with me over this one. Yes, it was technically correct and a valid excuse, but the story should have been that it’s bedtime. No driving at bedtime. Not just because mommy got drunk on cooking wine.

Filed under PUI (parenting under influence) conversations with toddlers bedtime: it's not happening

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It’s a Phasey Wazey

Ted has taken to rhyming everything with made-up nonsense words. It started gently enough that I didn’t worry, and I soon stopped noticing until, a few days ago, DH asked me to try and curb the trend before it gets out of hand. It must have been somewhere around the time Ted described something as “bangy wangy.” As in:

Ted: “Mommy?… What is that?”

me: “Outside? That’s a tree. And sky. And a plane.”

Ted: “And?…”

me: “Birds?”

Ted: “No! Bangy wangy!”

me: “What’s bangy wangy?”

Ted: “Those glasses.”

me: “The glasses on the shelf? They’re bangy wangy? Delicate?”

Ted (laughing): “Bangy wangy!”

Something has to be done, but apart from waiting it out and pretending I don’t find those just a little bit funny, I’ve got no ideas.

Filed under language development toddler humor

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Made it to the beach! The sun hat was another madcap project I decided to finish on the night of the flight. Ted wanted to wear it for shade while enjoying his snack. Which came in a bag. Which now is a blanket. Taa-daa!

Made it to the beach! The sun hat was another madcap project I decided to finish on the night of the flight. Ted wanted to wear it for shade while enjoying his snack. Which came in a bag. Which now is a blanket. Taa-daa!

Filed under projects San Diego

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Last-minute, All-in-one Travel Tote, Beach Bag, Play Mat and Blanket

I was going to post something yesterday, but I got distracted. We were supposed to fly to San Diego the next morning, and I got up resolving to pack immediately and for once go to bed before 2am the night before a flight.

For some reason, a random thrift store baby quilt was one of the first things I picked up, and as I sat there folding it, it occurred to me that, folded twice, it was the perfect size!!! for an airplane activity/beach bag. Which I didn’t own since my last one got trashed last year in San Diego. I had to make it. Right. Now.

The fabric store was about to open, so I threw Ted in the car, ostensibly to try out his new booster seat, and raced out, with only the vaguest idea of how I was going to accomplish the feat. 

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Back home with supplies. Two separating zippers, six D-rings, a few feet of heavy webbing, some cross stitch thread. Now waiting for bedtime so I can get down to it in earnest.

imageHand-stitching the zipper to the sides and across the middle of the quilt’s back.

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Zippers trimmed to size, now time to block the ends.

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Both sides ready!

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Stitching D-rings in place for the straps.

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Straps fed through the rings.

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Two more rings (salvaged from an old handbag) sewn at one end of the webbing, so the straps can be adjusted for carrying in hand or over the shoulder, or taken off completely so the quilt can be a quilt. (Hence the attempt at keeping modifications to a minimum.)

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Didn’t even occurred to me, but that makes three big pockets! Hurray for happy accidents.

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No time to make my own pouch, so I grabbed one at a local toy store, put grommets in the corners, attached some bookbinder rings and snapped them onto strap D-rings with a couple of animal flashlight keyrings. (Of course it could have been done better, but I was just using whatever I had to hand.)

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Let the stuffing begin!

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The stripes! The stripes! My eyes hurt! (Here’s to getting dressed sleep deprived and in the dark.)

We’ve made it to San Diego without incident, the bag withstood the rigours of travel quite well (need to find a way to unobtrusively anchor the straps at the bottom), and, fashion failures notwithstanding, I’m going to pronounce this project a crafting success.

The bag pictured above contains:

  • laptop and charger
  • noise-canceling headphones in a case
  • travel potty with 12 liners
  • 4 pull-ups
  • box of wet wipes
  • 4 DVDs
  • 6 books
  • sketchbook
  • box of triangular crayons
  • magnetic drawing board
  • I-Spy card game
  • kaleidoscope
  • light-up plane fan
  • small teddy bear
  • pig and cow keychain flashlights
  • documents case/wallet
  • matchbox helicopter
  • toy car and truck
  • 3 BRIO trains
  • large peanut butter jelly sandwich
  • snack bag of baby carrots
  • banana
  • big bag of Bitty Bites
  • 2 fruit and veggie puree pouches
  • a few lollipops (for sucking on take-off and descent)
  • 2 granola bars
  • 3 fruit leather strips
  • 2 wholegrain breadsticks

And it still fit under the seat in front, economy class! (Mostly because Ted ate most of the snacks.)

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All settled in our hotel room. The straps sticking out on both sides were annoying him, so I pulled them out. For now. Off to the beach tomorrow, so I’ll need a bag!

Filed under air travel with toddlers crafting last-minute projects