IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM RELUCTANT MOTHER

Dear Dedicated Readers,

This is the last post I’ll write at The Diary of a Reluctant Mother.

Blogging is causing me martial strife, low self-esteem, and perhaps contributing to the negligence of a minor.

It’s been a good ride.  But I’m signing off.  I’ll just have to bitch about my life to my Husband from now on.  Lucky bastard.

Love you all so so much!  Reluctant Mother

Freak out 1

Freak out 2

BAH-HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

I’m just joking.  I already had ALL those problems before I started writing this blog.  I’m not going to stop blogging.

However, this IS the last post I’m writing at thediaryofareluctantmother dot com

Monday, 4/1/2012 ahem April Fool’s Day, is the official launch of my new and improved, bigger and better blog!

You’re dying to see it already aren’t you?  

It’s a whole new concept.  A brand spanking new design.  It’s designed to offer up even more of my delusion and misguidance. . .not just parenting humor and stories.

Where can I find this blog, WHERE?!  You are surely by now pleading desperately. . .

HERE:  www.denimiller.com 

Please bookmark it, Like it, Pin it, Tweet it, tattoo it on your first born’s forearm. . .the NEW URL is www.denimiller.com

THAT’S WWW (dot) DENIMILLER (dot) COM

CAN YOU TELL I’M EXCITED?!  THAT’S PROBABLY WHY IT LOOKS AS IF I’M SHOUTING!  I SELDOM EVER EXPERIENCE NOVELTY AND EXCITEMENT THESE DAYS!  

Whew.  Sorry.  I think I blacked out there for a few seconds.

I’ll post some new content there in the next few days so please, pretty please check it out?

What are we waiting for?  Let’s GO!  DEN STATE!!!

“Educational” Toys That FLIP Reluctant Mother OUT!

I’ve mentioned before we don’t go all hog-wild with Mac’s toy collection.  For one thing, he’s over the stuff before it practically leaves the packaging.  For another, we don’t have room in this house for too much ginormous plastic stuff.

We try to keep a well-edited selection favoring items with an educational or imaginative aspect to them – books, art supplies, blocks, instruments, and the like.

I realize when he gets a little older, we’ll probably have to switch up our tactics but so far, this has worked for us.

EXCEPT. . .

EXHIBIT A:  The Melissa and Doug shape sorter.  We’ve been using this little gem since Mac was old enough to grasp objects.  I’ve used it in a variety of ways to teach colors, to teach shapes, to teach counting. . .It’s never let me down.  Until now. . .

Now Mac is at a stage where he is able to understand the toy’s primary purpose – getting the blocks in their appropriately shaped holes.  He’s doing pretty well.  But some of them are a little tricky (vexing parallelogram!).

So when we are playing with the shape sorter, I go out of my way to explain the thought process behind getting the blocks in the correct hole.  “Look, this one has five sides.  It’s a PENTAGON!  Pentagons have five sides.  Let’s look for a hole that has five sides.  That’s where this block will fit.”

But then I’m faced with this shit:

Block Head Rectangles

Yes.  One of these is supposed to fit in the “square hole” and the other in the “rectangle.”

When viewed from one vantage point, the difference is subtle but discernible.  However, if viewed from other vantage points, both of these stupid blocks are indeed RECTANGLES.  Furthermore, they are the same damned color making it even more perplexing for little folks.

square block

For all the wood products Melissa and Doug offers, you mean to tell me a FUCKING cube is out of the question?  You couldn’t provide a block that was SQUARE ON ALL SIDES?!

Do you think my kid has the attention span necessary for me to explain this kind of crap?  Do you think I have the patience?

I’d leave the explanation up to his Father; however, that man has yet to successfully get the parallelogram block in the hole on the first try so clearly he has zero credibility.

EXHIBIT B:  Splashing Shapes Book

Stupid Book

This is just a simple little book Mac’s Mimi gave him the last time we visited.  How timely! We are currently LOVING us some shapes!  This book is called “Splashing Shapes” and touts itself as a “TEACHING TAB BOOK.”  Let’s have a look at the first page shall we?

Octopus

WHAT THE HELL?!

After I spent all that time with Mac using the shape sorter explaining “Octo” meant EIGHT, I asked him to count the tentacles on the octopus.  

How clever, Deni, another way to reinforce the concept of ‘octo’ plus he can practice counting and saying octopus!  SCORE.

“One, two, three. . .” He started in his sweet little voice.

“Yes, yes, that’s right,” I encouraged him.

“Four, five, six.”  Then he stopped.

Huh?

I started counting myself.  Sure enough this stupid octopus only has SIX tentacles!

WHAT?!  I furiously counted three more times.  I couldn’t locate any extra tentacles.  Son of a gun!

Why would these bastards make an octopus with only six tentacles and then suggest that children count them?  What a crock!

Don’t you dare give me some argument about aesthetics or artistic license.  You see the quality of the illustrations in this book.  They are cute.   They are not exactly fine art.

I stammer at Mac come convoluted explanation about how “octo” really means eight and octopus indeed have eight tentacles but when you draw things you can make them look however you like and that’s why drawing is fun. . .

And then he looked at me through squinty eyes. . .He clearly realized I was a woman on the edge of crazy. . .Then he forcefully turned the page.

I can’t imagine why he thinks I’m freaking crazy.

Toddler Demands: What Gives?

Yesterday, like nearly every other morning, I brought Mac downstairs after he awoke.  Here’s what happened in the next 1 minute and 45 seconds:

The minute his little feet hit the floor, he raced to his Legos.  “Lego, Ego, Ego” he demanded forcefully while pulling the bin from the shelf.

I sat down on the floor and opened the tub of Legos for him.

“Fresh!” he said.

“Ok.  Let’s get that wet diaper off of you,” I say motioning towards him tugging on his pants.

“No!  Pants!  Pants!” he whined.

“Sure.  You can just wear your pants for a little while without the diaper.”

I pull up his pants and he shoves three Legos at me, “HELP!”

“Do you want the blue on top of the green?” I ask.

“CRACK!  CRACK!” he orders.

I put the Legos down and drag myself off the floor and head to the kitchen for crackers.

He follows hot on my heels “Help!  Help!” he exclaims, jamming the Legos into my thigh as I’m putting a couple of crackers in a bowl.

“Ok.  Mommy can help,” I sigh, sidestepping him, putting the bowl of crackers on his little table and clicking the Legos together quickly.

“GURT!! GRUT! GRRRRRRUUUUUUTTTTT!”  He wails while pulling on the freezer drawer (because for some sick and inexplicable reason he will only eat yogurt while standing in front of the open freezer).

I feel my eye start to twitch.

When I was working outside of the home, I used to dread getting to work early.  I’m not a morning person and EVERY TIME I’d walk in the front door early, there were two obnoxious Financial Advisors lying in wait.  They wouldn’t even say “Good Morning” before they started ranting and raving and whining about whatever their seemingly urgent issue was that day.  It was positively infuriating.

And NOW?  Now, my nearly two-year old is making them look like complete amateurs.

Is this normal?  Where did he learn to fire of 25 demands in 20 seconds?  I do not speak this way to other people.  (Well, not out loud at least).  Where did he learn this?!

I did a little reading.  Apparently, this sort of behavior is completely normal.  This is what kids his age do.

Oh well, at least he’s on track developmentally. . .Would someone please pass the prescription drugs and booze to Mommy?  NOW!!!!!

The Thorny Devil

Yesterday, I wasn’t feeling great.  In fact, I hadn’t been feeling great since Monday.  I had been managing to plow through, but yesterday, I asked my Husband to get home from work early since I just needed to SLEEP.  A lot.  And sleeping is rather difficult with a toddler.  

My Husband did come home.  He took excellent care of Mac.  He took care of dishes and toys and even went to the grocery.  

But when Moms “take a day off” – even with stellar help – stuff starts piling up.  And pile up it has:  laundry, cleaning, some of the groceries are still all over the kitchen counter. . .

I’m playing catch up this morning, at least.  But I didn’t want to leave you hanging so here’s something that makes me giggle that will hopefully make you smile too:

Mac gets Ranger Rick Jr. magazine.  It’s clearly not marketed to his 22-month old demographic, but my nephew was selling magazines and I felt like I had to purchase something.  So I Ranger Rick Jr. it was.

The magazine is full of vivid photos of interesting animals.  Often the photos include a brief blurb about what makes the animal unique.  Mac really loves looking at this pictures and we work on learning their names.  A few days after the magazine arrives, he’s typically able to accurately identify the animals.

(Which leads me to a suggestion for Ranger Rick:  KNOCK IT OFF WITH THE ZEBRAS ALREADY!  There are zebras in EVERY issue.  We get it, kids must like zebras. . .but I’m way over them.  How ’bout a manatee or a Capybara next month?  Switch it up a little?)

Anyway, this month’s magazine arrived about a week ago and contained a feature on “Weird Skin.”  It’s like the dermatological nightmare of the animal world.  There in graphic glory are caribou shedding disgusting antler “skin,” and magnificent frigatebirds with their lusty red throat pouches all puffed off (although the caption indicates they are just “showing off”).  There’s an admittedly adorable armadillo.  And a couple of freakish frogs. . .

And THIS:

AHHHHHH!!!!!

AHHHHHH!!!!!

This is apparently a THORNY DEVIL.

Except my son doesn’t really have the hang of properly enunciating the “T” sound yet. . .

So thanks to Ranger Rick, he’s running around screaming “HORNY DEVIL.”

I try so hard. . .why do I try so hard?!  

Mac Met His First Psychopath!

Ball 1Last week, we made a few trips to the playground.  Of course, my favorite time to visit the playground is when it’s only being used by a few children – easier to keep an eye on everything that way. . .stroller, kid, etc.

So when the wind was whipping viciously but the sun felt warm-ish last Thursday morning, I had high hopes we would have the playground nearly all to ourselves.

Conditions looked optimal as we approached.  There were three other women there with a total of 4 children – all of whom appeared just slightly older than Mac – (ages 3 & 4 most likely).

As we approached, I also noticed that two of the women were very young, well dressed, impeccably groomed, and very disinterested.  I can spot them from a mile away:  Nannies!!!  

Both were sporting just the perfect-amount-of-puffy down jackets, skinny jeans, and riding style boots.  They had large Tory Burch totes slung over their shoulders and stared intently at their iPhones while they quietly gossiped to one another in what I believe was Ukrainian.

They were standing close to my typical “stroller parking” location.  (Chosen for my ability to see it from both sets of playground equipment in case it comes under siege from squirrels or other unscrupulous kinds).

I glanced down sheepishly at my fat thighs looking even less svelte in a pair of faded yoga pants layered over a pair of leggings for warmth.  Why didn’t I at least put some tinted moisturizer on?  

Nothing I could do about it now. . .

So I wheeled the stroller into my preferred location, engaged the brake and smiled my warmest smile at the Nanny with blonde locks worthy of a hair care product campaign.  She gave me a fleeting but dismissive glance, never once pausing her discussion with the other Nanny.

No worries.  She’s probably a miserable whore.  Ok.  She’s probably not.  She’s probably a very happy whore.  Stop judging her! This is why women get a bad rep!  Ok, she’s a BEAUTIFUL whore. . .Ahem. . .

I proceeded to crouch down to get Mac out of the stroller hoping the seams in my yoga pants held firm.  I placed him beside the stroller ready to follow him wherever he wanted to wander.

We didn’t get far.  In fact Mac hadn’t even taken a step.  He had turned his head slightly to the left to survey the Nannies and the wagon they were standing beside.  It was a matter of seconds. . .and when we turned our heads forward again there was a little boy standing about two feet away, directly in front of us.

He was wearing one of those huge knit hats that looked like a panda bear head.  He was clearly older than Mac but not much bigger.  I smiled at him, assuming he was coming over to check out a potential playmate. . .

We made eye contact, I smiled at him, and he said “No.”

What?

Two more times he declared “No!”

I crouched down beside Mac putting my arm around him.  Looking at the Nannies to see if one of them might intervene.  I don’t necessarily have a problem suggesting to children they should be behaving better, but my preference is to give their parent or caregiver the first opportunity to do so.  

When I crouched down, the little psychopath took three steps towards Mac – who was just standing beside me clearly confused as hell – “No!  No!  No!”

Ummmmmm. . .I’m glaring at the Nanny now, drawing Mac closer to my body.  I can see crazy in the kid’s eyes!  CRAZY!!!!

The kid is now inches from Mac’s face.  Panda hat flopping about as he viciously screams “No!  No!  No!  No!”  

Come on Deni, do something!  You’re an adult.  The Nanny doesn’t care.  We’re not going to take this crap from Psychopath Panda Head!  What to do?  I’m not prepared to handle this caliber of crazy from a three year old!  

Then, Mac predictably, burst into scared and confused tears.

This finally caught the Nanny’s attention and she ushered Psychopath Panda Head away from us.  No apology.  No curiosity as to what happened.  Nothing.

I scooped Mac up and explained to him he hadn’t done anything wrong and that the little boy was probably just having a grumpy day.

But I knew otherwise. . .I saw that kid’s eyes. . .Psychopath.

Mac settled down and we played on the distant playground equipment avoiding Psychopath Panda Head.   Every once in a while, if I turned my head quickly, I caught him lurking around a corner watching us. . .Creepy.

At lunch I explained to Mac that he should be very proud of himself for not acting out in anger at Psychopath Panda Head.  Sometimes people are just having a bad day and they make poor decisions about their behavior and often it’s better to walk away from the situation rather than further provoke them.

But the truth is, I was really happy Mac didn’t haul off and hit or bite Psychopath Panda Head because he’s not the kind of crazy you want to mess with EVER.

Ball 2

Will The REAL Wubby Please Stand Up?

Will the REAL Wubby Please Stand Up?!

Will the REAL Wubby Please Stand Up?!

Yet again I did something I THOUGHT was kinda’ clever at the time I was doing it. 

That should probably be written on my tombstone as certainly this sort of thinking will be the death of me.

Anyway, when we were expecting Mac, I picked up several big packs of those Microfiber car detailing cloths in the automotive section of Target or Walmart.  The towels were super soft, absorbent, a good size and they were really bright colors: green, orange, and yellow that complimented some of the accents in his nursery.

These cloths seemed better and better looking than those traditional cloth diapers lots of folks use as burp cloths.  So I ended my search for elaborate burp clothes, and snagged about 45 of the microfiber dust cloths.  (They were $9.99 for a pack of 15).

We set out to using them right away after Mac arrived and they worked really well.  I felt very proud of myself.

When Mac started teething, I noticed he was wedging a corner of the cloth in his mouth.  He was becoming a blanket sucker!  But the Pediatrician, who couldn’t help but notice he had one hanging out of his mouth at an appointment, said it was perfectly normal.

So we didn’t discourage it.

He was becoming attached to his Wubbys and I was okay with that.  I have no problem with children having a comfort item or toy.  And how smart was I to get him hooked on such a common item?  We had lots of back ups.  We could always get more.  It wasn’t as if there was just one special Wubby.  I had scads of them!

Except my supplies were dwindling. . .Apparently Wubbys are easily ejected from strollers and dropped in parking lots and forgotten in Church.  A few month’s back I realized we were reaching a critical level.

I was washing Wubbys EVERY. DAY.  It was becoming increasingly difficult to ration them. The kid asks for them by name now “Wubs.”  And if I don’t provide one, he helps himself to the stash we keep in a drawer in our living room.

“We need more Wubs.” I told my Husband on a trip to Target.

But when I arrived at the automotive section, I couldn’t find our Wubs.  They had similar products but nothing identical.  “Hmmm. . .Maybe I bought the original Wubs at Walmart?” I say as I grab a couple of packs of green microfiber glass cleaning cloths.  Sure, they didn’t feel quiet as plush as the original Wubs but they were the same size and color. . .

We quickly learned they did NOT pass muster with the Kid.  He wanted very little to do with these Wubs.  He’d tolerate being offered one in the stroller but if you offered him one before nap time, he’d help himself to an original one from the stash drawer.  If we were in the car and offered him an inferior Wubby, he’d refuse to fall asleep until an acceptable one was presented to him.

The Kid is still pooping his pants on a regular basis but his has the sensory ability to know one Wubby is more plush than the other?  Blows. My. Mind.

A few weeks passed, and I was spending a decent amount of time rationing out the “good” Wubbys.  Each day I’d make sure that I had a reserve of at least four in a top-secret, undisclosed location so we had enough for nap and bedtime.  I stopped folding laundry in front of the Kid because if he saw Wubs, he wanted Wubs. . .as many as he could get at once. . .placing each fresh one in his mouth once and then dropping it to the floor and forgetting about it seconds later.

Then last Sunday, Chris casually mentioned to Mac that Mommy didn’t give him a “real Wubby.”

“Are you out of your mind?”  I hissed at Chris through clenched teeth.  “Don’t tell him that!  All Wubbys are real Wubbys!  The last thing I need is for this Kid to be demanding real Wubbys all the ding dang day!”

“Ok,” Chris said evidentially realizing how nervous I was over our Wubs supply, “We’ll go birding behind the McComas Street Walmart and run in there and see if we can get some more Wubbys.”

After locating a nice raft of waterfowl (Including male Northern Shovelers in beautiful breeding plumage – which I had not previously seen in this location), we hit the Walmart.

We raced to the automotive section and that’s where I discovered the multi-packs of Wubbys I originally purchased had been altered!  They were different colors.  They had black thread surged around the edges and they were somehow smoother and more glossy than the ones we had.  Balls.

I touched them.  These weren’t going to work.

I shifted my weight from one foot to the other debating my next move while Chris thwarted Mac’s attempts to take out a display of automotive headlights.

Then, lower on the shelf to my left, I spotted something yellow!  Yellow Wubbys!!  The ORIGINAL!  These were of course being sold in packs of two at a slightly higher price than the “bulk” ones but I was definitely wiling to pay.

I grabbed 3 packs and we were out of there before Mac could further terrorize the merchandise.

I had forgotten how soft and lovely the original Wubbys were.  So fluffy!  Mac was going to be thrilled when he saw them!  Brand New Wubbys!!!!

I washed everything and later that evening I proudly presented Mac with two still warm from the dryer, fluffy brand new Wubs.

He took them from me, touched them for barely a split second and threw them on the floor.  Donkey balls.

It’s been a few days and Mac is still rejecting all but the original Wubbys – which apparently have been laundered enough times to make them just right.

And while I’m washing the new Wubs EVERY DAY in an effort to get their texture “just right,” I remind myself to not bother feeling “clever” about anything I do. . .ever again.

This is the REAL DEAL right here!

This is the REAL DEAL right here!