Friday, December 18, 2009

New Best Friend

I have a new best friend...and I don't even know her name.

Tricky, eh?

So, I'm in my 33rd week of pregnancy. It's the holiday season. My girls just keep getting bigger and smarter and harder to physically handle. And I'm tired. Not just a little tired. But bone-numbingly tired. Especially at the end of the day, which coincidentally, is when the girls have their dance classes.

Tuesdays is my youngest daughter's day for dance class. Her class starts at 5 pm, which is when my energy is pretty much all spent for the day.

This past Tuesday was gift exchange day, so I had quite an armload of stuff with me when we arrived at the dance studio. I got my daughter into her class and my oldest and I sat down on the bench outside the studio. One of the other mothers looked over at me and asked how long I had left. I told her I was due Feb. 1 and she said something that made me truly happy:

"Oh, you're really getting to the hard part now, aren't you?"

Why, you ask, would such a statement make me happy? Well, I'll tell you...BECAUSE IT'S TRUE! And someone, other than myself, readily acknowledged the fact that the end of pregnancy can be really hard, physically if nothing else. Particularly when one already has children on the outside.

This will shock you, dear reader, I'm sure, but I am not one of those gushy pregnant women. Being pregnant does not give me a glow of happiness. I do not feel incredibly bonded to the tiny creature inhabiting my womb. I do not feel the best I've ever felt. In all honesty, I feel as big as a house, my bones ache, I'm tired, I have zero patience and I'm just ready to be done. And people do not want to hear this kind of honesty from a pregnant woman. People want to hear gushy stories about how much I love my unborn child...how wondrous it is to grow a child...and all that kind of crap.

And so, this unnamed woman, who commiserated with me about being in the final stages of pregnancy, who told me she has 4 kids and none of them resulted from a love of pregnancy, is my new favorite person. Just that little bit of understanding from a virtual stranger made my day...and made me want to buy her presents.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Unsolicited Advice

So, this morning I took my kids to school. It's a new class for them, one they get to attend together. The class was pretty full and most of the kids/parents were people we hadn't encountered in past classes.

Well, about 10 minutes into class, one of the parents (actually one of the kid's grandmothers) decided to jump right in and offer me some unsolicited advice...about my kid's hair, of all things. My youngest has super fine hair and most mornings she wakes up looking like Albert Einstein stuck his finger in a light socket. Some days it's a little more tame than others, but by and large, the back of her head looks like a Brillo pad. And I'm perfectly fine with it. In fact, I think it's pretty cute. Besides, she's 2. Who really cares what the back of her head looks like? Honestly, I don't even care what the back of my own head looks like all that much.

So, this grandmother starts telling me that I should have Anni sleep on a silk pillowcase (this is the same child who stripped herself naked the other night and proceeded to go potty all over her pillow) and I could easily construct one out of an old slip (of which I happen to have a drawer full...or no, wait, that was my mom, when I was little. I've never owned a slip in my life!). She also instructed me to put a bit of conditioner in Anni's hair and then not rinse it out and that would really help with the "problem".

Now, I've never been a person to readily receive advice and I am pregnant and hormonal, but honestly, unsolicited advice drives me absolutely batty! If I ask for advice, by all means, dish it out! I'm willing to listen and retain. But if I didn't ask, why would you even bring it up? Why do you care what the back of my kid's head looks like?

I realize most unsolicited advice comes from a good place. People like to be helpful and they feel good helping other people. But for some reason, once kids enter the picture, it's like open season on the advice front and of all the seasons, Christmas is really my favorite. I try really hard not to offer advice, unless someone asks for something specific, and I'd enjoy having the same courtesy extended to me. I don't think that's too much to ask, do you?

How about you, readers? Gotten any "good" advice lately? Perhaps you had your kids 20 years ago and you still recall some advice shot your way?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hunting Widow

It's been a while, dear readers. I apologize. But I also have a 3-year old, a 2-year old and another one on the way, so I can only keep up with so much at this point. I'm sure you understand.

It's that time of year again...hunting season. This year, hunting season is a tough one for me. I know my husband LOVES to hunt and basically lives for this time of year. I know he works his tail off for us and has a really tough job and certainly deserves to have a break. But when the weekends roll around, I'm in desperate need of a buffer these days, and hunting season simply does not comply with my needs. The hubby and I have worked out a pretty good system so far, but it's still tough on the weekends he's not around, because all the days essentially run into each other and then it's the start of a new week already.

It gets tiring, frustrating, boring, irritating...but then the hubby rolls in on Sunday evening with a truck full of monster-sized pumpkins for the girls and plans for the following weekend that involve my mother-in-law agreeing to watch the girls while I stay home and do whatever I want. Makes the crazy weekend a little more bearable in hindsight. And makes me think the hubby just might be able to read minds after all.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Appearances are not so Deceiving

I learned something new about my kids last night...they apparently make no judgments based on appearances. I'm fascinated by this realization.

Last night, we met up with a friend of mine and her two kids. My friend is due with her third baby in mid-October and is very visibly pregnant. As we were leaving, my eldest wanted to give my friend's eldest a hug, but the other little girl wasn't interested, so to appease my daughter, I told her she could give my friend and her baby a hug. My daughter looked at me like, "What are you talking about you crazy woman. There's no baby here." When she asked about the baby, I told her my friend had a baby in her tummy, just like mommy does. I'm starting to show, and the girls like to kiss the baby through my tummy, but I'm not showing quite as much as my friend. But apparently it hadn't even occurred to either of my children that my friend's stomach was anything other than her stomach. And they were fine with that.

We have another family that we play with on occasion. We met through ECFE classes this past fall. There are twin boys and a younger girl. The boys just turned 4 and the little girl is about 18 months. One of the boys has Downs Syndrome and although he doesn't look the "same" as the other kids in class or like my girls, the girls have never once mentioned anything about this little boy looking or being "different".

I know at some point the girls will start to recognize that not all people are the same. But I'm going to hold out hope that when they do start to realize this, and they might even realize it at some level right now, they'll simply take it for what it is and not use peoples' differences against them. I suppose this is a parenting issue as much as anything, so I'm going to have to keep my game face on, but I think we're off to a pretty good start.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Towing the Line

So, we're in the midst of potty training. I can't even say we're in the middle of potty training because honestly, the end is nowhere in sight as far as I can tell. And I'm pretty sure the whole process is going to break me as nothing has broken me before.

The eldest just turned 3. I tried to potty train several months ago and it just didn't take. I've heard countless other parents say the kid will just tell you when s/he's ready to train, so I thought I'd give it a go. Well, I simply don't have the patience to wait for my uber stubborn child to tell me she's ready to potty train, so once school was out for the year, I decided to give it another go. And we're still in the process.

I've tried positive reinforcement. I've tried negative reinforcement. I've put her on the potty every hour. I've told her it's her "job" to tell me when she has to go potty. I've tried charts and bribery and secret treats and...and...and. Just this evening we were supposed to go over to a friend's house to play. Well, Little Miss decided to go potty in her pull up, as she was sitting next to me, so I decided to tow the line and be a hard ass. No play date. That's it.

Yeah, guess who's regretting towing the line right now?

Friday, July 17, 2009

A LONG Year

As you know, the girls are very close in age. Exactly 13 months to the day. There are days this is a good thing and there are days I wish they were further apart in age.

My oldest just turned 3 this past week. Now, you've all heard tales of the Terrible Twos. Abby didn't really have those. But about 3 weeks ago, she really started to turn that around...apparently rather than the Terrible 2s, she's gonna go for the gusto and give me a run for my money with the 3s. And what should I expect with this lovely age? Apparently, I can expect a lot of grunting and pointing (from a child who can easily speak in complete sentences), a level of stubbornness I didn't know a 3-year old could pull off (I blame her father), tears at the drop of a hat (because I asked her to take her shorts off or something else along those horrible lines) and the screaming temper tantrums that will most likely peel the paint off my circa 1880s walls. Should be a fun year.

My youngest (for the moment) turns 2 in a few mores weeks. And I have the sneaking suspicion that she will be the one who treats me to the mythical Terrible 2s. I sense that she will feed off her sister's current behavior anomalies and hit me with her version. Lately, she thinks it's super funny to bite! Good times. The really terrible thing is, it is sort of funny. And, of course, it's the kiss of death when you laugh when the child does something that's very wrong but very funny at the same time. Because this kid knows funny and once she has an audience, boy, does she run with it. Trouble, I tell you!

So, it could be a long year. I know everyone gets them. People tell me that years 4-7 are pretty good, as far as the kids are concerned. I'm looking forward to those years. But I'm also sort of looking forward to these years. As rotten as the girls can be on a daily basis, and as obscenely tired as I can be at the end of the day, I find all their quirks absolutely fascinating. These are the things that will turn them into who they're going to be in the long run. I think it's a pretty safe bet that the little one won't be biting people when she's 18 and the older one most likely won't be screaming unless there's a very good reason. If my eardrums and sanity can take it, and given the fact that I've been pregnant and given birth twice there's a pretty good chance of that happening, I think the road ahead, though bound to be wicked bumpy at times, should be a pretty good one.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Favorite Holidays

My husband and I went out to dinner the other night. Not something we get a chance to do overly often, and something pretty rarely done sans kiddos. At dinner, I asked him what he wanted to do for Father's Day. After a brief chat, it turns out he essentially wanted to do exactly what I had wanted to do for Mother's Day...NOTHING!

And by "nothing", here's the way a perfect Mother's/Father's Day breaks down in the Schmidt household:

1. In-charge parent (me on Father's Day, him on Mother's) gets children up, dressed and ready for the day. Said parent then removes children from house for several hours so designated parent may have a quiet start to his/her day and take the every important nap. If you're the father in this scenario, somehow you manage to get in 2 naps before the family returns to the house!

2. After several hours have passed, in-charge parent returns to house with children, designated parent's favorite cup of coffee, treats of some sort and the ever important presents. Children, of course, have helped select said presents and get very excited giving presents to designated parent. Children's delight makes designated parent a little weepy (especially the mother parent) and gives the in-charge parent warm fuzzies.

3. After presents are received, designated parent most likely rises from bed and then gets to take a shower...in peace. In-charge parent occupies children so designated parent can shower for as long as desired.

4. After a leisurely morning, the whole clan most likely travels to see one or several grandparents, depending on how many were visited earlier in the weekend. On the visits, in-charge parent takes control of all children's wants/needs/squawks, while designated parent gets to visit, explain his/her blissful morning, etc.

5. After visiting for the day is complete, family returns home, children take naps, designated parent takes another nap.

6. As children awaken, in-charge parent takes children, removes them from earshot until designated parent is ready to join in the fun.

7. After dinner prepared by the in-charge parent, in-charge parent then bathes children and gets them ready for bed, while designated parent reads or watches tv or does whatever s/he chooses to do.

8. In-charge parent promptly falls asleep on the couch approximately 7 minutes after putting children in their beds.

9. At bedtime, designated parent falls comfortably to sleep, thinking lovely thoughts about the day, the children and the spouse. Looks forward to next year.

Who would have ever thought that Mother's/Father's Day would trump birthdays or Christmas?!

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Perfect 10

So, moms tend to complain, gripe, bellyache...what have you. I know I tend to do it. I know other moms who do it. In spite of it all, however, we all know our kids are pretty stinkin' cute. In homage to my utterly, ridiculously, fantastically cute almost 2-year old, I offer you the following video clip:





video

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Craptastic

Scene One: Approximately 3:00 a.m. Bedroom. Mother sound asleep. 2-year old wide awake. 2-year old crawls into bed with mother, crawling over the top of the sleeping mother, sticking sharp elbows in places not meant to be stuck.

Toddler (tearily): Mommy, I got a runny nose!
Mother (wiping nose with tissue): All better?
Toddler: Yes.
Mother: Ok. Time for sleeping now. Close your eyes and go to sleep.
Toddler: Ok. (pause) You got long eyelashes Mama!
Mother: Mm-hm. Sleeping.
Toddler: Ok. I got the daddy pillow?
Mother: Mm-hm. Sleeping!

The toddler continues to pester the mother with questions for another 1 1/2 hours. In the meantime, toddler strips down to diaper, repeatedly clocks mother in head, chats incessantly. Finally around 4:15, toddler falls asleep.

Cue toddler #2. Starts coughing in her sleep. Continues to do so until she awakens for good at 7:30. Mother re-awakens with each couching jag.

Scene Two: Approximately 8:30 a.m. Toddlers attempting to eat breakfast (read toast and juice slowly munched and sipped while wandering around the house). Neighbor girl comes to house. Mother has yet to imbibe first inhalation of caffeine. Toddlers insist on playing outside. Mother caves in. Neighbor girl is now on porch, encouraging toddlers to come play. Mother dresses children, brushes hair and teeth, applies sunscreen, shoos cranky dog indoors so neighbor girl will not get eaten. All children play outside. Toddler #1 takes first trip down the slide, lands on bottom and bursts into tears. Mother finally quiets child. Toddler #1 proceeds to step off deck, slips a bit and again, bursts into tears. Neighbor girl decides its time to skip town. Mother thinking inappropriate thoughts about neighbor girl. Mother takes toddlers into house, attempts to appease them with My Little Pony video - the LIVE version. Toddlers proceed to burst into intermittent tears at least 3 more times in the following 20 minutes. Mother decides it's an early nap day.

Scene Three: Mother drugs children and puts them to bed. Fills cribs with a multitude of books and tissues. Children settle into beds comfortably. Mother breathes a sigh of relief, thinking she's in the clear. Mother is sorely mistaken. Mother proceeds to make approximately 80 billion trips upstairs to wipe noses, resettle children, change diapers, threaten children. Mother finally gives in and lets children out of cribs.

Scene Four: Mother calls friend to see what time is an ok time to start drinking. It's 5:00 p.m. somewhere right?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Frickin' Frackin' Pants

It was a cooler morning the other day, so I decided to wear some jeans when I took the girls to school. Unfortunately, the jeans were not compliant with my wish.

Here's a little mental picture for you:

I pull the jeans out of the drawer. Look them over. Think, "They're not the most comfortable, but the comfy ones are in the wash, so they'll have to do." Stick legs in jeans. Hike jeans over hips. Button jeans, after inhaling deeply. Attempt to zip jeans. Again, attempt to zip jeans. Think, "I just need a better grip on the zipper. These things are so small." Suck in air like it's my last breath, grip zipper for all it's worth and yank. No dice. Look at zipper marks (read grievous indentations, bordering on bloody) on fingers. Shake head. Lie on bed, flat as possible, again attempt to zip jeans. Still no dice. Stand up, take of jeans, think, "I bet the zipper's broken." Zip jeans easily. Groan loudly. Start looking for a different pair of pants, muttering obscenities.

Frickin' frackin' jeans.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Please Mommy?!

I strongly believe you need to have a good amount of humor when you're a mom. Or a dad. Or a caregiver. Between the massive amounts of poop, the projectile spit up, the picky eater, the non-sleeper, the screamer, the whiner, the hitter, the biter and all the other archetypes, if you can't laugh, chances are good you're going to lose it. Big time.

I'm big on manners. I expect my kids to have good manners, because let's face it, if your kids are rude, no one wants to be around them. And then how are you supposed to get a babysitter? So, I'm big on manners. And so far, I haven't heard anyone complain when I instruct my children to say "please" and "thank you". Go figure.

Being big on manners, I've been working on the "please" and "thank you" thing pretty much since the girls started making noise. I still have to remind them constantly, but lots of times they'll say the required words of their own accord. Still, having to remind them all the time to be polite gets a little old. So, I made up a way to make it just a little more amusing for yours truly.

When my oldest was a little younger, I started getting really sick of reminding her to say please. I'd try "What do you say?" and she'd just look at me. So I'd say, "Please Mommy?" and she would parrot me. Seeing that she just copied me, I'd say, "Please Mommy, my favorite Mommy?" And she would repeat, "Please Mommy, my favorite Mommy?" This made me smile, so I kept it up.

And now, when they really want something, they'll both say, independent of me, "PLEASE MOMMY MY FAVORITE MOMMY?!?!?" And there's a very good chance they'll get exactly what they want.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

You Know You're a Mom When...

I was reading a magazine the other day and there was a Mother's Day article in it. In the article, various women were talking about when it dawned on them that they were actually mothers. Some of them were silly little anecdotes, some were women fighting to get their adopted children home or to get their sick children medical attention.

Although I have two kids, and the oldest has been around for almost three years now, a lot of days I feel like I'm still playing dress up. In my heart I know I'm a mom and I certainly care for my children all day, every day. But I still don't always feel like a mom. And I'm not even entirely sure how a mom's supposed to feel.

When I was little, I looked at my mom and all the other moms and I knew they were moms. They took care of us, made lunches, took us to school, washed our clothes, put our band aids on, filled the swimming pools, gave us our baths, took us to the playground... You name it, the moms did it. And I never questioned who the moms were or what they did.

Now that I am a mom, I look at other moms and I see the moms I saw when I was little. And I'm doing the same things the other moms do, more or less. But I don't know that other women look at me and think, "Now, there's a mom."

I do, however, have the occasional "Mom moment". I had one just the other day at Target. I had just walked into the store with my little ones tagging along behind me. A young couple had walked in just before us and they had a teeny tiny baby in a car seat. They looked like they literally had come from the hospital - that's how small the baby was.

Well, this couple was struggling with how to place their car-seated infant into the cart. Having done this about a billion times in the past couple years, I instantly went into action. I walked right over to the new mom and dad, showed them how to set the seat on the cart push bar, and told them they could just put the car seat right into the cart itself if they preferred. They looked so relieved it made me smile.

As I walked away, I thought, "Hmm...that was definitely a Mom moment. Maybe I really am one after all?!"

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Two Types of People

According to Ms. Britney Spears (and I'm paraphrasing here):

There's only two types of people in this world,
The ones that entertain and the ones that observe.

Yeah, that's right, I'm quoting Britney Spears. Deal with it.

Anyways, I quote her as I look into two types of people in my world:

The ones who can fold fitted sheets and the ones who absolutely, positively cannot.

Betcha can't guess which one I am...

I know people who can fold fitted sheets. A girl I used to live with, in the pre-marriage/baby world, could fold fitted sheets like nobody's business. Not only could she fold the damn things, but somehow she knew this magical way to fold them, the other sheet and her pillow cases AND THEN managed to fit all of those articles into a single pillow case. It was an amazing feat. I watched her do it over and over. I was fascinated by this feat. I made several attempts of my own, but could never make it happen. I ended up just handing her my bedding and asking (ok, demanding) that she make the magic happen with my stuff too.

I was over at another girlfriend's house the other night, the same night as my attempted shopping nightmare. She, too, can fold a fitted sheet. Not only can she fold a fitted sheet, but she can do it while 4 kids run screaming around her playroom. Doesn't faze her a bit.

I honestly believe one's ability to fold a fitted sheet in a proper manner is akin to a real live miracle.

I cannot, for the life of me, fold a fitted sheet. I've made many valiant attempts over the years. I still make the ocassional attempt, like every 5 washings or so. I simply can't do it. I try to make the folds into a square, but the folds never stay where I want them. I try laying the sheet out on the floor. I try to line things up in straight lines. However hard I try, I simply end up rolling the sheet into a ball and shoving it into my cupboard. It's too frustrating for words.

But I wonder, what does it mean that I can't fold a fitted sheet? If it were 1950-ish, I'm sure I would be blackballed somehow. This would be my dirty little secret and heaven forbid the neighborhood gals find out about it. If it were the 60s, I could attribute my wrinkled sheets to all the "free love" going down in my boudoir. The 70s - I'd be busy making my way in the career world with no time for such trivialities as folding sheets.

But here it is, 2009 and I really have no reason other than utter lack of patience as my reason for being unable to fold a fitted sheet. I'm an intelligent person...I'm perfectly capable of following directions and paying attention to details. But the fitted sheet has beat me and beat me but good. I bow to its prowess and admit defeat.

Now, I wonder if Ms. Spears can fold a fitted sheet...

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's a Mad, Mad World

All of the sudden, it's summer in Minnesota. I think we had about 4 days of spring. Summers in Minnesota are hot. I don't deal well with hot. So, in an effort to save myself and my family from "the beast that is Maegan" when I become hot, I attempted to go shopping this morning, with the little ones in tow. I think you can guess where this is headed...

After getting the girls dressed, making sure diapers were dry, tummies were full and sunglasses were in the general vicinity of each toddler's face, we headed to the store. I had no intention of being there for long and I promised a stop to the playground after the shopping trip. I should have been golden, right?

I was so very, very wrong.

We were in the store for no longer than 20 minutes. I grabbed three sizes of two different styles of shorts. It literally took me seconds to try on each pair. And the children simply would not cooperate. They were crawling all over everything, refused to sit in the carts, chucked their shoes around and were general tiny little tornadoes. I asked nicely, I reminded about the playground, I threatened, I cajoled and finally, I left my cart where it stood, stuffed the little one's shoes in my bag, picked her up, took the other one (now crying and pleading) by the hand and got back in the car. At this point, I was both hot and pissed. Not a good combination.

On the way home, the little one was perfectly content. The older one and I cried most of the way home.

I've shopped with my kids before and it's never easy, but this was the first time it was what I considered ugly. This was the first time I was that woman...you know, the one with the screaming kids that have to be hauled out of the store...the one you look at with pity in your eyes but secret glee in your heart because you aren't her. Yep, I was that woman.

By the time we got home, all tears had ceased (although mine were still on the brink). The girls walked into the house and immediately started playing. I was still sorely irritated but also glaringly aware of the futility of these emotions. The girls are just kids...they aren't little adults. They don't understand what it means to be a raging lunatic of a mother with two kids who won't cooperate in a store any more than they understand how to do calculus. Hopefully they'll get there at some point and in the meantime, hopefully I'll get to the store so I can buy some damn shorts...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Things that make you go Hmmm...

I went to a lecture the other night, given by our local Early Childhood and Family Education chapter. The speaker was Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, author of several parenting books. At the lecture, Kurcinka spoke about power struggles and how to avoid them.

One absolutely fascinating thing I learned from this lecture was this:

When children have tantrums - the kind when they're all revved up, screaming, crying, turning blue, etc. - something physically happens to their inner ear and said children...wait for it...

LITERALLY CANNOT HEAR YOU!

Can you believe it?! I forget the actual physiology of the ear thing, but it's something to do with a muscle relaxing (or tightening) around the inner ear, and this makes the child incapable of hearing anything as the ear drum is blocked.

So, while we may think the child is ignoring us, or that talking louder (ok, yelling) will make the child pay attention to us, there's really nothing that can be done until the child calms down enough for the ear muscle to return to its normal state.

Just some food for thought the next time your little one decides to throw the big one...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sleeping with the Enemy

I like to sleep. Anyone who knows me will tell you I am not a morning person, I'm barely an afternoon person and come nighttime, I'm ready for bed again. I love my bed, my pillows, feeling warm and comfortable, the stack of books next to my bed...I'm a sleeper.

As a sleeper, I don't so much like to share my sleeping space. My husband has his side of the bed and that's about all I'm willing to give up. No cats allowed, no dogs allowed (unless I'm the only one in the bed) and no kids allowed. Those are the rules of the bed.

When I was pregnant, I told my husband, from the get-go, the children would not sleep in our bed. It was our bed and I wanted it to stay that way. I have no issues with parents who co-sleep - more power to you if that's what you want to do. Not my cup of tea.

When the girls were just born, I figured out they would sleep longer after a feeding if they slept next to me and touched me. At that point in the game, I was tired enough to understand the benefit (largely for myself) of letting the baby sleep with me for a few hours. I was fine with that. Once they graduated to sleeping through the night, however, there was no more sleeping in the Mom Bed (that's what the girls call my bed. And I sincerely believe they think it's a proper noun. They also know I'm a sleeper.)

There have been times that I've let the girls nap with me. And that's mostly been because it was the only way to actually get them to fall asleep on a given day. Those ocassions, however, have been rare.

Why am I rambling about sleeping, you ask? Because the girls have had colds for the past week and have not been sleeping. As a result, there have been 3 nights in the past week when I resorted to allowing the children to sleep in my bed. The older one slept with us for 2 nights and the younger one for 1.

Big deal, right? So I let the munchkins sleep with me for a few nights. So what?

So...my eldest weighs less than a large bag of dog food and she takes up an entire queen-sized bed. Not only does she lie the long way across the width of the bed, but she insists on either laying on my head or burrowing into her dad and putting her feet on my head. She kicks me in the bladder, knees me in the stomach and wakes up every 30 minutes or so because she wants to PLAY! It's almost like being pregnant again except this time she's on the outside.

And the little one?! Well, she heats up to about a billion degrees, gets everything all sweaty and SNORES. You wouldn't think that sound could come out of that tiny little body, but come out it does...steadily and constantly.

That's right folks. Sleeping with my children is akin to sleeping with the enemy and there's not enough coffee in the world the following morning. After the third night, I'd completely had it. I informed my eldest this was the last night she would be sleeping with mommy and daddy and I readied myself for the fight of the century come bedtime. And you know what? She went to her own bed with no fuss and she slept straight through the night. Apparently she was as sick of sleeping with me as I was of her. Go figure.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Terrible Twos

My eldest daughter will be 3 in July. Thus far, the 2s haven't been so terrible. In fact, the majority of 2 has been pretty enjoyable. The past few weeks, however, have given new meaning to Terrible Twos...at least for the Schmidt household. And to be perfectly honest, it makes me fear the 3s. I hear through the grapevine the 3s are even worse.

As her way of embracing the 2s, and probably in an effort to make up for the fact she's been pretty good up until now, my daughter has become the master contrarian. Take our conversation last night:

Me: What do you want for dinner?

Abigail: Ummm...

Me: A hot dog?

Abigail: Nooo

Me: Grilled cheese sandwich?

Abigail: Mac and cheese!

Me: We don't have mac and cheese.

Abigail: I WANT MAC AND CHEESE!

Or a similar conversation we had this morning:

Me: Do you want yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast?

Abigail: French toast!

In addition to her general contrariness, she's also become prone to meltdowns. This afternoon she had a doozy. Tears, runny nose, more tears, hiccups, the whole 9 yards. When I asked her if she wanted to rock for a little bit, she agreed, so we climbed into the glider and rocked for a bit. She immediately curled into me, took a deep breath and we stayed that way for about 20 minutes. We listened to the dryer clacking and the cars driving past the house. While we sat there, it occurred to be that as sassy, bossy and generally obnoxious as I think she is at times, it's really hard to grow up. A 2-year old only has so many words, can only do so much for him/herself, relies on other people for practically everything even though s/he wants to do everything by him/herself and is constantly being told/reminded/instructed what to do. If I had someone doing that to me everyday, I'd freakin' lose it!

In thinking about this, I realize I need to be more patient with my children. As frustrating as it may be for me to have to tell them constantly to say "please" and "thank you" and to not push each other and to be nice to people and get out of other peoples' way and everything else I have to do ALL THE TIME, they have to listen to it. And that can't be easy either.

Magical Powers

As you all know, I have 2 little girls. What you may not know, what you may be amazed to know...is that having these 2 little girls has somehow given me magical powers. Don't believe me? Read more and be amazed...

1. My kisses can heal the world. Seriously! I kid you not! If one of the munchkins bumps her head or shuts her fingers in the door or bites her tongue or falls off the roof, one or two kisses from yours truly makes it all better.

2. I can make small children fall fast asleep - even when they don't want to sleep. If, at nap time, one of the girls is fighting her nap, I can put her into my bed, cuddle up next to her and within minutes, said stinker will be sleeping. I seem to have inherited this magical power from my own mother. The kryptonite for this power: 2 non-sleeping stinkers. I haven't mastered that power...yet.

3. I can understand toddler talk. You may not think this overly impressive, but if a small child wandered up to you and said, "Poop den. Deepa. O dere!" would you know what to do and where to go? Translation: My youngest child pooped again and needs a diaper, which she has already put over there.

4. When I rock, the world stops. My eldest daughter is 2 1/2. And these days she's really making sure to embrace her 2-ness. Yet if a meltdown occurs, I can take her to my glider, rock for a few minutes and suddenly, everything is right with the world again. At least for a few minutes.

5. My children are alive and thriving. I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 1/2 year old. Nuff said.

And you, dear reader, what magical powers have you?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Technical Difficulties

Please excuse the recent lack of entries. We were experiencing some technical difficulties with our computer. I believe I've worked out all the bugs. Stay tuned for more updates!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Confession

As you know, I've got a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 1/2 year old. I love my children dearly, but I've also come to realize that I miss having time to myself and time alone with my husband. Granted, I get that time when the girls go to bed, but even when they're in bed, I'm still in Mom mode - listening for coughs in the night, bed escapees, etc.

Luckily for me, my husband and I are blessed with relatives who love our kids as much as we do and said relatives will occasionally offer (or are bribed into) to watch the girls for the night. At a house other than ours. This doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's a lovely, lovely thing. My husband and I get some quality time together, we get to sleep in the next morning and the girls honestly have fun being the center of someone else's world for a few hours.

As lovely as it is for the girls to be gone for a few hours, and as much as I enjoy the peace and quiet, I have a dirty little secret:

Whenever the girls are gone for the night, I sleep with something of theirs - a blanket, a teddy bear, basically whatever I can find that smells like them.

My husband, of course, finds this highly amusing. And, quite honestly, so do I. But I continue to do it, whenever they're gone for the night. And I'm sure I will for some time to come. I'm hoping to be over it by the time they go to college. I figure that should give me enough time to adjust to the change.

Monday, February 23, 2009

20 Minutes of Quiet - It's All I Ask

Winter in Minnesota can get really brutal....especially if you're an introverted mother of two active toddlers who never stop making noise. Especially if you're married to a man who can tune out anything. Especially is you have pms. Especially if it's a Tuesday.

I've had a couple tough days with the girls lately. The oldest is just getting done with a nasty cold and, of course, the youngest now has it. The cold makes them cough at night, which, of course, wakes me up. Several times. Every night.

On top of the colds, my oldest is having, oh, let's call them issues, shall we? She has figured out how to huff at me when I don't say something she likes...which tends to happen at least 20,000 times per day. She's been spending a lot of time in the corner for not talking nicely. And she's 2.

The youngest, on the other hand, doesn't want to eat in her chair and firmly believes that her father is God's gift. Now, her dad is a good guy. She wouldn't be here if he wasn't a good guy. That being said, when I'm the one doing absolutely everything for this child on a minute-to-minute basis, having her run to Daddy every time I say no makes life a teeny bit more difficult. That and going up and down the stairs about 15 times on a Saturday morning (before any caffeine has been ingested) in the hopes of breaking her from refusing to sit in her chair. Oh yeah, and guess what broke her? When Daddy put her in the chair. Grr.

All I really want is about 20 minutes of peace and quiet. Truth be told, what I really want is a week on the beach with warm weather, a pile of books and no one needing or wanting anything from me. But I'll honestly settle for 20 minutes of peace and quiet. But the children do not seem to be able to wrap their heads around this concept. And I get that. Why would a 2-year old or a 1-year old feel the need to be quiet or do anything for someone else? They wouldn't. They don't understand that. And I understand that.

But it doesn't make it any easier...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What DO I Do All Day?

It seems my friends on Facebook are consistently coming across interesting articles. Recently, a friend of mine posted an article from the Washington Post. The article addresses what exactly a stay-at-home parent (specifically moms in this article) does all day. I thought the article was excellent and invite you all to read it and discuss amongst yourselves.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/22/AR2007052201554.html

So, what do you think? I found the explanation of what a stay-at-home parent does pretty much spot on as I have a hard time explaining to other people what I do all day. Thank you, Carolyn Hax, for summing it up nicely for me!

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Clean House is a ... House

I am not a big fan of cleaning. In fact, just for the sake of utter honestly, I pretty much hate it. And at this point in my life, I think I mostly hate it because I'm currently finding it rather discouraging. The girls are 2 1/2 and 1 1/2, right? So, they play with something for anywhere from 30 seconds to 20 minutes at a shot and then move onto the next thing. And I'm fine with that. I don't really mind the trail of toys they leave throughout the house. Fingerprints on the couch and tables don't freak me out. Crumbs on the carpet don't send me over the edge. That sort of stuff doesn't really bother me. But at a certain point, I become so utterly overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that is literally everywhere that I get kind of stuck. I don't know where to start. And the end is not ever in sight. And that is what I find discouraging, annoying, overwhelming and irritating.

So, readers, got any tips for a crazed mother of two? How do you keep up? Do you keep up? Is it worth keeping up? Is it even possible to keep up?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

What're You Gonna Do?

We're having one of those days in our house. You know, the kind of day when the kids wake up early and it's all sort of downhill from there? We decided to take a family trip to the zoo and that was really fun for all of us. We spent the morning there and the girls behaved really well. We stopped off for a little treat on the way home and then headed back to the house. Both girls fell asleep in the car on the way and that's where the happy times ended.

When we got to the house, we had to wake the girls up to get them out of the car. Since they got up early, we figured they would just take early naps and then we'd enjoy the rest of the day. Oh, silly parents, that's dreamworld! The girls soooo did not nap, instead choosing to alternately scream at each other and then laugh hysterically. After about an hour and a half, we gave up the battle and put in a movie. Since the movie, my husband and I have literally been counting the hours/minutes/seconds until bedtime, between bouts of tearful toddlers, screeching toddlers, hungry but not willing to eat toddlers and generally unpleasant toddlers. Come bedtime I can pretty much guarantee I will head to bed to read while my husband will migrate to the couch to watch some sort of football/basketball/cricket/bowling game. And tomorrow will hopefully be a much brighter day for all of us.

So, readers, what're you gonna do when the day just doesn't work and there's still 12 hours to go?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

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Monday, February 2, 2009

And She's Off!

I pictured it like this:

My husband would be at work. The girls would be playing. I would probably be folding laundry or cleaning up the breakfast dishes. The phone would ring. The lovely man at the other end would offer me the job, insisting on paying me at least $25 an hour. Although the job was only temporary, they would be so impressed with my skills at the end of the temp period, they would insist I stay on full-time, with incredible benefits. I would make enough money that my husband could stay home with the girls and stop killing his body with manual labor. I would be able to plan an extraordinary, extravagant birthday party for my husband's 40th this summer. I would start writing on the side, secretly sending manuscripts off to publishers. The manuscript would sell, the publisher would option 3 more books, and by the time I finished the last book, I would be able to work from home and we'd be able to start traveling the world with the girls.

Here's what actually happened:

My husband went to work. The girls were playing. I was making phone calls to the insurance company and the bank. I checked my email while I waited in customer service hell. One email looked promising, but actually read something like, "I'm really sorry to have to send you an email. If it makes you feel better, the two people we hired were really terrific in a very tough pool of competition. You have a lot going for you and I hope you keep your head up as you continue your job search."

And the daydreaming came screeching to a halt.

The whole situation is odd, really. I didn't want to go to the interview in the first place. I went and ended up really enjoying the process, the interaction with adults. The job would have been freaking perfect. I walked out feeling really confident. The interviewers seemed to really like my answers, I made them laugh, they didn't make me sweat. All in all, it was a great scenario. So, I started daydreaming (see above) and then I got the email this morning.

And now I'm back where I started - debating whether I really want to work while the girls are this little; debating if my husband's body can stand up for a few more years until the girls start school; debating if our marriage can continue to stand the stress of one source of income in trying economic times. Debating, debating, debating.

And you, dear reader, any debates going on? Internal or otherwise? Feel free to share...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

And I'm Back

So, I took a not-so-brief sabbatical from the blog world. To be perfectly honest, I was debating whether or not to continue this blog, because I wasn't entirely sure where I wanted the project to go. I've done some considering and I've decided to continue taking the plunge. I have gotten some positive feedback from several readers and that gave me a nice little boost. So, thank you readers, for liking what you read. Please feel free to offer writing suggestions, comments, etc.

It's a new year and this year I did make some resolutions. It's not something I normally do, but for some reason, this year I felt compelled to do so. I feel like 2009 is going to be a big year and I don't really know why. I think part of it is the new presidency and part of it is the economy and part of it is my kids getting older and part of it is being more comfortable in my own skin. As far as the resolutions go, I made one specific goal for myself, one specific goal in regards to myself and my kids and one specific goal in regards to myself and my husband. I won't say I'm living each day by these resolutions, but they are in the forefront of my mind a significant portion of the time.

A few weeks ago, I joined Facebook. That is one crazy website. It's so much fun connecting with people I haven't spoken with in years. I've found people from college, high school and grade school! Crazy! One of the fun activities floating around the site is this note called 25 Random Things about Me. In the interest of the blog, I thought I'd post my own version:

25 Random Things about Me as a Mother:
1. I think being a mom is really hard.
2. The hardest I ever cried was when I found out I had to go for an upper level ultrasound for my oldest daughter because there might have been something wrong with her. She was perfectly fine.
3. I think I'm pretty good at picking my battles as far as the girls are concerned.
4. My kids' first names both start with A.
5. I have a hard time keeping a straight face when the girls do something naughty.
6. I insist the girls say "please" and "thank you" all the time.
7. I rarely buy clothes for the kids at full price.
8. Sometimes I forget to brush their teeth.
9. My youngest daughter emits pure joy from her tiny little being.
10. My oldest daughter is scary smart.
11. I try really hard not to compare my kids to each other.
12. The first four months after I had my second child was a very difficult time in my marriage.
13. The first four months after I quit my job was really hard for me.
14. I lose my patience with my kids and I have yelled at them, even though I know I shouldn't have. This is something I'm really working on and I'm getting so much better.
15. I check on the girls every night before I get into bed.
16. Going to school with the girls makes me very happy.
17. I could care less that my house is a disaster.
18. It will be a rare day that I bake cookies for my kids. I hate to bake.
19. I hope to teach my daughters to be strong, independent, loving and empathetic. I think it's working so far.
20. I am so happy that my daughters have wonderful, involved, loving grandparents.
21. My children both tell me they love me and I honestly believe they know and understand what they're saying (they're 2 1/2 and 1 1/2)
22. I hope to always have a strong, close relationship with my girls.
23. I am fully aware that my daughters and I will have an almost constant battle of the wills, and there are times I will definitely lose those battles.
24. Although we will have battles, and although I will lose, I will ALWAYS love these children.
25. As hard as being a mom is, can be and will be, I can't imagine not being one.

And you, dear reader, do you have your own list of random things about yourself? On Facebook, you share with your friends. Feel free to share yours with me!