Typing One Handed

Parenting is a game where only the kids know the rules.

May I Offer You Some Plastic Peas? December 29, 2009

Filed under: Cooking,holidays,kids — Kelly Jo @ 2:00 pm
Tags: , ,

Now that my oldest is two, and old enough to be aware of who Santa is and what he does, I realized this year that Christmas really is for the kids.  In years past I have always put together my list and waited anxiously to see what Santa (Mom and Dad) would bring me.  Except the year I looked in Mom and Dad’s closet and knew everything I was getting.  Best. Christmas. Ever.

This year was different though.  As my husband and I were putting together the kitchen that Grandpa and Grandma Santa had gotten Zoey, I realized that I was more excited to see Zoey’s reaction to her new kitchen than I was to see my own gifts.  Does this mean parenthood has made me less selfish? That can’t be right.  Anyway…

The kitchen was the biggest hit of Christmas.  Bigger than Uncle Tyler’s smoker, Uncle Brett’s iPod, or Mommy’s new Keurig (which, obviously, was a close second).  It was such a big hit, in fact, that she didn’t want to continue opening presents, she was too busy playing with her new kitchen.  She finally finished opening her presents around three that afternoon.  And I opened most of them for her.

It’s really cool when your two-year old has her own kitchen.  And I’m not at all jealous that her kitchen is nicer than mine.  Really.  In her kitchen with (plastic) stainless steel appliances, Zoey has cooked for us many fine dishes, such as (plastic) roast chicken, (plastic) corn on the cob, (plastic) pink carrots, and (rubber) fried eggs.  She has also tempted our taste buds with some imaginary culinary treats, such as microwave popcorn from an empty cardboard box, coconut milk from a can that can’t be opened, and apple juice from a sealed carton which Zoey insists you drink from a teacup with a spoon.

Occasionally she lets us cook with her.  “Mommy, do want to cook?”  “Daddy, do want to cook?”  (This isn’t a typo, she doesn’t say the word “you”.)  But mostly she is busy working by herself.  She spends so much time in her kitchen that I am tempted to give her real ingredients and see what she comes up with.  If I hated myself even a little and hadn’t had the carpets shampooed just last month, I might actually do it.

In the meantime I am enjoying watching her face light up as she serves me her latest concoction.  Little smokies with oregano and cinnamon?  Yes, please!

I am also considering re-wrapping the unnoticed presents.  Maybe her birthday won’t cost too much next year.


A Long Night December 18, 2009

Filed under: kids — Kelly Jo @ 8:24 am

It was a long night.  A Very. Long. Night.

Yesterday was Thursday, so those who know me well know that I was awaiting the girls’ bedtime all day long so I could get to the all important weekly task of watching Survivor.  I basically look forward to next weeks episode as soon I finish watching this weeks.  And it is like that every week.

Now, you all know that I am a shining example of a top-notch mother who would NEVER cut corners.  Especially not for a TV show.  For example, an 8 o’clock bed time would never become 7:45 just so that I don’t get too far behind on the wonderfulness that is Thursday night TV.  No way.  Not in this house… (Seems like I’ve written about lying recently.)

Anyway, it is 8:03 and my husband and I are SO ready to get this party started.  Kids in bed?  Check.  Popcorn?  Check.  TiVO queued up? Check.  And then comes the pounding.

Ah… nothing like the sound of two-year old fists banging on a door after bedtime.

Up the stairs I go because my 6th mommy sense has told me she has turned on the light, which she can turn on quite easily but can never seem to turn off, making sleeping pretty impossible.  And that, of course, makes mommy and daddy time impossible.  My mommy sense was right (don’t act so surprised) so I flipped the switch and began to leave.

“Poo-poo, Mommy.  Poo-poo.”  she tells me.  Well, I’m about 98% sure this is a bedtime stall tactic, but since we are in the process of potty training, and she had such a good evening in that area, I didn’t want to risk it.  So I got to sit on the bathroom floor for a while waiting for Zoey to do, well, nothing.

When I had her wrap it up and get her “pin-cess peejammies” (princess pajamas) back on she starts in on “I’m hungry Mommy.”  Let me tell you about my child- she is ALWAYS hungry.  The girl would quickly snack herself into childhood obesity if I let her.  All day long I hear “Cheerios Mommy” or “orange Mommy” and “crackers Mommy.”  Of course when I say “no crackers right now, it’s dinner time” I hear the scream of “NO DINNER!!!!!!!!”

This stall tactic did not work, I don’t let her snack after bedtime.  So I get her back in bed, covered the light switch with tape (we have had this little problem throughout the night for three nights now), tell her I love her and go back downstairs.

Of course the baby started crying at that point.  Why wouldn’t she?  We’re clearly creating an un-funny SNL sketch (also known as an SNL sketch) so this fits in just perfectly.  I made the decision that this was a sleep fuss and she would be quiet again quickly.  I got a break this time, and this actually happened.  Go mommy sense- twice in one night!

At 8:36 we finally got to start our show.  And it was good. ( Survivor fans- I have never love-hated anyone as much as I love-hate Russell!)  At the end of the show it’s looking like I can check my email and various social accounts before turning in early.  I’m chuckling as I write this.  That’s funny.

As I was finishing up on the computer I heard a rather loud thump.  Followed by wailing.  I run upstairs to discover Zoey has fallen out of bed.  She has a toddler bed, so it was a short fall and she wasn’t hurt, but she was definitely scared.  I held her and rocked her until she calmed down and then put her back to bed.

I came back down and played some pretty pointless computer games, waiting for Zoey to fall back asleep, as she was once again up and playing around.  I finally resigned around eleven, and let her come in our room.  She watched Horton Hears a Who, jumped on our bed, asked us what we were doing about a thousand times, and was beyond happy.  We put her back in her bed sometime around midnight. Maya woke at 1:30 for a feeding, and was up for the day at 5:23.  Like I said, it was a long night.

Normally I hate nights like this.  I wake up yelling at the coffee pot that it isn’t brewing fast enough, I am grumpy at my husband and kids, and I let it affect my whole day.  Last night though, as I was sitting in Zoey’s dark room kissing her scared, tear stained cheeks, I realized that as unglamorous as being a mommy often is, it is simply the most divine thing I have ever been blessed enough to enjoy.  And enjoy I did.

I enjoyed Zoey wiggling and giggling as she layed on our bed, I enjoyed cuddling with Maya as I admitted that we were up for the day.  The hard nights will someday end, and with them will go the tender moments when I can show my kids that I love them no matter the hour.  So I try to cherish these moments while I still have them, no matter how long the night may be.


Lying as an Artform December 16, 2009

Filed under: holidays,kids — Kelly Jo @ 11:37 am

I have a little problem.  It’s not exactly a a bad problem, the only person it adversely effects is me.

I am a terrible liar.

I used to think I was so smart and getting away with so much.  I know now that pretty much everyone can read me like a book.

“Do you like my new hair cut Kelly?” ” Um, yeah, uh, it looks, uh, like, um, really good.” Convincing, I know.

Normally I just deal with it- I tell the truth.  Or I don’t comment on your new haircut.  (Which probably half the time I don’t notice anyway.  So if I didn’t comment on your new haircut you have at least a 50/50 chance I just didn’t notice- which is also probably kind of offensive, so nevermind.)  The problem is that at Christmas you kind of have to lie when you have little kids.  Oh you didn’t get the memo?  Santa is fiction, don’t tell the kids.

Truth be told, I don’t really care whether or not my kids believe in Santa.  However, I do care a great deal about what people I hardly know think of me, so I don’t want the other daycare moms to hate me for letting my kids ruin their kids’ Christmas.  Because of this, we go ahead and have a lot of talk about good ol’ St. Nick around here.

This year isn’t too bad.  I asked Zoey what she wants Santa to bring her and she said “Cupcakes!”  Cool.  Santa/mommy can easily pull that off, and the legend of Santa remains.  I asked her if she knows what Maya wants, and she tells me Maya wants a blue present.  Homemade blue burp cloth (singular), done.  Get busy little elves.

At what age though, will she be asking Santa for something I can’t afford, like a 60″ HDTV, or something I don’t want her to have, like a Red Rider BB gun? (Nice.)  Bad example, I would be proud if she asked for that.  Lets go with anything Hannah Montana.  That girl drives me nuts!  And even worse, what if she asks for both?  How on earth will I be able to spin a good  lie as to why Santa didn’t bring her these things?  If I could type a response, it would be easy.

“Oh Zoey, since we have a gas fireplace we don’t have a chimney.  Santa has to take a special route because of that, and he can’t get that big a package in through the way he comes.  Is there something a little smaller you’d like instead?”  (I know, that was good.  You should totally use that.)

However, my spoken response would sound something like this.  “Oh Zoey.  You see, well, what I’m trying to say, um, chimney, uh… too fat.  No.  Well, OK.”  By the way, I WILL be blushing furiously during this response.  And then I will have to see my child’s heartbroken face when she ends up with a mere plate of cupcakes.

It was so much easier when this was how she felt about Santa (Christmas '08).

So what do you do when lying is not an option?  I guess I will start by apologizing that my kids ruined your kids’ Christmas.  I hope the daycare moms are reading this.  (I had to apologize to a daycare mom last year when at the Christmas party her son said “Mommy, can I play with my new toy before Zoey starts chewing on it?”)

Or I suppose I could put my selfishness aside and get her the Hannah Montana at the sake of my remaining sanity.  I could also stop spending money so frivolously on things like the mortgage and groceries so that she may have these important gifts.

I guess the best option would just be to start practicing now.  I guess that means that my New Year’s resolution will be to lie more.

By the way, I LOVE your new haircut!


The Queen of Snacking Trickery December 7, 2009

Filed under: kids,Mom Tricks — Kelly Jo @ 11:15 pm

I have learned something very important over the last few weeks: the holiday season is not a good time to try to lose baby weight.

In hindsight, the timing of my recent pregnancy wasn’t the best.  I started my third trimester in July- bonus points for being Portland’s hottest summer EVER.  We broke records here, people.  I couldn’t have a cocktail to celebrate Kelly’s and my 5th anniversary or my sister’s 30th birthday, and of course, the aforementioned timing of trying to drop the pounds.

I worked very hard during my pregnancy to gain a proper amount of weight, and that hard work paid off, I was successful in that arena.  However, that doesn’t create a cakewalk when it comes to losing that weight (mmm… cake).  I lost all the obvious weight (you know- baby, placenta, amniotic fluid- all that gross stuff) but that last bit is stubbornly hanging around.  You know, the bit that makes the difference between if you can wear a form-fitting shirt with your favorite jeans, or if you’re stuck in your PMS jeans with a giant sweatshirt.  Unfortunately for me, my giant sweatshirt is a Washington State University sweatshirt.  I don’t know if all the snickering I hear behind my back is because I need to drop a few, or because I’m publicly supporting the Cougars.  But I digress.

With all of this delicious food coming into my house since early October, I haven’t felt like I’ve set the best nutritional example for my two-year old.  I don’t want her to think that peanut brittle and Chex Mix is a complete meal, so I thought up a wonderful little trick.

We have homemade Chex Mix around for pretty much all of December.  It’s one of my favorite holiday treats, and I swear I save calories all year for  this.  I also lie a lot.  After making the first batch, Zoey started noticing that we suddenly have a delicious snack around.  I don’t want to share let my two-year old have that much sodium, so I concocted a special mixture.  It is all the ingredients that go in the mix (multi grain Chex cereal, mixed nuts, and a few pretzels-not too bad for a kid’s snack) but I skip cooking them in the butter and salt mixture.   Duh Kelly Jo, that’s obvious.  I know you thought it, but here is where the execution of the plan comes in.

You see, the first time I tried to sneak in the intruder mix, I just had it in a baggie off to the side.  Zoey looked at the impostor snack on her plate, which looks EXACTLY the same, and says “No, that!” as she points to the real stuff.  Shoot, that kid is smarter than I gave her credit for.  So I came up with a new plan.  Same mix, same baggie, but I now store the bag inside the same container as the good stuff.  And because I haven’t lost those last few pounds, I am big enough to block her view while I sneak the healthier version into her snack bowl.

So really, my not losing these last few pounds is all part of a carefully crafted plan to help my two-year old snack healthier.  Of course, if I didn’t make the Chex Mix I wouldn’t have to be so sneaky…

No, it is a carefully crafted plan.


Kids Say the Darndest Things December 3, 2009

Filed under: kids — Kelly Jo @ 10:01 am
Tags: ,

Before I had kids, I remember wondering how on earth parents can understand what their toddlers are saying.  Lets be realistic here, to the untrained ear it is pure babble with no real meaning.  I never believed parents when they told me that they knew what their kids were saying.  If they really could understand, it was only because they possess super powers.

Seriously, you don't get much cuter than this!

Fast forward to now.  I have my own beautiful little 2 year old.  And let me tell you, she is a talker.  If she has something on her mind, she WILL tell you.  And it is a pretty rare occasion when she doesn’t have something on her mind.  Just as I suspected would happen,  she says a lot of things that I don’t understand right away.  But more surprisingly, I do understand most of what she is saying, just like all those other moms swore they did.  Huh, did I just admit I was wrong?  Hurrying along now…

The question I ask now is not what is Zoey saying, but why is she saying it?  What makes her (while she is playing with her baby doll) giggle and shout “Ri-crow carry!”  (Wait, you didn’t know that means scarecrow is scary?  Why couldn’t you figure that out?)  Why is it that during dinner, which she is eating happily, she suddenly yells out “It’s cookie time!”?  Nevermind, I know the answer to that.  And yes, this phrase she does speak that clearly.

I wish this completed the list of questions I asked regarding what my toddler says, but there is one more.  Sometimes this is the biggest question of all: Where did she learn that?  Most of the time when I ask this question I get really proud and hope that the answer is that she learned it from mommy.  This isn’t usually the answer.  This week however, we had an “I know she didn’t learn that word from me!” incident.

Let me start by saying Kelly, Zoey and I ADORE our daycare provider, Tammy.  We are constantly bragging how lucky we are to stumble onto such a gem.  I wish she could have unlimited space in her daycare so all of my friends could use hers, but as it is she had to hire someone just to have enough room to take Maya once I go back to work.  (It’s true moms-to-be, the best daycares are always full.)  So when we got home on Tuesday night and I heard what Zoey was saying, I knew something didn’t add up.  We had finished dinner and we were watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas, when Zoey shouted “Tammy big bi…” I’m not going to finish Zoey’s statement, but I think you get the picture.

The first heart-broken thought is, of course, where did she learn that word?  We do not use that language in our home.  Grandpa and Grandma didn’t teach her that one, I’m pretty confident that our church nursery workers didn’t lay that little morsel out, and it doesn’t make much sense that Tammy would say this about herself.  Seeing as Zoey doesn’t get out to many other places, this just didn’t make sense.   Who could have taught her that word?

Then a beautiful little story came to my mind.  It happened when my little brother was about five. My family was watching one of my sister’s basketball games, and my brother was playing in the gym with one of his friends.  All of the sudden he came running up to my parents with a devastated look on his face.  “What’s wrong?” he was asked.  His response?  “I just said the F word.” While my mom was running through the list of emotions and questions mentioned in the paragraph above, my dad (ah, ever so sensible Dave) asked him “Brett, what exactly did you say?”  He looked at the floor in shame and whispered “Fart.”

This story popped into my mind as Zoey kept repeating her little sentiment, over and over again as toddlers do.  I knew my sweet angel couldn’t be saying what I thought she was saying, so I paused to assess the situation.  What did I notice?  I saw that Zoey kept pointing at the TV as she was saying this.  And that’s when it came to me.  It hit me like Dr. House’s weekly ah-ha moment.

Tammy always fills her yard with giant inflatable decorations for every holiday.  I love it that she does this because kids love to see those, and when they can see them everyday in Tammy’s yard I don’t have to put any in my yard.  And what is being displayed this year in Tammy’s collection?  A giant inflatable Grinch.  Tammy isn’t a big bi… mean woman.  Tammy has a big Grinch in her yard!

I immediately called Tammy to let her know that tomorrow when she hears this, Zoey is really only commenting on her holiday decor, not what she or any member of our family think about her.  Tammy just laughed, informed me she had already heard it, and the phrase had been decoded.  We had a good laugh, talked a little longer, and then said good-night.  I guess Tammy has super-powers too.

In the meantime, I got busy teaching Zoey how to pronounce Grinch.  It’s coming out as Ginch, but at least that better than what it was.