It’s hard to teach sharing and being nice to people.  I sometimes wonder if as humans, we are naturally selfish, egotistical beings and that it is against our very natures to think beyond ourselves.  I struggle to teach the boys to get along, to share their toys with each other, or, at the very least, stop f-ing antagonizing each other.  Jesus.  Is it so hard to just not make your brother scream in aggravation because you said something or took away the toy or hit him?  Leave him alone! 


So imagine my surprise when ever was upset that Sean had an eyeball balloon and he didn’t.  While Evan was at school, we were at the grocery store, where they were giving away their Halloween balloons.  When a store clerk asked Sean if he wanted one, he asked for the eye-ball balloon with a please.  All day, Sean was talking to his Eye-Ball Friend.  Naturally, Evan had to destroy this special bond.

After the third time of Evan taking the balloon and the second time of him putting the ribbon in his mouth to irritate Sean, I sent Evan to time out.  After the five minutes, we had a nice little discussion over when something belongs to someone else, we leave it alone.  We play with other people’s things when we ask and they say yes.

Evan: But I like the eye-ball balloon!

Me: I know.  But it’s Sean’s.

Evan: But Mommmmmmyyyyyyy!

Me: It’s still Sean’s.  Play with the other balloon.

Sean: Here, brother!  You want to play with it?!  You can!

And then I realize my boy is the sweetest, kindest, most adorable boy on the planet.  And maybe I had a hand in it.

Take my children, please.

My sons are alive today at this moment because I’m a saint.  Ok, I might be exaggerating a little but not by much. 

Evan is on the throttle taking a supervillan’s pleasure in antagonizing the hell out of Sean.  Sean retaliates by either hitting or screaming or both.  This has been going on for several days, perhaps even weeks.  Then today the screaming started before 7am.  Then while I was feeding Aidan his mid-morning meal, the boys that would be an absolutely awesome idea to wash their hair with hand soap.  And to make matters even more fun, Sean poured a water bottle filled with water onto the kitchen floor.

I wanted to scream.  I wanted to beat.  I wanted to send everyone to time out for hours.

Instead, I placed a sleeping Aidan in his bassinet.  I told Evan to figure out how he was going to get soap out of his hair.  I gave Sean a rag to dry up the water.

But I fear I’m losing control.  I have to repeat myself several times to get them to do what I ask.  Evan is now name calling.  Sean cries and screeches when things don’t go his way.  It’s like pulling teeth to get them to pick up their toys or get ready for bed. 

I’m not sure if this is a phase.  But I’ve been telling everyone it is.  I don’t know if they’re just testing the lines.  I don’t know if this has something to do with having a new baby in the house.  I don’t know if this has to do with their allergies acting up. 

I do think if I started cracking down, they would be in time out all the time.  Which might have to be done.  And I wonder if I spent more time with them having fun that they wouldn’t act out so much.  But I spend Aidan’s nap time trying to get them to clean and yelling at them as they pick on each other.  I just hate the yelling all the time.

The Answer is

My mom is trying to teach Evan not to whine or throw a fit when he gets a “no” in response to his request.  (I, for the record, just send him in his room until he’s dealt with his issues.)  She tells him, “Evan, sometimes the answer is no.”

Yesterday I was dressing Sean, and he wanted to play with a tiny toy ninja that belonged to Evan.

Me: Sean, that’s Evan’s.  You’ll have to ask him.

Sean: Pease, Brother.  Pease may have ninja?

Evan: No.

Sean started to wail.

Evan: Sean, sometimes the answer is no.

The Green One

When I was a child, my brothers and I fought over the Green Glass.  It was a plastic tumbler from Tupperware, which came with a set of four, including red, blue, and yellow.  But we could care less about the other glasses.  We fought, argued, yelled, begged, whined, pushed, shoved to get the Green Glass.  My parents were at their wits’ end.  What was so special about the Green Glass?  We maintained that milk just taste better in it.  I’m sure it was more to do that our siblings wanted it, so it became more desirable.  That Green Glass.

Last Christmas, I felt it was time to arm the family with light sabers.  I bought two blues, a green, and a purple.  I kept it a secret from even The Husband, so that he too could fill the thrill of getting a light saber to play with the boys.  The purple one was mine, of course.

Last week, the boys fell into a Star Wars kick.  They’re watching The Husband’s copy of the Star Wars cartoon series from a few years back.  They unsuccessfully try to convince us to play the Star Wars video games for them.  They’re fighting with light sabers.  They’re taking light sabers to bed.  They’re fighting over one light saber whenever they get a chance. 

The Green One.

Sean adores the Green Light Saber, carries it around, takes it to bed, fights with it.  Food and Evan are the only things that will pry it out of his hands.  Evan must have the Green Light Saber at all costs, conning, whittling, begging, forcing it out of his brother’s hands.  When that doesn’t work, Evan cries, begs, whines for it from us.    We have three other light sabers here, people!

It does seem fair and just over the long view.  But I won’t believe it’s fair and just until my brothers have children.  They just better have more than one.

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The Pirate Ship

So of course, we had to get Sean his own pirate ship.  Since that was all his little heart desired.  The Husband and I stayed up until midnight putting things together for the surprise.  Yet another Christmas Eve of us bickering our frustration at each other because including directions with the toys is now so not cool.

The next morning, Evan woke first and looked at his toys before coming and getting us.  We smiled as he exclaimed over each toy.  After 45 minutes and no Sean, I went in to check on him.  He was just lying in bed, thinking, contemplating, relaxing.  When he saw me he climbed out of his bed, and I ran into the family room for the perfect spot to catch a picture of the look on Sean’s face when he saw his pirate ship.

Sean came out into the family, taking in the magical scene.  I lifted the camera up, focusing it.  His eyes landed on the pirate ship.  Those dark brown eyes lit up.  A smile burst on his face.  He took a running step forward.  I started to press down on the button.  Then Evan jumped up and bumped his brother out of the way.

Yup, Evan cock-blocked his little brother from Sean’s own toy.  Nice. 

Sean was determined.  They raced to the pirate ship, getting there at the same time.  Sean let out a yell as Evan grabbed the pirates and the ship.

I have spent the last several days trying to make sure everyone is sharing and not hitting, punching, kicking, scratching, biting, pushing, bludgeoning each other over a toy pirate ship.

Christmas is magical.

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My Son, The Vampire

Sean has learned to bite.  Which I can’t blame him, really.  Evan’s favorite game is “How can I annoy my baby brother the greatest.”  So in a lot of ways, Evan had it coming.

But rather than let Sean get carried away in a Chicago musical number, I some how have to discipline this grievous assault.  The kid leaves bite marks.  It’s only a matter of time before he breaks the skin.

The first time Sean did it, my dad was babysitting, and he was at his wit’s end on what to do.  If it had been his kid, it would have been a couple of spankings or a bite back, which worked so well on my middle brother when he went through this phase on me.  (Unlike Evan, I was a perfect child.)  But my dad knew how I feel about physical punishment, so he placed Sean into time out and cuddled Evan.

It happened on my watch last night.  Even though I threw Sean into time out for three and a half minutes, I don’t think it really had an effect, since Sean started laughing and talking to himself during the middle of it.  Nothing like a punishment that works.

And I wasn’t stupid enough to think this just happened out of the blue because Sean was so hungry from missing dinner, he mistook his brother for a hamburger.  As I comforted Evan, I interrogated him on what happened right before the teething incident.  Evan was using Sean as a punching bag.  Nice.  Now I have to be in the same room with them at all times like a warden.  Where’s my shot gun?

So what’s a poor, enlightened mother suppose to do?

I’ve seen the whole biting the kid thing work, but I feel it’s a bit barbaric and contradictory.  Nothing like hitting to let some one know hitting is wrong.  I’m not sure that the time out thing is working, since it seems the place for Sean to work on his inner comedic monologue. 

So any advice out there?

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The Renaming

Evan: I think I want to name Sean.

Me: What?

Evan: I want to name Sean.

Me: He already has a name.  It’s Sean.

Evan: He needs a new name.  I’m going to call him Falleif.

Me: What?  No.

Evan: Falleif!  Let’s play cars.

Me: We’re not naming your brother Falleif.

Evan: Falleif, do you want juice?

Me: Sean, do you want juice.

Sean: Please juice!

Me: See.  He’s name is Sean.

Evan: I’m still going to call him Falleif.

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Words to Live by

I’ve come up with my parenting motto.  I feel like a geek with making up a saying for being a parent, but I found the words to define the kind of parent I want to be.  They just popped in my head while I took a shower.


To love unconditionally.

To always be right there in their corner. 

To always get their back.

To separate them from the stupid things they are bound to do.


To love unconditionally.   It is a no brainer.  Loving unconditionally is what we should do as parents.  The rest of the motto defines how I plan to love unconditionally. 

To always be right there in their corner.  This means a little more than what most people assume.  While I have known people that have been upset that I didn’t “get their back” and I wasn’t “in their corner,” this phrase doesn’t mean supporting some one right or wrong, no matter what.  It’s a boxing term.  Who is in the boxer’s corner?  His trainer, his manager, his coach.  These people train and teach.  Of course, they encourage, but they also instruct, critique, even fight the boxer to keep the boxer safe by throwing in the towel.  Being in someone’s corner means not only being there for the person but willing to call that person out on the crap that s/he is doing.  That’s the job of a parent.

To always get their back.  Again this doesn’t mean defend someone right or wrong.  It is to defend a person from cheap shots, from people who fight dirty.  It means to try and protect someone where they are most vulnerable.  As parents, we are protectors.

To separate them from the stupid things they are bound to do.  We all do stupid things.  We just usually do them in our youth.  But those stupid things are not us.  They are what we did.  No matter what our kids do, we know that they are who they are, not what they did or will do.

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It’s a Chocolate Day

It’s a chocolate day.

Evan is in the why phase, which is another post.

It’s a chocolate day.

Sean threw five temper tantrums.

It’s a chocolate day.

It was a 5:30 am wake-up call.  AGAIN.

It’s a chocolate day.

It’s a no-breakfast day, but I’m soooooo HUNGRY at 9:00 am day.  Really?  Because I just threw out your pancakes.

It’s a chocolate day.

It’s a boycott of lunch as well.  Because who wants peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when they can whine for something else with the hope Mommy just might give in to the torture and pull out better food because it can happen one day.

I want chocolate.

It’s an early naptime because everyone is whiney, tantrumy, and sleepy, especially Mommy.  But no, the I’m-almost-four boy decided to boycott naps, even though he’s been up since 5:30.

It’s a chocolate caffeine day.

Although we have an arsenal that includes half a dozen swords and four light sabers, they must have the same damn sword.

It’s a chocolate day.

All the kid DVDs are strewn across the family room; all the pirate treasure is strewn across the family room.  All the cars are out, so is every toy from the random-too-big-to-be-in-the-bucket-shelves-and-can’t-fit-under-the-train-table box.  Now they want Legos.

I want some chocolate.

They want candy.  They want fruit snacks.  They want fruit roll ups.  They want candy.  They want cookies.  They want candy.  They want fruit snacks.  But the sandwiches are still on their plates.

I want chocolate.

It took almost forty-five minutes to clean the pirate treasure with the nag, “pick it up now!” over and over.

It’s a chocolate day.

I sounded like my mom as I demanded to know “how many times I had to say . . . .”

Oh, God, I need chocolate. 

Thank God that I don’t have a smart mouth teenager that answered fifty. 

I think my mom deserves chocolate too.

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Rings, Tuxes, and Weddings

I’ve might have mentioned my brother is getting married this summer in New Hampshire.  We’re all excited because we love his bride.  (Hi, K!)  Rumors were abound over a ring bearer as my soon-to-sister-in-law has a niece who was born in between my boys.  So a few months ago, my brother called me.

T: So, um, do you think Evan would want to be the ring bearer?

Me: How about this?  You tell me if you want him to be the ring bearer, and we’ll psych him up for the gig if you do.

T: Ok, we want Evan to be the ring bearer.

Me: You weren’t going to tie a pillow on Larkin’s head and have him come down the aisle.

T: No.

Me: Really?

T: No.

Me: Then why are you bringing the dog to the wedding?

T: It’s a long story.

Me: Boys, watch some cartoons.  I have time.


So Evan is supposed to be the ring bearer, but he would rather be Master Crane.  Whatever.  Now I could go into more gossipy information here, but K occasionally reads my blog, and I wouldn’t want her to think I’m always picking on T (no matter how much he deserves it).

A month or so ago, T showed up at my parents’ house to pick up the invites and discuss the ring pillow with my mom, who is making it.  My mom and I could not be bothered as we were in a death race for our lives called Mario Go-Kart.

T: Fae, I’ve been thinking.  We’ve been thinking.  Evan is at a very independent stage right now.  So we don’t know if he’ll be manageable.  So we were thinking maybe Sean would be better.

Me: Stupid Baby Mario!  What?  You don’t want that.  Evan can take direction.  He’ll be excited to do it.  With Sean, we would have to tie a cookie on a string and pull it down the aisle to get him to do it.

T: I don’t know-

Mom: Stupid Babies!

Me: I know.  They’re ruthless.

T: Are you sure?

Mom: Yes.  Don’t you remember when Fae was Sean’s age, she was the flower girl to your Aunt’s wedding?  The maid of honor wouldn’t let her go back to my seat for the ceremony, so half way though the wedding, all you could see was two little Mary Jane’s kicking in the air.

Me: It wasn’t my fault.  Another Blue Shell!!

Mom: So Sean is too young-

Me: Unless you want both boys.

T: No, Evan will be fine.

Me: And you’ll have to send Evan and K’s niece to sit during the wedding.

T: It’s only a half hour ceremony.

Me: Go!  Go!  Go!  Yes!  A half an hour is a long time for little ones to stand.

Mom: Trust me and send them to their moms for the ceremony.

T: Oh, all right.

Me: Dang. I spun out on that start.

Mom: I was wondering where you went.

Me: Ha.

T: Uh, Fae.  Um, you might want to have Mom make Evan’s tux.

Me: What?  Why?

T: Well, the tux I want him to wear is 149 dollars.

Me:  WHAT?

Mom: You fell into the drink.

Me: ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY NINE DOLLARS!  For a tux?  For a three-year-old!

Mom: He’ll be four.  Wait!  You and your groom’s men aren’t wearing tuxes.

T: No.  But we want Evan in one.  With tails.

Me: What?

T: Do you think he’ll wear a top hat?

Me: Are you?  Is M?

T: No.

Me: No.  Let’s get back to the 149 dollars.

T: Well, I looked around and that’s how much it costs to rent it.

Me: To RENT IT?!  Where the he-  Where did you go?

T: That’s why I think you should have Mom make it.

Me: On top of the ring pillow, the banner and her dress.

T: Mom, you’re making your dress!  What happen to the one you were going to buy?

Mom: It sold out.  I won!

Me: I stopped playing.

T: I think you should ask Mom.

Me: Mom, how hard would it be to make Evan’s tux.

Mom: Well, it’ll be a little hard with the cuffs and lining and everything.  I could do it.

T: See, Mom can do it.

Me: I don’t know.  You said a black tux with tails?

T: Yes.  With a cream vest and bow tie.

Me: (roll of eyes) Give me a minute.  Mom, may I please borrow your computer.

Few words typed into the search engine, a few clicks of the mouse, I returned to the room.

Me: 50 bucks.  You want to see if I found the right one.

T: 50 bucks?  Really?

Me: Yup.  To own. 

T: That’s the one.

Me: I guess Sean is going to have a very formal fourth Christmas.

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