Glimpses into my Childhood

When I was a kid, I loved DuckTales. I watched it every day. 4:30, Weekdays, The Disney Channel. I would race into the room, turn on the TV, sing the intro song. I did a dance that matched the intro song. Yes, I’ve been a huge, overly-excited nerd all my life. I had a poster in my bedroom. My brothers and I dreamed of being on that show. With an uncle as rich as Scrooge McDuck, he wouldn’t mind adding three more to his brood. And the vault.

So when I learned that there was a reboot and an actual money pit modeled after Scrooge McDuck’s vault, I was as excited as a kid. When I told my brothers about the pit, they answered the same way, “Where? And when are we going?” Alas, we could not afford to go to the Disney Expo, so we languish on.

This weekend the boys found the reboot of DuckTales playing on TV. The intro song came back to me, and I sang it to the giggles of my boys. We watched the cartoon together. I think they did a great job. I liked the changes. And Webby! My beloved Webby is a full member of the cast. I should go find my Webbigail toy. The boys are intrigued. Not enough to record it (Thank God because they record enough shows. Honestly, guys, it’s like almost a dozen, and they never have time to watch them.), but it’s enough to watch it when it’s on.

Then this Monday the boys watched Young Sheldon. They adore The Big Bang Theory. They love Sheldon. Tornado E went as Sheldon for Halloween one year. They have been looking forward to Young Sheldon for months. Then the thing that hooked their hearts. Sheldon is my age. The boys were excited to learn that Sheldon and I were born the same year, which means watching Young Sheldon is a peek at my childhood. They were so excited to hear that Sheldon’s sister wanted to watch DuckTales just like Mama at their age.

Then I told my mom.

My Mom: You were never like Sheldon.

Me: I know. But this is cute. They watch DuckTales.

My Mom: His sister does. He watches Dr. Proton.

Tornado E: Mama, did you watch Dr. Proton?

Me: No. That’s a made up show for the TV show. We watched Mr. Wizard. And he was cool.

My Mom: You didn’t watch science shows.

Me: Yes, we did. It came on at 6am on Nickelodeon. So we watched it if we were up early. You were too tired and drinking coffee.

Tornado E: Was he as cool as Dr. Proton?

Me: Hell, yes.

If I let their brains rot

I have two boys, naked with boots on, plugged into the TV, with lunch, untouched and waiting, on their little table in the kitchen.  I wonder how long I have before Tornado A wakes up and ruins my alone time with a crowd.  Can I measure it in how many blog posts I will get to read?  3.  6.  Probably just 1 because my boys can sense when I’m actually free.  Just like they sense when I’ve stayed up too late and therefore they have to get up extra early to punish me.

Tornado E is sick.  And he is devastated.  My social butterfly cannot go to school and hone his fledgling skills as the class clown.  His teachers must be rejoicing.  I haven’t had the heart to tell him he will be missing his first t-ball practice tonight.  Not after his grandparents showered him with a new glove, bat, cleats, and pants yesterday.

So instead, I plugged him into the TV.  It’s the only thing that will keep him the f- down.  Nothing else will.  Play-dough: for five minutes.  Toys: for five minutes.  Coloring: no.  Board games: until he loses.  Puzzles: the hell no.  So I play the bad mom and let my kids become TV zombies as I cross things off my list and write and let Tornado A follow me around the house.

Then will come The Day After the Illness.  And Hell will break loose because I won’t allow the zombies to feast on hours of cartoons.  I won’t let them just sit around.  I won’t let them whine.  Then I’ll start thinking about getting rid of the TV.

Or the kids.

I haven’t decided which yet.  Ask me in a couple of days.

A Clue that they’re watching too much tv

I’ve admitted that I have let the TV be on more than it usually is or should as I nurse myself through morning sickness.

Yesterday I was reading in my bed during nap time, nursing myself through the stupid cough lingering from my cold two weeks ago.  The boys entered my room from waking up from their naps.

Tornado E: Mommy!  There are no cartoons on for me!

Tornado S: Cartoons, Mommy!  Cartoons!

Crap.  Well, isn’t this a bad mommy moment?  Isn’t it awesome that I just realized I have my energy back?  So the mean mommy can arise and keep the damn TV to a minimum.  So who wants to decorate for Halloween?  Who wants to make Halloween decorations?

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Teenage Attitude

Evan: Mommy, can I watch Backyardigans for a second?


Me: Yes.


(five minutes later)


Me: Evan, I need you to set the table.


Evan: Not right now, Mommy.  I’m watching Backyardigans.  Shh.  I’ll do it in a little while.


Oh, really?

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The Second Child Around

“Want some,” Sean says as he reaches out to the hamburgers cooking on the grill.  His hand makes the milk sign of open and closing fist.  Funny, we only taught Evan that sign, which he used it for everything.  Sean uses the word “juice” for everything.  I was planning on teaching Sean sign language, but then Evan had refused to learn once he realized no one else used it to communicate unless it was with him.  Ha, he’s not a baby; he’s people too.  After reading Badmommymoment’s blog, I got to paying attention what was different with Sean.


Candy.  That was Evan’s favorite word at this age.  He always wanted CANDYYYY.  And we were the bad parents that let him beg and receive CANDYYYY.  Oh, those dirty, judgmental looks we would receive in public when Evan began to beg for CANDYYYY.  Even two of our single friends cornered my husband to register a complaint against the candy giving (don’t you love how single and without kids have opinions on how you rais your kids?).  Of course, Evan hadn’t realized that raisins, freeze dried fruit, and fruit snacks made with juice were not actually candy.  God, we were so smart.  CANDYYYY.  You want candy?  Here, have some raisin candy.  Mmmm, good. Except Evan got older and learned that a raisin was a raisin and a freeze dried strawberry was a strawberry, and of course chocolate and gooey sugar were candy.  What could we do?  But the draw back is that Sean knows what CANDYYYY is.  But instead of saying CANDYYYY, he AHHHHHHs, reaching towards the marshmallows or the M&Ms.  If you feed him some marshmallows mixed with freeze dried apples, he’ll humor you for a little while before begging for more marshmallows.


Ah, PEZ dispensers, the perfect toy for a child too young to have an action figure.  They have the heads of various favorite cartoon characters and perfect for toddler hands to carry.  That is until a grandparent (or in my case, MY parents) actually put PEZ in them.  Then the toddler realizes that they are for CANDYYYY.  Now I have Sean bringing me the PEZ dispensers, making his ah sound, forcing it back in my hand when I try to give it back or play with it.  Come on, Mom, I need the sweet stuff; just one little taste, Mom; come one, Mom; I’m your baby boy; you love me; just one little piece.  Now the Shrek, the Donkey, the countless Star Wars dispensers have turned against me, becoming instruments of whining instead of peace makers as they were originally intended.


With way too many small party, small choking hazards that they call toys for those who are three and up.  They litter my house.  Sean has naturally gravitated to Evan’s toys, and often Evan is seen playing with Sean’s toys.  Sean will sit for hours (ok a half an hour, but in toddler time that’s like 3 hours) playing a Duplo boy into the police car or police SUV while opening the car doors and playing the music (“We’re Tonka; we’re here to rescue you”! {Not getting the button stuck so you don’t sing for 15 minutes might help in rescuing me, especially if you got me some nice Advil}).  While watching him figure out toys meant for someone two years older is really cool, realizing that Sean has a marble in his mouth is frightening.  I don’t even know how Evan got to the marbles any way.  They’re not even his!  Sure, Evan popped coins in his mouth every chance he gets (but Sean doesn’t), but he chewed on them.  Sean rolls the marble around his mouth with his tongue.


The dreaded high chair.  Evan was forced out of his high chair at two and half when one of our friends was kind enough to buy him a booster chair for Christmas, so that we could put Sean in the high chair at dinner time instead of on a little chair on top of the kiddie table.  Sean LOVES the booster chair.  He scrambles up into it every meal, trying to convince us to let him sit there and just put Evan over there in that thing.  Right.  Granted, I have turned around to find Sean sitting in his high chair waiting for the tray and his food.  God only knows how he got in it, and we have the nice, hard Mexican tile.  But Sean wants to be like every one else and sit at the table.  (Another thank you to my parents for introducing this to my boys.)  Maybe I’ll ask the same friend to buy Sean a booster for Christmas.


Then there’s the TV, which poor Sean was born to.  Evan had a television ritual firmly in placed by the time Sean came.  Morning with Mickey for Mommy’s shower; Afternoon’s with Sesame Street for cooking dinner; DVD time before bedtime so Mommy could do her daily chores so she could get to bed early and stop lugging around the great belly that would be Sean.  During breastfeeding, the TV was turned on if Evan wouldn’t stop climbing on me, disrupting Sean.  So of course, Sean knew Mickey, Elmo, and Shrek much earlier than Evan. 


But not all of this bad first time parenting is a curse.  Like I said Sean has figured out how to manipulate toys that are suppose to be too advance for him.  While he knows what a treat is, he believes he should get a sticker for brushing his teeth just like Evan.  Now that Sean is paying attention to the shows, he walks straight over to the TV to play the games and solve the puzzles.  Of course he uses more sentences than Evan did at this age with his “Want that,” “Want some,” “Want more.”  And then he also says “Pease” and “dank u.”  Maybe I can get this Mommy thing down.  I just have to be a little looser than they suggested. 


Hey!  You’re not eating Yoda’s Head, are you?  Sean!  Don’t run!

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The problem with stairs, early walkers, and TV

After reading holeycheese’s response to the kid room post, I realized how aggravating having a second floor was.  I grew up in Arizona, and for a long time, the vast majority of houses were single story.  Until twenty or so years ago, I would say that nearly every house was a single story in the city I grew up in.  Due to the heat, second stories are not practical; they become too hot and take lots of money to keep them cool.  When I was a kid, I dreamed of a second story house.


Until I had babies, I loved climbing the stairs to the second story.  Wait, scratch that.  It was when I was pregnant that I first started hating second stories.   In my first trimester, I remember the desperate need to vomit when I was half way up the stairs.  I only made it to the doorway of the master bedroom.  Then in my third trimester, I hated heaving my bulk up the stairs like Jabba the Hut.  Then with babies, I became dependent on the pack-n-play and the baby monitor.  We rarely played upstairs.


Evan was an early walker.  I don’t say this to brag but to point out the colossal stress this caused.  At ten months, he was walking around with no problem.  (He began walking because he realized our friends’ kids didn’t crawl when they played chase.)  I was not ready.  I was in desperate need of him to stay in his pack-n-play and be content.  Or in his swing or jumper or anything that kept him immobile.  Ha.  Evan was determined to move.


At this time I was desperate to keep that vile TV from polluting my son’s expanding mind.  I took my showers during to morning naps; I cooked simple, quick meals with a baby on my hip; I desperately tried to remember every song and nursery rhyme I was ever taught.  I was blissfully unaware of the world around me; Evan was blissfully unaware of damaging influences like the Tellytubbies, the Roadrunner, Mickey Mouse, Sesame Street.  I thought I was making in roads to being to perfect Mom with a genius kid.  Just think what his un-television mind could achieve: brain surgeon, Supreme Court Justice, Nobel Prize winner.


Then one day I decided to make something a little more complicated at the stove.  I don’t remember what.  Maybe it was spaghetti or fried chicken or stir fry.  Whatever it was it was too complicated to keep Evan in my arms as I worked over the stove.  I placed Evan in the family room surrounded by his favorite toys, believing he had enough to entertain him for ten minutes or so.


About eight minutes or so, I heard a baby whine over the sizzling stove.  I turned around to find Evan was not in the family room.  Worry filled me.  I was now the worse mom in the world.  I followed the whines up the stairs, into the master bedroom, into the bathroom, to find Evan sitting in a sink that was filling with hot water as he tried desperately to get himself and his monkey out of the sink.


My eleven month old son walked out of the family room, crawled up the stairs, and walked into the master bathroom.  He climbed the steps up to the bath and climbed from the bath to the counter.  He sat in the sink with his monkey and turned on the water.  All because his mind grew bored of his toys.


I was defiantly the worse mother in the world.  As I pulled Evan out of the sink, I realized that he was crying because he couldn’t get out, not because the water was burning him.  Thankfully I had turned down the water heater temperature when we first brought Evan home.  I still dropped him into the bath, running cold water over him, just in case.  That poor monkey was never the same as he does not howl like a howler monkey should.


That’s it I thought.  I need to keep Evan safe.  Because our stairs are plain weird, we couldn’t put a gate at the bottom or top.  I tried gating the sunken family room, but that little stinker figured out in a week to haul himself up and through the banister that separated the rooms.  He hated anything that kept him from being mobile.  So I turned to the one thing I swore I would never turn to, I turned on the television and found an age appropriate show, which held his attention for ten minutes, enough time where I could salvage dinner from the mess I left it in.


From that day forward I used TV sparingly as a babysitter.  Evan was (and is) a mobile kid, and he never watched any show for more than ten to fifteen minutes.  But that was enough time to get the trickiest part of the dinner done or get some chores taken care of.  Today I use the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show to get ready for the day and make my list of chores or groceries.  PBS entertains the boys while I make dinner.  When I was pregnant, I started DVD time, which calms Evan down for bedtime and gave me an hour or so to clean the kitchen and start laundry as I was too tired to stay up for more than an hour or so after Evan’s bedtime.


Now my husband disagrees with this approach of parenting.  Granted he’s never watched the kids by himself for a full day.  He’s never had to clean the house, do any chores, or cook a meal when he was watching the boys.  Actually the last time he watched the boys during lunch time, he piled them in the car and took them to In-N-Out.  Did I mention he’s also against giving them fast food?  On Saturday mornings, my husband is the one who turns on the TV, and he was the one who introduced Evan to Mickey Mouse.  Before that the TV was always on some sort of PBS programming, except Tellytubbies. 


My belief is everything in moderation.  How can we give our kids the tools to survive out there without a lesson in moderation?  It’s all a balance.  They have to learn to work and play.  They need to learn that they can have a healthy diet and still have some fast food or dessert on occasion.  They need to learn that you don’t have to be drunk to have a good time; they can drink in moderation.  I’m not sure watching TV or eating dessert will have all the effects I want, but at least I have a half an hour to take a shower, brush my teeth, and put something on with a little style.  (Bleach stained isn’t a style yet, right?)