Crafty Daddy!

My husband is just the craftiest, handiest person I have ever met.  In fact, I don’t even give him enough credit.  Most of the time, I get an idea in my head of what I want, send him a picture and then say “but we can always buy it if you can’t make it”.  He always tells me it will be no problem, for some reason I get nervous, and then he creates this masterpiece better than I could have ever imagined!   I will post some other items in future blogs, but for now I will share his latest creation: our playroom dress up corner!

I’ve seen several versions of this on various blogs, and I’ve always wanted to create one for my daughter.  So, a few months back, my husband and I took the first step:  We found an old dresser at an estate sale for $20.00.  It sat and collected dust for the last few months…..until this weekend.  We’ve spent the last few months creating a beautiful playroom for our daughter (I’ll have to share more pictures of the space in the future because it I am absolutely in love with it!).  The dresser-converted-to-dress-up-station is one of the amazing pieces that can be found in the space.

It was a fairly simple project, too!  First, my husband took out all of the drawers with the exception of the large bottom drawer.  Next, he painted the dresser to match the primary color theme in the room.  Adding plywood and paneling we already had at home, he was able to cover the inside of the “closet”.  From the hardware store, we picked up three knobs at $0.99 ea and the pole to hang the clothes for $6.00.  The blue paint was about $10.00, so the entire project was done for under $40.00!  In addition to being just a fun addition to the room, I love finding inexpensive ways to use old pieces.

Now, to gather some dress up clothes to fill that closet!!!

Mom Cave Part II – The Makeshift Cave

We all have them – our makeshift mom caves that we retreat to when we need a moment to ourselves.  I realized after writing my blog this week that I have several.  Granted they are not a room full of windows with a cup of coffee and an arm chair, but I have created little caves for myself to hide in every so often.

I already mentioned my bathroom cave.  Being that the bathrooms in our house are the only rooms with doors that lock, it only makes sense that I retreat there every so often.  My bedroom bathroom is the best because it connects to my walk-in closet so I don’t have to actually hang out in the bathroom.  I turn the bathroom fan on, lock the door and ta-da – a temporary mom cave.

Another place of quiet for me is my car at lunch.  My office is near a lake.  Some days I drive up to the beach parking lot and just sit in my car for an hour.  I might watch a show on my phone, take a nap, or maybe just sit by myself and enjoy the quiet.  What’s funny is there is always at least 3 other cars there with people doing the same thing.

The steam room at the gym.  This is the ultimate cave.  I don’t even have my cell phone on me so I am 100% on my own.  I can only handle 10 min in there, but I love every second of it.

Now that I am writing this out it sounds more pathetic then it did in my head.  But as a working mom, I have people pulling at me constantly.  My little retreats, even if they are short lived, are a way for me to balance my needs and my responsibilities. 

So I know you all have them – lets hear what you do or where you go just to get away (even for a few minutes).

Mom Cave

I walked in on my husband the other day watching a show called ManCaves.  It’s this show where they come into a guy’s house and remodel a room into a space for the man of the house to go and relax.  The show started with them showing this man’s wife and kids.  It showed him dressed up, coming home from a long day at the office.  Basically painting this picture of how busy this man is with no escape.  By the end of the first segment you are supposed to feel like this guy deserves a place of his own to be alone and relax.  A whole room (or in this case a whole basement) should be converted for him because he deserve it.  Bull shit!

I look over at my hubby who is obviously dreaming of his future man cave while I am getting pissed off the more I watch this ridiculous show.  I tend to look too far into things, and take most things too personal – but come on!!  Why does this man need his own room to escape reality?

In my world my hubby and I split the responsibilities of our lives down the middle.  We both work full time jobs.  I drop Stinky off at day care, and he picks him up.  He sleeps in on Saturdays, I sleep in on Sundays.  One person cooks dinner, and the other cleans up after dinner.  It’s a team effort.  The idea that he feels he deserves a place in the house that he can go and check out is ridiculous!  Unless of course, with every man cave built, there was also a mom cave.

Every man cave on the show is pretty much the same thing – a huge TV and beer coolers.  If I had a mom cave it would look like this:

First it would be very bright.  Lots of windows that I can open on a nice day.  I would have a little kitchenette with a coffee pot.  I would have a TV, but nothing crazy.  Just something to watch the cheesy shows I love.  I wouldn’t have much furniture, but I would want a huge overstuffed armchair.  I would have a big table setup to do a puzzle without the fear of the dog or child bumping it and loosing a piece.  It would be a very peaceful, simple and most importantly, quiet room with a lockable door.

So TLC if you are reading this I would love to be your first renovation on the Mom Cave show.  Until then I will settle for pretending to use the bathroom for a few minutes to myself.

I’ll DOOOOOOOO it!

This phrase more than any can be heard in my household at any given moment throughout the day.  Most of the time it is being yelled, and can often times be followed by a tantrum.

Prime Example:

Last night, I’m getting my daughter ready for bed.  We have a routine:  I put her “sleepy” on (a wearable blanket by Halo that signals bedtime for her),  get her a warm glass of milk, and we snuggle on the couch before bed.  Well, yesterday she decided she wanted to get her own milk…….it started when I got her cup down from the cupboard with an “I’ll Hold It”…….Fine, I thought and handed her the cup.  I do like that she wants to try everything on her own.  In fact, as a result of her independence, she is the only child in her daycare class that can pretty much dress and undress herself when the kids go outside to play…… she often helps to dress or undress her friends as well and the teacher loves the help! 

In any event, back to “milk tantrum”:  I had her walk over to the fridge holding the cup, and proceeded to fill it with milk……she did okay with that.  We then walked over to the microwave and she wanted to put it in the microwave……”I’ll DOOOOOOO it” she screamed.  I just looked at her and firmly told her that I was going to do it, and proceeded to attempt to pull it out of her hand.  This resulted in milk alllll over my kitchen floor as she did not want to give up control.  Eventually, I get the now less full milk cup into the microwave.  At this point she still has the lid for her sippy cup in her hand…….the microwave beeps, and she is looking at me and screaming her “I’ll DOOOOOO it” (lid clamped TIGHTLY in her hand).  I pull the milk out of the microwave (she is visibly upset she couldn’t pull it out herself), and squat down so she can set the lid on the cup (which she cannot screw on and tighten).  After she has placed it on, I pull it out of her reach and tighten the lid…….well, this is just the end of the world……She takes the cup in her hand and is screaming “NO! NO! I’ll DOOOO it! OFF!  OFF!” and she attempts to pry the lid off between yelling at me and tears.

I am sure this scenario is quite common, but I sort of struggled with how to handle the situation.  I know she is very independent, but there are many things that she can’t do.  In fact, I knew going into the whole milk fiasco that there weren’t any parts of the process that she could really do herself without making a mess……

How would you have handled this situation?  Would you have let her try like I did, or would you have taken your child out of the process all together?   Do you let your child attempt to do things (like tying their shoe, or getting their milk, or zipping their coat) that they clearly are too young to do, or do you avoid the meltdown and just take control?

Would love advice!

It Doesn’t Matter if Your Black or White

If you come over to my house on any given night in the spring/summer we will have the Twins game on. If you come over during the winter on the weekends we will have a football game on. But there is always this awkward period of time between the end of football season and the beginning of baseball season where we get so desperate to watch some sport we end up watching basketball. Which is exactly the case last night.

After watching a few games this year Stinky has started to learn some of the player’s names. Last night he asks what “that black guy’s” name is. As my hubby and I try to clarify exactly which guy he is talking about, he keeps pointing to a white guy calling him the black guy.

We have had several conversations already with Stinky about his race. He knows his daddy has darker skin then his mom. He is very proud when he explains he is a little bit of daddy and a little bit of mommy which means he has both of our skin colors. So my hubby and I were beyond confused when he kept calling a white man black in the game.

Then it hit us that he was not talking about skin color at all. He was talking about their uniforms. One team was wearing all black and the other all white.

It reminded me how innocent he is. At 4 years old, skin color is just one attribute of who he is. It doesn’t hold any of the social stereotypes yet. He is completely unaware that there are people who use skin color to judge who a person is.

It also reminded me of the responsibility I have to teach him to be proud of who he is without degrading someone who is not like him. I have explained to him in the past that we are all brown, just different shades. My goal was to instill in him that we are all equal. Not one skin color is better or worse then another.

But at the same time I want him to know the cultures he comes from. I want him to understand his roots and to be proud of them. I want him to be proud and confident of who he is. Not just his race, but everything about him.

It sucks that we live in a world with so much hatred towards people because of their race. It’s easy to talk to Stinky about how his eyes are brown because no one is going to judge him based on that fact. I have no hesitation when he distinguishes himself as a brown eyed kid. But I can’t help but cringe a little when he points out how dark someone’s skin is. I don’t want it to matter to him. But the beauty is it doesn’t matter to him. It is just another attribute that makes that person who he is. There is no negative connotation associated with recognizing someone’s skin being darker then his own. The ugly world we live in hasn’t made its impression yet on my little boy. Thinking less about someone based on their skin color is as absurd in his mind as judging someone based on their height. He has no clue what people have gone through in the past to make it even possible for him to live the life he has with the parents that he has.

So what do you think? When is an appropriate age to even teach your child that there are prejudices out there? I want to be the one that teaches him, but hate the idea of bursting the bubble he currently lives in where everyone is treated equal.

Thank god we are not hippos!

From time to time I try to broaden Stinky’s television options to a non-kids show. I can only take so many cartoons. So last night after dinner when he suggested watching TV together I was determined to find a show that we would both be entertained by. I happened to stumble upon the National Geographic channel show about hippos. We were both sucked in instantly watching these giant creatures get their teeth cleaned by fish, let turtles ride on their heads, and scare off crocodiles. I was so excited that even though there was no cartoon train singing about feelings, Stinky was still totally entertained by the show.

One of the focal points of the show was a brand new baby hippo. The calf and his mother bonded away from their herd for several weeks before they would rejoin the group. Throughout the show they would revisit the mother and son as she taught him how to come up for air and stay by her side. I guess I don’t really watch that many National Geographic shows, but I assumed nothing would happen to this baby. Well I was wrong.

At the end of the show they show the mother bringing her son to meet the herd for the first time. The narrator says something like “the next 2 minutes will be the calf’s biggest test of survival yet”. Wait what….

Turns out the male hippos see any new male as a threat to the possibility of becoming the dominate male one day, even babies. The mother has to protect her baby from the other males in the group until the group accepts him. Starting to get nervous that my son is about to watch something horrible I consider changing the channel. I should have…

To my horror, one of the males started to chase the baby who is trying to swim away. He ended up catching it and killing it. But the scene was fairly graphic including the squeals the baby made every time he came out of the water trying to get away. I look over at Stinky who seems to be taking it well. As the tears start to well in my eyes they then show the mother catching up to her lifeless baby lying in the water. As she nudges him in attempt to wake him up the narrator says something ridiculously depression follow by a scene of the mom desperately trying to bring the baby up to the surface to breathe.

With the tears now flowing I can’t see much, but I can see Stinky on my right and my hubby on my left both starring at me. I try to argue how sad this was to me without traumatizing my son (who most likely thinks the baby hippo is taking a nap). But every time I try to talk it just makes me cry more. Then I take it to the next level of craziness and start laughing at the fact that I can’t stop crying. Then looking at Stinky’s face trying to figure out what the hell is happening to his mom makes me laugh even harder – but still crying. I was a mess to say the least. I will never watch National Geographic again and thank god we are not hippos!

Murphy’s Law

Murphy’s Law = “If something can go wrong, it will and usually at the worst time.”

Living with a toddler I experience Murphy’s Law on a daily basis.  From a hotdog landing ketchup side down on our cream carpet, to Stinky having to poop as we are about to leave on days we are running late.  “Of course you do” or “of course it did” are very common phrases in our house. 

One particular situation is guaranteed to be cursed by Murphy is Stinky waking up before it is time.  I could handle him getting up in the middle of the night.  Fix whatever is wrong, have him crawl in our bed and everyone goes back to sleep.  But that wouldn’t fall under the law.  Instead, he gets up less than an hour before my alarm is set to go off.  It is absolutely the worst because by the time I get him to fall back asleep I have just enough time to fall asleep myself before I hear the dreaded alarm.

This is the exact situation I lived this morning.  4:15am he is out in the hallway crying.  Checking my phone and seeing what time it is all I can think of is “of course he is up right now”.  I did manage to get him to fall back asleep right before my alarm starts to go off so at least he got some more sleep.  Needless to say today is a 3 cup, ponytail day (see this post).  If anyone needs me I will be napping under my desk.