tales from a stay-at-home mom of four boys

Archive for the tag “children”

Kindergarten and a vasectomy

Just about a year ago, I was preparing my family to start a new life, in a new state, far away from all our friends and family. At the same time I was planning a birthday party for my three sons, who were turning 1, 3, and 5. It was at that point in time that I looked at the life I had and I looked at my future ahead of me and I thought, “Yep, I’m done. Our family is complete.” Fast forward a little less than a year to this fall where I found myself faced with two major life changes; my oldest starting all day kindergarten and my husband finally making the appointment for the vasectomy he had been promising for over two years (yes, before our youngest was even out of the womb). Suddenly, I realized, that nothing will make you question your life decisions more than a kid starting kindergarten and a husband’s impending vasectomy.

I swear it, a year ago I was done! No more babies for me! I was down to a happy size six, I had two out of three kids out of diapers, and I was finally able to free up some room in my garage by getting rid of all the baby toys and clothes that my youngest had out grown instead of saving them for the next one. I felt free! So when my husband told us that we would be moving away from everyone that we knew shortly after my youngest turned one, any sadness that I felt about “my baby turning one” was overtaken by the terror of “oh god, I can’t imagine having another kid without all my friends and family around to help. I’m not sure how I’m going to survive without them all with the three kids that I’ve already got!” So as I packed and purged in preparation for our move, I dumped all things maternity and baby that I could. Goodbye maternity clothes and post-baby-body clothes. Goodbye newborn to 9 month baby clothes. Goodbye co-sleeper. Goodbye Bumby, bouncer, glider, and high chair. Goodbye double stroller, the other two can walk. Goodbye anything baby related that we wouldn’t need in two months when we finally unpacked!

As we got settled in our new home and I started to unpack, it felt good to not be bogged down with all the baby stuff that had cluttered our lives for the past five years. The kids were growing up and becoming a little more independent, playing for longer stretches without needing me to entertain them or intervene. They were doing more and more on their own, so my husband and I began to entertain the idea of getting our lives back a little and began imagining the things that we would soon be able to do with the kids getting older. This went on through the summer until late July, that’s when my husband came home with a date for his vasectomy. He would do it at the end of the summer, just before our oldest started all day kindergarten. I should have been over the moon at the idea of all the freedom we were about to have, but instead, it all hit me like a ton of bricks. By summer’s end we would be starting our first child down the road of full time school. It would only be a matter of time until he’d be off to college (like 13 years)! We’d also be sealing our fate and ensuring that there would be no “oops-baby” a few years down the line, like we always joked about. Our years of parenting young children was suddenly getting so short. To make it worse, my kids were so darn cute! Were we really ready for the beginning of the end?

That’s when I came up with a crazy idea. What if we just threw caution to the wind and let fate decide our future for us? After a vasectomy, a man has 3-6 months in which he could still be potent before he starts firing blanks. What if we just had at it from that very moment until, well, pretty much forever? If we got pregnant before my husband’s boys ran dry, then it was meant to be. If not, then it wasn’t meant to be. Surprisingly, my husband agreed. I guess I wasn’t the only one suffering from the effects of the life decision questioning events of kindergarten and a vasectomy.


Total mom fail

I’m no bento box lunch making, Pinterest goddess mother, but I do try to give my kids healthy lunches. My oldest started full day kindergarten this year, so I’ve had to venture into the world of sack lunches with him. Despite my planning and prepping, I’ve been far from a stellar lunch-making mama.

Ok, so the first week I was pretty good, with cutely cut sandwiches and a serving of at least one protein, two fruits, and one veggie, along with fun pictures draw on the baggies the snacks were stored in. I even had a bin of prepped snacks to pick from for him to make lunch making easier and quicker. By the end of the first week though, he’d grown tired of sandwiches every day, so I started to mix things up with things like “ham rolls,” but then I decided that he was eating too much ham and too much deli meat and needed some healthier variety. Of course, I also decided that I was tired of all the constant meal prep and that making three meals a day for everyone, often at five different times during the day, was becoming more than I could handle. I started to look for quick but still somewhat healthy fixes at about the third week. On really tiring days, I started just throwing some prepackage peanut butter crackers in as the protein and calling it a day. Then I felt guilt and figured I better up my game a little. That’s when my son mentioned hummus and I thought I found my new quick fix solution, but with more nutritional value; something I could feel good about. So last night, I packed my son some red pepper hummus with little baby carrots, crackers, and green olives in a Tupperware container. Then I threw in some apple sauce and of course a special treat. I felt pretty good about that lunch, despite not feeling great about the Tupperware that barely fit in his lunch box and was secured with a rubber band to ensure it stayed closed.

When this morning came, my son was having a rough morning and was cranky. I couldn’t wait to get him out the door, but I really hoped that his day would get better once he got to school. I even emailed his teacher to give her some warning about his mood. I tried not to worry about him during the day and figured all was going fine. Then he got of the bus, in the pouring rain, with no rain jacket. I gave him mine and dashed home. Once we got home, I did what I always do, I opened his backpack to check his folder for work and and lunch box to see how he ate. My heart sank as I opened the lunch box to find hummus everywhere and the food still in it. I asked him what happened. He said the hummus was all over everything when he opened the lunch box, so he couldn’t eat anything (except the Kit Kat of course). I felt so awful. Then I found a note in his folder that we owed 40 cents for “emergency lunch = milk.” So all the poor kid had all day was a milk and a Kit Kat bar (not even full size, just a snack size one). I felt like the world’s worst mom. My son’s day had started off rotten and instead of it turning around once he got to school, it only got worse thanks to my fail of a lunch! The only way I could’ve been a bigger failure was if I’d forgotten my kid’s lunch all together and never realized it until he got home.

So after I fed my son a sandwich, I went right to work on tomorrow’s lunch, to ensure I got this one right. As requested, I made just a regular sandwich, in a plain plastic bag, that seals. And of course, just to make up for today, I threw in an extra treat. At least if his lunch somehow explodes in his bag tomorrow, he’ll have a Kit Kat and some candy corn to eat.

Death by parenting

I’m sure that I heard from multiple sources that having kids is a lot of work and exhausting work at that, but I don’t think anyone ever told me that having kids might kill me.

I have three boys; three very active boys. Whenever people see me braving the outside world with these three boys (who are spaced out in age at two year intervals), they make comments like “Wow, you’ve got your hands full!” Or “I bet they keep you busy.” But unless you’ve had three boys this close in age, you have no idea what it is really like.

As of this fall, my sons will be 2, 4, and 6 years old. Fun ages for sure, but also very trying ones. My almost 2 year old is at an age where he wants to be just like his older brothers and thinks he can do what he older do, but he lacks the motor skills and sense of danger that his older brothers have begun to accumulate with age. In recent days he has decided to: ride his riding toy down the middle of the street (twice), attempted to climb to the third story on a play structure, pushed a step stool over to our bar stools in order to climb up to the bar, tried to ride his brother’s Razor scooter, fallen and split his chin open on said Razor scooter requiring stitches, continual climbed up on and hung off of any and all tables, danced on the coffee table until he feel off backwards, jumped repeatedly from the coffee table to the couch, tried to figure out how the lawn mower works, stood on chairs to reach the water machine on the refrigerator, found out what happens when you put plastic toys in a fan, and attempted to climb the hill across the street and then jump off the hill into our neighbors backyard. Those of you with a two year old might think that sounds like a typical day for you. Those without a two year old might think that is enough to do a person in. Well, that is just one of my three boys. My almost four year old isn’t as daring, but he tends to be on the receiving end of his older brother’s wrath most of the time, which leads to lots of tears and many falls. My middle son takes falls (pushed or otherwise) from chairs, tables, scooters, stairs, beds, couches, and the stone wall. He also gets hit by many things such as: toys, plastic bottles, Legos, clothes, pillows, controllers, shoes, and balls. There is no end to the bumps and bruises, scratches and scrapes that this one gets. As for my oldest, my almost six year old, he is the most trying and troublesome one of all. Not only does he make constant demands upon me with no ability to wait for things, but he is also at an age where he is constantly pushing the envelope and doing things he knows he shouldn’t be doing. I feel like this past month I have become a warden constantly doling out consequences and enforcing punishments. He is going to kindergarten in a few weeks and I’ve been trying to explain to him that he is going to have new responsibilities, but also new privileges. He has taken this to mean that he is now a big boy and can do all sorts of big boy things that he clearly isn’t ready for. Among these privileges that he mistakenly thinks he has are: the ability to use art supplies, including scissors and paint, whenever he wants, taking a shower in the bathroom that doesn’t have a shower curtain, riding his bike halfway down the block with the 11 year old neighbor, ride his bike in the street, use a knife to cut food, cooking things in the toaster oven, turn the electric fire place on, go outside without permission, and using tools such as,hammers and nails, while I’m putting the baby down for nap.

All of these recent “adventures” with my boys are raising my blood pressure and some days (like today), I feel like my head is going to explode. My heart has skipped a beat more times than I can count in the last month or two, and I’m pretty sure the amount of grey hairs I have has doubled since summer began. The fact that we’ve made it this far into summer vacation with only one ER visit amazes me. If school weren’t just around the corner, I’m pretty sure I would just collapse and die one day soon and my official cause of death would be “mothering three young boys.” Let’s just hope I don’t have to change the name of this blog anytime in the near future.


Conversation with a 5 year old

The following conversation occurred during our car ride home from school today after my son had been playing outside in the dirt.

“Mom, I need to clean my hands.”
“We will wash our hands as soon as we get home.”
“No, I need to clean them now!”
“I want to pick my nose.”
“Well, picking your nose is dirty and you’d have to wash them again anyway if you pick your nose.”
“But I want to pick my nose and I don’t want to get sand in my nose!”
“Well how about you just not pick your nose because that is gross.”
“No! I want to pick my nose!”
“Why do you want to pick your nose so bad?”
“Because I like to.”


When vacations go bad: tales of a toxic trip

TMI warning: do not read if you cannot handle human bodily functions.

I need to get the toxins from this last “vacation” out of my system. So as a sit in the bath, trying to wash away the memories of the last few days, I decided that the best way to do that was to put it all out into cyberspace.

With only a week left until we move into our new home, the three boys and I ventured off on a “family vacation.” It was only a family vacation because we were traveling back to our previous habitat in the desert to meet up with family that still live there and more family that were coming in from out of town. Our family, however, was not complete because my husband stayed behind to work and we would not have chosen this location for our vacation had it been a true family vacation. Of course, after the events of the past few days, I’m not sure any of us will choose this location as a vacation destination again.

The trip started off beautifully, a little over a week ago. All three boys behaved nicely on the airplane back to the desert. The fact that the boys behaved so well on our first flight without Dad since the third son was born should have been the first sign that something was amiss and that I would pay later. Upon arriving in the desert, the two youngest and my sinuses instantly flared with allergies that we thought we had left long behind. Our skin began to shrivel and dry as if we were never once accustomed to the desert climate. Noses ran like faucets, throat stung like cacti, and hacking coughs sounded throughout the night like a coyote’s howl. Yet we sallied forth knowing that they were only allergies and could not keep us from the once a year rendezvoused we had with our cousins. Everyone was getting along. Sure there were the usual family squabbles; grandparents becoming overwrought with too many grandchildren in their house at once, siblings razzing siblings, arguments over who had dibs on the next margarita out of the blender; but everything was going well. that’s when the second omen occurred. It snowed in the desert (or at least in all the surrounding towns but where we were). Not quite as biblical as raining frogs, but we’re talking about a place where the slightest bit of rain garners breaking news updates as if it were the hurricane of the century, so snow is kind of a big deal. That’s when I made, what I believe to be, my crucial mistake; we went to the kid pit at the mall. We didn’t stay long, but I forgot to bathe my children in sanitizer when we were finished and then fed them a snack. After that, things took a real turn for the worse.

My kids went to sleep relatively easily (which I should have taken as sign #3), so I thought that I’d actually get to hang out and have drinks with my siblings. By 9:00, my middle child woke up very unhappy. I went into him just in time to move him away from the mattress that his two other brothers slept on before he vomited all over me and himself. I quickly moved him to the bathroom where he vomited more before I could get him near the toilet. I screamed for help, unsure if he got it on either of his brothers or had woken them, and waited an eternity for my befuddled mother to come in to help. Apparently once you get your kids through childhood, you don’t deal much with other people puking and begin to lose that quick response and sense of know-how that parents of young children seem to have. So I began barking orders like a drill Sargent while quietly praying between breaths that it was just food poisoning. Once we thought he was done, I changed both our sets of clothing and brought him out to the greatroom area (living/dining room combo for those of you unfamiliar) and began trying to figure out what to do about sleeping arrangements. That’s about when he projectile vomited all over the floor and us again. My dear old dad didn’t miss a beat, he looked over at the mess and promptly turned up the volume on the crime drama he was watching. Some shuffling of sleeping arrangements was done (thanks to my sister), more silent prayers were said, and I took my two youngest to bed with a puke bucket in hand. A few hours later, we did a similar song and dance. My mom came in to help, this time with her “puking child” wits about her, and for good reason. Apparently she had already dealt with my oldest puking all over himself as he sleep in her room several times. I still secretly held out hope of food poisoning since the two of them shared the same thing for dinner, but even more secretly, I was trying to keep down the possible reality of the situation along with my own dinner. Fast forward several restless and sometimes puke filled hours later to late the next morning. I was roused from my second attempt at sleeping by my middle child spewing strawberries slices in the hallway and my youngest reacting with an incredibly scared shriek. I then receive confirmation that it was not food poisoning. My poor youngest niece had puked in the car on the way to breakfast, while sitting in the restaurant during breakfast, and then again on the way home from breakfast. After another change job, I take my son and the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach back to bed. Fast forward a few more hours and it is my turn with the puke bucket. Back to sleep again and I awake to an empty bed and voices from the next room asking my middle son if he is okay and my niece saying “I think he’s going to puke again.” I scramble to get out of bed as I hear my son puking across the room in what feels more like a museum of things kids shouldn’t touch than a living room. Now where exactly the puke landed, I will not say in case my mother reads this, but I will say thank god for my sister and her powers of cleaning. It is a good thing that my parents are old and therefor slow when they go out to the store (I love you mom). That day was topped of with yet another of the clan following victim to the stomach virus from hell when my oldest niece took to the puke bucket.

The next day we thought we were all on the mend. My oldest niece was still weak, but had stopped puking. So we all headed off to the zoo with multiple strollers for puke weakened children. Sure, not the best idea, but it was our last day in town and we had more family to meet up with. It was a tiring excursion, but no major problems. On the drive home my two youngest fell asleep. When we got to the house, my middle child wanted to continue sleeping, but instead, wandered around the house until after everyone was bathed and then threw up all over us both again. I treaded lightly with him that night, fearful because the next day was our flight home. He ended up being okay, despite a few scary moments, but my nephew then started throwing up, as well as having it come out the other end, all over the bed. Him seemed better by this morning, but then it was my brother-in-laws turn, only hours before a six hour flight with a layover. I don’t think any of us could get out of there fast enough. With only the memory of the last few days, I’m not sure any of us ever want to go back. My middle child is so traumatized that he now associates Nana’s house with throwing up.

By some miracle, we all made it to our final destinations without incident. My sister texted me that they had gotten home okay, but now she was feeling sick. I breathed a sigh of relief that it seemed to be done for at least my family. Ten minutes after my sister’s text, while my husband was at the store, I hear my oldest yell to me from the bathroom “Mom, I pooped myself.” This is when we get the shit cherry on the puke sundae. I go into to find that not only had he pooped his pants, but he must have tried to take his pants off after making this discovery. There was poop everywhere, all over the freshly cleaned bathroom. Not to be overly graphic, but it was in his underwear, on his jeans, his socks, all down his legs, on the floor, and all over the white towel. My stomach was just starting to feel better, but was still a little queasy after lunch today, and this did not help the cause. I began to retch as I attempted to clean it up and end up running for the other bathroom before getting very far. I called my husband frantic, praying that he was close, but he wasn’t close enough. So I ventured in again, trying to come up for air frequent enough that I didn’t puke all over my son. Despite this tactic, I was overtaken again and ran for the other bathroom only to find my 3 year old pooping on that toilet. Luckily I managed to keep myself from puking all over the only other bathroom and my husband finally showed up.

So now the kids are bathed and I am too and I really hope that this is truly over. Hopefully neither one for my parents end up with it and if my sister does get it, it moves quickly. I think we all just need to have a little selective amnesia and forget this toxic trip, or at least the last half of it. I say instead of meeting at my parent’s house for our annual family vacation next year, we take a real vacation and meet at an all inclusive resort where the only reason someone might get sick is from too many drinks, not that that’s any fun when you are parenting, but that’s a story for another time.


Potty training: Round two

Well here we go again. We are attempting to potty train our second child. Why I say “we”, I’m not really sure, since I do the majority of the work, but that’s probably a good thing, since my husband has no patience. Anyway, my middle son is about a month and a half shy of 3 and has been showing all the signs that he’s ready, so I decided to give it a go. I probably could have tried a little sooner but my first son wasn’t potty trained until almost 3 1/2 and, well, it is a pain to potty train.

Training a child to use the toilet is hard when it is just one kid, but now I have three. Okay, so one is pretty self-sufficient when it comes to using the bathroom and the other isn’t quite walking yet so he’s still pretty portable, but still, with three kids, I’m busy. I’m constantly on the go, taking the kids to school, lessons, play dates, and activities. We aren’t always around bathrooms and my oldest is so good about holding it and going to the bathroom on his own that I never really think about it anymore. I drive a minivan, I can always change a diaper in the back. Plus, it isn’t easy to drop everything and run a kid to the bathroom when you are out with three kids either. I trust my oldest, Who is almost 5, to go into single occupancy bathrooms on his own. Not to mention, for the first few months, during and after potty training, you have to carry extra clothes and the portable potty everywhere; that takes up space in the purse and I have enough stuff in my tote bag already. Then of course, there is the extra laundry to do from all the “accidents”. None of that is as bad though as the accidents themselves; especially the poopy ones. This is what I’m most frightened of. My oldest had a hard time with making it to the toilet for poops for several months after he was completely out of diapers. Luckily, most of his poops were nice solid nuggets that easily dumped into the toilet, so the occasional soft one was just thrown out with the underwear. My middle son, however, well…he loves his fruit, and that doesn’t translate well for potty accidents. I think this was the biggest factor that made me hesitant to potty train him.

Of course, I finally had to just tell myself that no matter how much of a pain it was going to be to potty train, it had to be done. Besides, once it is done, I won’t have to worry about my middle child’s horrible fruit poops, or carry around diapers for two kids anymore and I’d be saving money. Once it is done, life will be a little easier, at least until I have to potty train the third one. By then I should be an old pro at this though and maybe it won’t be so bad. In the meantime, I hope going through this for a second time isn’t too bad and doesn’t provide me with too many stories to blog about. A mom can dream right?


Learning the birds and the bees

Warning: TMI possible


So tonight I was in the bathroom doing my business with a 10 month old playing by the tub when my almost 3 year old walks in because, well, I’m not allowed to have a moment to myself, so at least 2 of the 3 kids must be present for  any normally private moment in my life.  As I finish up my business, my middle child gets a quizzical yet surprised look on his face and point toward my normally private area.  The following exchange takes place at this time.

What’s that? That peen? (his word for penis)

No, mommies don’t have peens. Mommies have vaginas. Boys have penises and girls have vaginas.

Mommy have no peen?

No, mommy is a girl and girls have vaginas. You are a boy, so you have a penis.

(Looking thoughtfully for a second) Mommy have vagina?

That’s right.

(He declares proudly) I have penis.

Yes because you are a boy and boys and girls are different. Girls have vaginas and boobies and boys have penises and no boobies.

(He turns toward his younger brother playing in the bathroom) It have a penis.

That’s right, your brother has a penis because he is a boy.

Daddy have a penis.

Yes, Daddy has a penis.

You have no penis, you have vagina.

That’s right

Then he just walked out of the bathroom happy with is new knowledge.  Hopefully all future sex talks with my children go that smoothly.


Sometimes a picture says it all

I was tidying up my son’s room today when I noticed this and thought it represent everyday life with my three sons so perfectly.



A chance of spotty showers


Earlier today I was trying to put my two youngest down for a nap when I heard the patio door open and then a few moments later close. A few minutes later, I walked into the living room to see me oldest son sitting on the couch playing on an iPad.



Me: Did you go out back?


Son: No.


I look out the back door.


Me: Did you pee outback?


Son: No.


Me: Then why is it wet?


Son: Um, it rained a little bit.


Me: In just one spot?


Son: Yup.



Somehow I’m not buying this story.

Janet’s not the only one with wardrobe malfunctions

I always say that once you have kids, you lose all modesty, or at least I did (read
death of my modesty ). That still doesn’t keep me from occasionally surprising myself with just how unembarrassed I am by what most would consider to be absolutely horrifyingly embarrassing. Most parents want to crawl into a hole somewhere when their kids misbehave or throw a tantrum in public because they worry they are being judged; not me. I know I’m being judged when my kids do this, I see the looks on all those self righteous people who act like their kids would never do that and they certainly didn’t act that way as a child, but I don’t care. I give those people the “oh blow it out your ass” look because I know that anyone who has ever been a parent has been in a similar situation and if they haven’t yet, they will be one day. So when my oldest child threw the nutty of all nutties the other day while dining at Chick-Fil-A (yes I know they are evil, seerage against the machine) I could care less about what all the judging gawkers thought of my parenting skills as I dealt with him and his behavior; that didn’t embarrass me. I wasn’t embarrassed the day earlier either, when I had an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction.

Maybe malfunction isn’t the correct term to use. My wardrobe was functioning as it should, it was my child that caused the problem. We were in the observation room at my oldest son’s swim lesson when my middle son decided that he wanted to go swimming and ran off towards the pool door. I ran after him and picked him up to bring him back to the room. I was wearing a spaghetti strap dress with no bra under it because, well it is 100 million degrees here in the summer and I just couldn’t deal with more layers of clothes than absolutely necessary, plus I’d been home all afternoon nursing so it didn’t even occur to me to put one on before leaving the house. In hindsight it probably wasn’t the best decision because when I picked my son up, he pulled on the top of my dress. I brought him back to the room and put him in time out for running off and not listening. As I turned around to grab my phone and set the timer, my husband motioned for me to fix my top. When I looked down, there was my left breast hanging out in all it’s glory (did I mention I was right in front of the window to the pool). Being the unabashed person that I am, I pulled my top up, put Lefty back in her place, and went about my business. It wasn’t until I looked up at the faces of those around me (my husband’s included) that I realized I was the least embarrassed person in the room, and it was my breast.

I guess after dealing with some of the things that go along with being a mother, I’ve learn that anything can happen (and often does) and to just roll with the punches. I’ve got so many other things to worry about that I don’t have time to worry about what strangers think of me. Besides, if Miss Jackson can bounce back from a wardrobe malfunction, so can I.


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