Kid Sabotage

I heard myself talking with my sister about some things going awry on my days at home with the kids, and it struck me that I am experiencing KID SABOTAGE from time to time.

What is Kid Sabotage?

The best way to define kid sabotage is a time when your own, adult plans are abruptly derailed due to your kids’ behavior. It’s a reality of being a parent – your time is not 100% your own anymore with kids who need your attention, care, and love.  And I’m okay with that…though I can’t help but get annoyed when I’m victim to kid sabotage.

my reaction to kid sabotage

Here’s my immediate reaction to kid sabotage (captured thanks to my dear husband)

Examples of kid sabotage:

  • I sit down after lunch to quickly pay some bills online. My dear son manages to press that big round button next to the green light and turn off the computer.
  • I just replaced the bathmat only to have my son “miss” the toilet. Laundry is a constant in our house…oh well.
  • My daughter shows me an unwrapped gift that I JUST bought an hour earlier for a friend. At least it was a gift bag & ribbon, so I could re-assemble it without anyone knowing.
  • Any phone conversation interrupted by, “Mom, Mom, hey Mom.”  You know the drill!
  • Freshly folded stack of laundry being “attacked” by my son. No idea why he likes messing up laundry so much!!
  • My son refusing to wear a pumpkin costume that his grandma & I spent a lot of time making. I told him he HAS to wear it at least once!
  • This one is part kid / part mom sabotage – the ONE TIME I forget to pack a change of clothes my son pooped his pants at the park. I did have some wipes and a spare diaper to help us through that situation.  As the saying goes, sh*t happens!
I can't stay mad at these cuties for long!

I can’t stay mad at these cuties for long!

I love my kids dearly, and I try not to react too harshly to moments of kid sabotage.  They are just KIDS (ages 3 and almost 5) after all. More often than not (as in the unexpected computer shutdown) I know they just want to be by me and are too young to understand needing some space and time to oneself. HOPEFULLY I can teach them that and establish a quiet-time in lieu of the now-extinct nap-time.

What are your favorite kid sabotage moments?

Tales of a Four Year Old Diva Ballerina

As I mentioned in an earlier post – On Becoming a Dance Mom – dance is a new thing for my family.  Now that we’ve had two class sessions it’s been a series of trial and error on how to best arrive on-time to dance class and keep my daughter in class for the entire forty-five minutes. I THINK we finally figured out our best routine – at LAST!

I guess you could say that my daughter is a Four Year Old Diva Ballerina.  Here are a few of her distinct qualities:

Diva Quality One – It’s ALL about ME. (Wait – don’t all kids think this?!)

She has a different, much slower concept of time, especially in the morning, which doesn’t coincide with actual, real world time.  She cannot move quickly while getting ready. Breakfast must be consumed at her own pace.  She often gets distracted in the morning, and I need to find different ways to keep things moving along.  It can be a struggle getting out the door to put it mildly!

Diva Quality Two – Conditions MUST be perfect for optimum performance.

“Don’t pull my hair!” To which I respond, “I know honey. I am not trying to hurt you. I will give you a low ponytail.”  By the end of class today, her ponytail was taken out entirely. I’m glad the teacher doesn’t care!

“My legs hurt.”  This complaint was debuted before she went to her first dance class. I haven’t heard it in awhile, so maybe the growth spurt has since passed.

“I have a headache and my stomach hurts too.”  She tossed this one out at me as I buckled her into her car seat last week. While she had a crabby look on her face, I didn’t buy it, so onto class we went.

“I’m hot.”  Apparently the room IS hot where the girls dance.  This can cause her skin to itch.

“I have the itchies.”  We apply generous amounts of lotion prior to getting dressed to make sure her skin is adequately moisturized in this dry, winter weather.  Sometimes this does the trick.  Last week the itchies re-appeared even after putting on lotion due to a costume issue (read on).

When we have NOT prepared for dry skin issues, and I’m watching the class, she’s come out early because her skin is bothering her. As I once played in the gym with my son during her class, we came back to find her standing in one spot in class with a pouty, crabby expression.  Naturally, I let her come to me to see what was wrong, and it was the itchies. Sigh.

Diva Quality Three – Some Costumes and Shoes WILL. NOT. DO.

“Cut out the tag.  The (cut-out) tag (piece that still remains) is itching me.  I need a band-aid.” Next leotard.  Fortunately that was okay – a good thing since we only have two.

My shoes are pinching me (when worn without tights).  One week I tried having her wear leggings instead of tights to see if that would be more comfortable and prevent some of the “itchies.”  This just caused her ballet shoes to rub on her bare skin, so she left class early again! Sigh.

Diva Quality Four – Love your Audience

She covers me with kisses on both cheeks and even the lips when she leaves for dance class.  When finished, I’m greeted with smiles and a big hug, and sometimes MORE kisses.  Here are some pictures I took after one class of my happy little ballerina:

My Ballerina Diva and her little brother "photo-bombing" her pic

My Diva Ballerina and her little brother “photo-bombing” her pic

Dance Mama O.’s Closing Thoughts

Through trial and error of attending dance classes at our local YMCA, I have realized that I need to leave the viewing area during class to ensure she’ll stay in class for the ENTIRE TIME. This means two things:

  1. I get in a workout on a machine, while my daughter learns some new ballet moves. (win – win)
  2. I don’t get to see all of this cuteness during class.

Ballet class has been a good learning experience for both of us these past few months.  Yet, I’m not jumping at the next opportunity to sign her up again because this is a beginner dance class for ages 3 – 5 that basically repeats the same thing each session.  Nor am I searching for a more structured dance studio for her to further develop as a dancer.  After all, she’s only four…giving her plenty of time to figure our what activities she really enjoys. I’m hoping we can downplay the “diva” and just break out our dance moves at home for awhile.

Has anyone else dealt with diva-like and general poky behavior getting out the door in the morning?  Any advice along those lines is welcome!

On Becoming a Dance Mom

I’m becoming a dance mom.

I knew it was only a matter of time, as my four year old has been expressing an interest in dance for some time now, so we opted to stop swimming and start up dance this next session at the YMCA. Besides the frequent dance parties we have as a family (this means she hangs limp and gets twirled around by Daddy O.), we don’t have much formal dance training.

Dance is a new experience for her and ME, as I have a limited dance background with the occasional Zumba class, a few salsa dance classes, and my own stellar moves that I’ve picked up along the way. I’ve gravitated to the more athletic moves, as  I was in almost every sport imaginable while growing up with our neighborhood crew: t-ball, softball, tennis, swimming, basketball, volleyball, track & field, downhill skiing, and ice skating. I was probably so busy that I didn’t even consider dance. The sports that really became my passion in high school were basketball and volleyball. I’ll never forget the thrill of running out for every varsity game on the rubbery blue field house floor to the tunes of late 90’s and Jock Jams!  Some tunes that I remember:

Ok, I digress, but I spent three out of four years on the varsity basketball team, and have some of the best high school memories playing bball with my teammates.  Basketball was also the hobby that led me to meeting my husband in college – at a Thursday night open gym that I went to with a friend, who was dating one of his buddies.  To this day, I still play basketball in my high school’s annual alumni tournament!  It’s a blast, even though I’ve lost a lot of skills and speed! Anyway, given my love of sports, I’d like my children to find their own passions as they grow up.

Dance may very well be that thing for my daughter.  We’ll see… she was QUITE excited by her leotard and tutu that she received for Christmas.  Here she topped it off with her “Super Girl” cape that Grandma made. I love her sense of style!

super ballerina

My very own Super Ballerina

So far, from buying her first pair of ballet shoes alone, I can see that she has some Prima donna qualities. She insisted on the pink pair, and we found her size without incident. Her two year old brother was disappointed that dance shoes were not available in his size, but easily got over it when we found new Lightning McQueen shoes for him instead. When it came time to pack up and go, my daughter whole hardheartedly refused, instead wanting me to buy her some Hello Kitty notebook that was on the checkout counter. I tried all of my usual lines to get out of a store, but nothing was working. Finally, I had to resort to the nuclear option, picking her up kicking and screaming, full-on diva tantrum style, and bring her to the car.

Fast forward to this morning, when attempting to wake her up (which is usually a challenge).  The promise of this morning’s dance class wouldn’t even rouse her. In fact, it did quite the opposite.

“I don’t want to go to dance class,” she whined.

“But honey, I signed you up for this session. Let’s just go this first time and see how you like it,” I reasoned with her.

“My legs are hurting,” she continued to whine. (Maybe she’s growing?!)

“Well, let me carry you downstairs and once you finish getting ready, you can have some special medicine for your legs that will make you feel better,” Daddy O. suggested so very kindly, in a way that I can’t always muster the patience or creativity to do myself with my daughter.

She bought it, and I obliged, giving her a miniscule amount of Tylenol for her legs. (We don’t usually use medicine as a motivator, nor do we frequently give out Tylenol, but whatever works.)

Still feeling the effects of that darn Polar Vortex (love this post 10 Advantages to Living in the Frozen Tundra), we put on several layers, keeping the bandaid on her leg under her tights (her demand) and bringing along hair stuff, so I could fix her hair before class. Looking like a pack mule, with an over-stuffed backpack, two kids’ jackets, mittens, hats, and boots, we trudged to the bathroom for a quick potty stop and de-layering.  By this time, I could see the other little girls and their families waiting in line for class to begin.  Not seeing other neatly styled buns, I convinced my daughter to forgo any up-do, which is perfect, since she always rips them out anyway.

By the time I had signed her in and was telling her to go in, she was excitedly bouncing at my side. She gave me a sweet hug and a kiss on the cheek before running in to join her class that had just started. I couldn’t help but feel proud. I loved seeing the joy and anticipation in her eyes and she sat “criss-cross applesauce” listening to her teacher. During the 45 minute class, my two year old son and I alternated from playing basketball and running around in the nearby gym and stopping to watch her ballet class.  Many other parents stayed put on the chairs placed outside the classroom to take in and photograph all of the cuteness. With all of our winter gear and water bottles, I passed on our camera today, though it was SO adorable watching her twirl, jump, and dance around the room.

My daughter came out of class with a grin lighting up her entire face, gave me a huge hug, and chirped, “I love ballet.” I was so thrilled that it went so well, despite her reservations and leg pain earlier this morning.

I asked her what she wanted to do next after changing out of her dance gear, to which she replied, “I want to go to the gym.”  A girl after my own heart, she chose a kid’s sized basketball to take along. She may be quite the well-rounded dancer after all. I think that I’ll enjoy being a dance mom, or “fill in the blank” mom based on whatever my son and daughter discover.

Do you have any tips for me as a newly minted dance mom? How have you reacted to your children discovering new hobbies?

Labels: Fragile – Handle with Care

Stranger #1: “Wow, your daughter is tall.”

Stranger #2: “Oh, how old is your son?  20 months.  Really?  I would have guessed that he was closer to one since he’s so small.”

Daughter: GROWL. Rah. Rah. Rah.

Stranger #3: “She must be shy.”

I’ve heard the comments above from numerous strangers in the past few weeks.  Comments from what seem to be mostly normal, well-meaning strangers, who, like many other people, can’t help but notice and share their opinions on my two children.

We have ALL encountered this.  From the very beginning when strangers stick their heads a little too close to your snoozing newborn, to curious old ladies in the grocery store, everyone seems to have something to say.  Sometimes it’s something nice and encouraging, while other times, not so much.

I’m not against exchanging pleasantries while I’m out and about with my children.  On the contrary, I like being friendly and striking up conversations from time to time.  I hope to set a good example on appropriate social behavior to help counter my 3.5 year old’s growling phase.

I am afraid that these comments from strangers will turn into labels for my kids.  And no, I don’t want my daughter to believe she’s shy because she growls instead of talking to strangers.  No, I don’t want my son to think he’s small because that’s what people tell him.  With a lifetime ahead of them of being labeled, and experiencing typical growing pains, can’t we simply celebrate how beautifully made they are at this moment?

My own label from high school came from a teacher, who called me “Goody-two shoes,” or GTS for short.  It fit me spot-on, and I still have some GTS in me today.  I wasn’t particularly harmed by it, because I knew that it was true: hyper-involved and in charge of student council, captain of the basketball team, member of honor society….all around over-achiever (you get the picture).  I know I had my critics, but I was blessed with wonderful best friends to support me – friends who I am proud to still be close to even today. Regardless, I know labels can make us feel fragile, question who we are, and do a lot of harm in very formative years.

Back to the exchange that I had with stranger #2, who commented on my son’s size, I just shrugged and said, “He’ll grow when he grows, and in the meantime, we just keep on feeding him,”  though I was hoping for a retort with more of an edge.

Despite her comments, I somehow managed to talk both children out of the toys that they wanted me to buy for them.  Magically, they both listened and put the toys back on the shelf just liked I asked!  Couldn’t stranger #2 have just focused on their wonderful behavior and kept the rude comments to herself? Please spare my kids from such comments, so they can avoid being labeled before the age of 2 and 4, respectively!

What have strangers said to you about your own children?  How do you deal with your kids being labeled?

Along the same line, why can’t we just be more supportive of moms and children?  There’s often a lot of judging and critique going on!  Check out Kaela’s post on this subject.


Happy Mother’s Day – GROWL!!

One thing that I know for sure: there will be growling this Mother’s Day.

It’s not a gift that I WANT, but it is a phase that my daughter is in – growling at family, friends, and strangers.  Hey, I guess she doesn’t discriminate!

I had mentioned in 3 Milestones you won’t find in a baby book that my daughter has growled at strangers in public.  In one situation, we were at the grocery store, and she growled at a sweet old lady. After dinner at a local burger and custard joint, she sort of made light sabre noises while swinging her umbrella (not ideal, but I’ll let it go). As we walked home, she growled at a man who was walking by and commenting on the cold weather. More growling at her aunt, brother, me, Daddy O. and even some people at church. “Peace be with you” is followed by “GRRRR!”

Lovely, right?!

Reaction to Growling

My first reaction is to ignore her and apologize for her behavior.

“So sorry. My daughter is not a conversationalist.”

Or, “She’s pretending to be an animal.” (This is usually the case since she LOVES animals.)

Or, “Well that’s one way to react to this cold weather.”

My husband’s reaction was a LOT less tolerant, saying to me “You let her get away with this?!”

Umm, yeah I guess I do.

We teach out kids to NOT talk to strangers.  Frequently strangers can try to get too close or engage in conversation, and I can see from a small child’s perspective how this can be intimidating or  uncomfortable.  And frankly, I’m GLAD that she doesn’t get too friendly with strangers when you think about all of the worst case scenarios that COULD happen.

So will I be happy to hear her growls this weekend?  No, but I’ll do my best to ignore it and just go for the hugs & kisses whenever I can.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions to cope with growling issues!  Is ignoring this behavior the best strategy?  We have talked about “appropriate behavior,” how growling is not very nice, why animals growl, etc.  Life with a 3.5 year old is always entertaining!