The girls continue to live in an “attitude funk” the past week or two and it is incredibly exhausting for mom and dad. It feels like the parenting full moon cycle is stuck and never ending (you all know what I mean by that!), with tired, grumpy girls every night that constantly bicker, refuse to listen, continue to name call and sass you, and have a hard time settling down. While boundary pushing is nothing new in any house with kiddos and has occurred for a while now, the attitude shift and blatant disobedience is very wearing and frustrating.
The girls’ funk is occurring at home and at school, with evenings a special treat and you can’t anticipate if everyone will be pleasant or over-tired rage monsters. This week Emerie missed out on the entire bike day activity at preschool. Her teacher noted that not only did she express her inner vampire and take a chunk out of Reagan, but she refused to listen or obey any instructions given, so missing out on the fun and spending time in the office was her repercussion. After reading the daily report about it and forcibly extricating everyone from the playground and into the car that night (not fun for me!); everyone had quite the screaming meltdown, most of all Emerie. Needless to say, my blood pressure skyrocketed before I even made it home for the night.
Once the screaming and crying decreased, we had quite a group discussion on the drive home about what happens when you are naughty and when you are nice, when you listen and when you don’t. Emerie owned up to her office visit and Reagan and Harper were happy to point out that she was in trouble and they were still able to ride their bikes. They also pitched in some opinions, noting that the office isn’t any fun and you just have to sit there. Emerie did point out she was well behaved and did indeed sit there; just not in time to participate in the activity.
I am personally glad she missed out on the activity and seemed to learn that her bad behavior was the main contributor. I can’t say this revelation improved her attitude the following nights or at pickup other days this week- at one point I had to chase her across the parking lot and manually load her into the car seat, kicking, screaming, and trying to bite me. This was after I wrangled the other two in, with a semi-cooperative Harper and somewhat resistant Reagan. It’s a lovely thought at the spectacle we become on nights like this and I try to block that thought out or it induces more mom stress. These moments also remind me that in so many ways the girls being older is a thousand times easier, and in other ways it’s just the same as the age-two-and-run-three-directions stage.
For the most part we skipped the Tiny Vampire Club when the girls were younger, with some occasional biting during toddler disagreements, but nothing that we “couldn’t nip in the bud” (pun intended!). It seems that we haven’t escaped it altogether in the preschool age and are currently smack in the middle of the attitude, with Emerie as club leader and entrepreneur. To give her some credit, it can’t be easy to bite your flailing four-year-old sister on the rib cage, through her t-shirt, and leave a full outline (top and bottom teeth!), without some real effort, dedication and gusto! Reagan certainly did not appreciate this at all and is still sporting quite the bruise from it, several days later.
So yes, the Tiny Vampires Club is brought to you by #realmomtalk. Who knows what next week’s club will be?!
The latest trend in the Douglas household is the use of “adult words” or inappropriately used potty phrases. Any of you that have the pleasure of knowing my other half are certainly not surprised by this thought or any other atypical phrasing that comes out of everyday conversations when you’d least expect it.
It turns out that what we both believed was a genius way to handle profanity with toddlers may actually be backfiring. In other words (pun intended!) the continued use of certain four letter words that are essential in everyday life when raising toddlers, while lessened from prior years, still fly out of our mouths more than they probably should. For a while I was monitoring such things a lot better (with much effort), but ultimately age three pummeled me with such force that such things re-emerged with a hurricane force (does that depict it well enough?!). With the girls hearing such explicits, we constantly reminded them the words are only for adults, hence the that’s an adult word, you can’t say that word conversations we’ve maintained the past few months, which much success and minimal toddler repeats.
Previous to this genius, albeit backfiring, plan, the girls would drop the “f bomb” occasionally at age two (mostly Harper) and we couldn’t help but hide our chuckles. The correct usage of it taught us not only were they listening and paying attention to their parents, but that they are picking up verbiage and sentence structure incredibly well. This clearly covers more than bad words! One can’t help but appreciate using it as an adjective and then later as a verb, correctly, from the mouth of an unknowing tot.
Yes, we nipped that as quickly as we could…but I can still chuckle at the thought of Harper yelling mom, open thef$&king door! at me a time or two. That one definitely came from the “slam-the-door/gate-on-everyone’s-face-as-much-as-you-can-to-drive-the-adults-INSANE” phase. Gives me a stress headache just thinking about it.
The girls threw an unapproved rule book change at me when they started retorting any bad words from my mouth with that’s a daddy word, not a mommy word. You can’t say that, only daddy. I’m not sure what super level sneakiness Craig did to pull that sh$t off, but it’s now a rule. Writing that I even hear in my mind…mom you can’t say that. Just taking away ALL my fun. Craig doesn’t seem to have an issue with this change.
Well, I’m here to tell you that the instructional “we can say it but you can’t” concept was going amazing until recently. I believe this change resulted from two things: 1) the implementation of constant tattling, and 2) the recognition that saying it provokes a response from either a parent or a sibling or both!
A 3-year-old is basically a walking, talking middle finger.
The cycle typically goes something like this:
Emerie: you’re a freakin’ poopoo. (to anyone in general or no one at all!)
Oh did I not mention the potty mouth words such as poopoo and peepee are apparently harder to break than the profanities? Yes, THAT, and any adult that remotely uses those out of the proper context in the ear range of my toddlers is going to hear more profanities heading their way from my mouth!! Anyway…
Harper: no, you’re a poopoo!!
And the argument goes back and forth until number three chimes in.
Reagan: Mom! Dad! Emerie said f$&king poopoo! MOM! Emerie said f$&king!! She said poopoo!! Moooom!
And repeat this about ten million times. Also include the times that Emerie did not, in fact, say those words, and yet here comes the tattletale, repeating them herself until you provide a response.
This wouldn’t be such an issue if ages were spanned out or we were just talking about one disruptive toddler. The girls have this magnetic super power that feeds off each other, in pretty much everything good or bad, and once it loads up, stopping it is practically impossible. One outlier from this occurred in the past few days, when Harper had a great attitude all weekend, listened at dance class and was most obedient on our last outdoor excursion, not feeding off the grumpy, push-mom-to-the-limits sisters’ attitudes. One can dream it will improve with age.
I sincerely hope the use of such wording is more centered at home then out at school, but I know the sister jabs and name calling of poo and pee reach far out into our activities and down times, with minimal success at shutting it down thus far. We’ve disciplined, given rewards for good behavior, flaunted rewards when one obeys and the others don’t, had continuous conversations about when it’s okay so talk about poop, and continue to stress the adult word concept, which is understood but not entirely accepted now.
And so, here I am, writing this fantastic blog on the woes of parenthood and my clan of three year olds and their potty mouths.
Tonight’s bedtime story went as follows. We asked the girls to read their “potty book”, which is the night time closer before lights out. The book is from the beloved Llama Llama series and only briefly mentions potty training activities but the nickname stuck. The girls (and parents) have the entire thing memorized and we let them “read to us.”
Everyone enthusiastically (and very loudly) hollered every page and this is how it went.
(All three, not in unison but somewhat close)
Dinners over! Tuuuummmy fed. Llama llama, time for bed.
Time to brush, and fill the tub. Time to splish and splash and scrub.
(Momentum is gaining and everyone is yelling it!)
Pjs on, then potty time. Choose a book with a silly rhyme. (Reagan says that last phrase super quick)
Then Harper breaks free from the group with:
Snuggle in…TURN OUT THE FUCKING LIGHT.
And all three in unison finish with:
Llama llama, Nightynight!
I’m pretty sure that’s not quite the wording written on the pages…
But who can argue that’s pure entertainment. Raising kids can be hilarious.
And we are working on cleaning up this newfound toddler vocabulary they’re picking up….
There’s been a lot going on the past several weeks, doctors visits, errands, work and a lot of busy toddler time! In addition to our normal “keep the kids entertained and out of trouble” routine, other random things continue to pop up. For example, we are proactively working toward getting the girls passports so we can adventure through Canada at some point- this is pretty standard on years without mind numbing pandemics and we know at some point we will travel out of country to go to Haines or Dawson City on an adventure. The first piece to that adventured apparently meant spending ninety minutes at the local DMV to get the girls identification cards and update our drivers license to the Real ID compliant ones.
Would you like to guess how ninety minutes at the DMV with three toddlers and no strollers went?? Well, I can fill you in on the details…not great. They were running and shrieking around the place enough that the poor photo lady, who we found out later was pretty new, nicely asked us to wait outside of the area. This wouldn’t have been so bad except that the girls badly needed to burn more energy and were running down the halls of the University Center and having a good ‘ole time. It was stressful but we managed to get three photos and by the end of the visit Reagan was helping that same employee take our photos, sitting on the chair behind the computer and telling us to smile.
I’m happy to say that first step is over and can tell you, toddler IDs are so cute. Their non-committal faces are seriously so completely cute!! Hopefully their passports will turn out as well!
Other more stressful life things this month seem to relate with two important parts of ones face – the teeth and the eyes! While my need for more dental work isn’t a super call for stress (since pregnancy really throws a wrench in your face when it comes to healthy teeth) and I find myself needing more cavities drilled and a crown for the first time; that same week we took all three kiddos to their second dental visit. We did this visit one-by-one while the others waited for their turn in the car. By the end, we were told the unfortunate news that Reagan would need to go to a pediatric dentist to have a tooth pulled. Last year she chipped her front tooth in half tripping on the floor in the dining room, and while we didn’t notice the chip until a few hours later, we were still able to find the tooth chunk on the floor later.
The dentist smoothed out the jagged tip the following day and off and on she would complain that it hurt for a month or two; after that she didn’t mention it anymore. We watched for the tooth to change colors and die but it didn’t. The X-ray at this visit showed that the tooth is indeed dead and needs extraction so the root isn’t damaged for her future adult teeth.
Reagan was fantastic for the entire appointment, letting the tech do new X-rays, opening her mouth wide when asked, and asking to see “Mr. Thirsty”, the water tool, and enthusiastically drinking cups of water. By the end of the appointment she was telling Dr. Barnes she loved her and excitedly selected a princess sticker and tiny, stuffed tiger. It is such a relief to take one kiddo to the doctor at a time, no matter what the reason for the visit. The visits involve minor scolding and more conversation and explanation than just trying to survive it!
Her actual procedure is at the end of the month and we are opting for keeping her awake without anesthesia. We know how a toddler reacts to being put under, even for something only ten minutes like Emerie’s ear tubes, and are hoping to avoid that if possible. The doctor notes the Versed will make her woozy (just like Emerie) and be strong enough she likely won’t even remember most of the procedure. It also helps that it’s on an easily accessible tooth and should only take a few minutes to pull. I’m hopeful she is still young enough that this won’t cause her to fear going to the dentist, but I guess we will see!
There’s a bigger issue at play though than being stressed out over a toddler tooth extraction. That bigger stress relates to the fact that we are still a binkie household at nap and bedtime; obviously pulling a tooth means she cannot (or won’t want to) suck on her binkie. Reagan loves them the most of the three and always has; they are very much a source of comfort for her in times of anxiety or pain so this might get really interesting. Throw in two sisters who also like their binkies at night; you have to take them away from all three at once or it’ll be hell to pay.
Emerie had another follow up visit with Dr. Winkle and her eye is again trending more inward again. Because she’s already had several surgeries and the more you cut, the more scar tissue builds up, the recommendation this time is a Botox procedure on the eye muscles. It’s less invasive (resulting in creation of less scar tissue) and often creates a similar result for kiddos whose eyes keep shifting in or out. The procedure will be in June once we schedule it.
The entire way to the doctor Emerie was saying I love Doctor Winkle! in the car. She was shy at first but warmed up pretty quick after a few color and depth tests and was playing with him by the end of the appointment.
While this is another added stress, hopefully the Botox next month will help with her not wanting to wear her glasses and with her patching. The three to four hour goal each day is still going pretty well, with us allowing it off early for activities like swimming and ice skating so she can see easier and be happier during them. Maybe this will also help with the removal of her glasses, which seems to constantly happen the past few weeks, with her even hiding them in a purse one night and handing them off to sisters upon occasion. The new prescription means new glasses will be ordered in the next size and her old glasses look so small now compared to her!
I am happy to report Harper is hanging in there strong and does NOT need any medical procedures at the moment, thank goodness! She is asking when is her turn to go to the doctor since both sisters had an appointments this week with both parents and no sisters. This week she is also mastering the eyebrow cringing glare though and it’s quite impressive (and adorable much to her dismay). She will request you take a photo when she makes the face and show it to her. Silly attitudy girl!
I am slacking this month on documenting some of the cute activities and conversations we witness throughout the busy days, most likely because I feel there is SO much going on all at once! On the drive home the other day the girls asked us to go by the purple house and then the yellow house! I wasn’t sure what they meant until Craig pointed out that one of the houses on a nearby street was getting painted a brilliant purple and they noticed before we did! The yellow house is the first one on our street. It’s funny to see the latest toddler observations!
They also now ask each other are you serious?! Probably because a few of the outrageous things they’ve done the past week had me beckoning the same sentiment and now they think it’s fun to say. For example, two littles were downstairs giggling away while Craig was outside with number three, Grandma Anne was washing dishes and I was working at my desk upstairs. Upon walking downstairs, a waterlogged bathroom was discovered and the girls were flinging water across the room using their toys and giggling with delight. I might have asked them if they were serious…
Mother’s Day was a relatively quiet day, with Craig taking the girls swimming so my Mom and I could run a couple errands in a kid free environment! Megan and the boys came over after and played with bubbles and outside until nap time. I woke up that morning to raspberry, white chocolate scones (that Harper devoured) and ended the evening eating ponset and lumpia courtesy of our awesome neighbors and a homemade cherry pie from Craig. Gotta love the delectable food for sure! The girls would want you to know they ended the day with flamingo pajamas from Grandma Anne and some Bob’s Burgers.
Otherwise we are busy busy with lots of conversations, outdoor activities and walks, swimming, gardening and everything in between. Bring on summer and let’s get through this next month of stress!
Easter this year meant more involved activities than in years past, including an egg hunt, egg dying, spring cookie decorating, a lot of nail polish, and a lot of sugar. The girls were good sports for the majority of activities and enthusiastically participated in all of it.
We accidentally went to the Cabela’s Easter bunny earlier in the month after looking at the animals and fish. After running Reagan to the bathroom, we spotted a white bunny rabbit strolling down the aisle and Reagan did a complete double-take. We quickly signed up for a photo session (which were by appointment only) and all three did far better than expected sitting in front of it. In fact, I would say they were less terrified of this creepy eared animal than of Santa Claus earlier this year, which is hilarious. It also helps that procedure was similar to Christmas time, with a clear glass separation, making the kids feel less threatened than sitting closely with them.
The sugar cookie decorating lasted for a little while, with five toddlers helping snack on the icing and sprinkles but also somewhat decorating them. No one wanted to share their completed cookies or let me put them up on the rack; they more so hoarded full plates until we demanded to take them away and replace them with empty canvases. Megan and crew brought more sprinkles to add to the mix, including a pack of tiny eyeballs that everyone wanted to use! I plan to make it a family tradition to make sugar cookies and decorate them in celebration of (impending) spring…that thing we are still waiting to see right now.
I was not feeling adventurous about outdoor egg hunting with a snow covered backyard, so the morning hunt stayed inside on our main level with a few more in our empty, under renovation family room. The girls wore matching bunny dresses and new, fancy shoes. Just like last year, they immediately picked up the concept and slung their baskets around as they peeked under furniture and opened cabinets in search of delicious treats. There are only so many places to hide plastic eggs, so the whole search wrapped up pretty quickly, with Reagan’s bucket about 3/4ths full, Emerie’s almost halfway, and Harper’s the least filled as she kept getting distracted with trying to open them. Once all were collected everyone sat down on pillows in the empty family room and sifted through their “booty” before I handed over their real Easter baskets. Harper’s first egg contained a spotted brown jelly bean, which she promptly threw on the carpet with a that’s a rock! comment. Hysterical, I tell you! Her excitement joined her sisters as she opened a few more and found mini marshmallows, other more deliciously colored jelly beans, and egg shaped tootsie rolls.
I enjoy seeing the different responses to new candies. Emerie ate her marshmallows speedily when usually she’s not a big fan of them, Reagan tried one tootsie roll egg and spit it out into my hand with a yucky, while Harper kept getting the gross flavored jelly beans (I guess it’s my fault for not picking better colors to add) and running to throw them into the trash. Harper was the only one of the three to really enjoy the egg tootsie roll treats. Reagan did manage to collect more tootsies and bring them upstairs to share, with one placed lovingly at each table setting and the last one on the couch for Daddy, along with her open sticker book. She demanded Grandma Sue guard that candy until Daddy came upstairs…how cute is that.
This year’s Easter baskets weren’t anything to rave about, just a chocolate bunny for each and a few knickknacks and bunny ears from Grandma Anne. The girls have been carrying the light up baby chicks around with them and I’m sure I will find the princess stickers around eventually. Strict instructions for consuming the chocolate bunnies meant everyone had to take a good nap; somehow orders were obeyed and they all woke up from nap with a I want my chocolate bunny, Momma! type exclamation. It took Harper 45 minutes to eat that tiny bunny, while Reagan scarfed it down and Emerie enjoyed pointing out what parts she ate (ears, then eyes, then mouth etc.).
Easter dinner meant a house of nine kiddos running around, which isn’t too out-of-the-ordinary these days, with the girls refusing once again to eat most of their dinner but the adults and visiting kiddos enjoying each bite!
The phrase of the week for the toddlers is I not can’t. Clearly we haven’t learned double negatives yet but they sure do know how to voice when they can’t do something! I not can’t handle it if they keep saying it like that!!