Category The Ordinary
Help, Yessss, Lotion & Love
There are some commonly spoken phrases in our house. A growing mind of a two-year old, rapidly expanding her ideas, vocabulary and opinion are sometimes astonishing to keep up with. The following is a list I have compiled of the top five most common statements from both Parker and her mommy.
1.) “How bout… this one.”
She says so thoughtfully and clearly to make decisions. Parker likes to express choices about clothes, food and what to watch on Netflixs. Back in my babysitting days, when Barney was new, I would get so annoyed with the singing purple dinosaur and swear when I had kids they would be banned from this programming. Unfortunately, a decade and a half later, I am eating my words as my tiny tot politely points out the forbidden show requesting “How bout… this one.”
2.) “Yea… yessss.”
My husband is encouraging Parker to enunciate and use proper English. I wholeheartedly agree this is important, even though I am most often the one to slip and be a poor example to her with my lazy communication. In the last few weeks especially he has been retraining her to not say yea, and she is quickly beginning to correct herself. The adorable part of her correction is the long s sound which follows her yes’.
3.) “Hey that’s mine.”
This is spoken with a bit of a toddler lisp, comes with a frown and on the rare occasion a small tantrum. Sharing is tough.
4.) “Parry Rock” or “Da Lacy Sung”
In my effort to break from Yo Gabba Gabba, Sesame Street or Barney, I figured a girl who loves music and dancing might also love music videos. We have the music choice channel where we play videos on demand, she has her favorites and doesn’t like trying out new ones unless the beat immediately catches her attention. Two favorites she requests are LMFAO’s Party Rock and Bruno Mars’ Lazy Song. Not all the lyrics are appropriate for kids, though I figured she wouldn’t remember or know what it was about. I thought there could be no harm… Turns out she really enjoys the dancing and tries to mimic what she sees in the videos. Let’s just say we are all done with the Lazy Song now.
5.) “Halp you peas mommy.”
Parker does love to help me in whatever chore I am trying to conquer. She even got her very own play cleaning set for Christmas so she can follow along with my sweeping and scrubbing. However, this phrase is not about helping mommy. I figured out she learned to say “help you” when she needs help since I would catch her struggling in a task and questions “Can Mommy help you?”
Mommy’s Top 5
1.) “Is that baba broken?”
Parker is clinging to her last two pacifiers and I am fully prepared for the end of them. They are both gnarley little pieces of plastic with the ends chewed off. She has chosen to throw other ones away once they were in the same condition, so I ask her everyday if they are broken and ready to throw away. One night she was on her way to the trash can and then decided it was not quite broken yet, agh so close!
2.) “Are you doing a stink stink?”
I ask Parker when she has separated herself to a corner or behind furniture with the concentrated pooping look on her face. She shakes her head no, despite my encouragement of trying it on the big girl potty. Then as I am changing her diaper after the fact, she sometimes requests what she calls to sit on the “poo poddy” not understanding it’s a little late for it now. I’m sure there will be more potty training adventure stories to come.
3.) “Lotion is not for eating.”
My day is filled with “no,” “stop,” and “don’t” type statements. I try to fill in the rest with choices or an explanation. For some reason I have to repeat this one too often since PJ has acquired a taste for lotion.
4.) “Give me some sugar.”
Parker is affectionate without announcement sometimes, and there are lots of times when we request it of her. She withholds kisses in a teasing manner sometimes, eventually giving in. The best is when I can trick her telling her I don’t want her sloppy kisses and wiping them away, then the sugar just keeps on coming.
5.) “You are beautiful” and “I love you.”
Browsing through my mom’s Pinterest quotes the other day one caught my eye, I’m not on it yet because I keep hearing about how addictive it is and I’m kind of scared to take on another online hobby. The quote said something about the statements you tell your children will become their internal voices later. This made me smile to know I am constantly telling my little girl she is beautiful and she is loved.
Bringing in 2013
I love all the year ending lists, the ones that look back on everything from 2012 and rank the best of the year. Top movies, top songs, top sport plays, top storms, top grossing products, top celebrity feuds, top political disasters, top-selling appliances, top exclamations shouted into crowds – you get the idea. It’s bewildering to me to look back on lists and comprehend how so much has fit into the last 365 days, and how did it go by so fast?
2012 was a high-speed chase to catch up with, stay on top of and try to control. Who am I kidding, I just sent out the last of my Christmas presents in the last day of December (sorry nieces and nephews – late though not forgotten.) I wasn’t really on top of anything in the past year. A top list of accomplishments I would create for 2012 would include things like “Was able to continue breathing,” and “Kept child alive.”
The month of December happened to be the craziest whirlwind of the year. With my grandma’s passing, an unplanned trip to Minnesota to go along with it, and almost a full week of celebrating holidays interrupted normalcy for me. I am embracing the new year for a fresh opportunity to maintain a routine and achieve goals. I’d like to be able to look back at the end of 2013 and recognize real accomplishments out of the day-to-day grind.
On Monday night, New Years Eve, my husband and some friends of ours made plans to bring in the new year bowling. We figured it’s close to home, affordable and a potentially fun and out of the ordinary activity for us. It has probably been years since my last time stepping foot in a bowling alley, though, I like to think bowling is in my blood. My grandpa and all of his brothers were bowling champions. Last month I, along with several cousins and my sister, took a bowling trophy from the home where my grandma passed. I never knew my grandpa so it seemed appropriate for me to keep something that used to be important to him.
On New Years Eve I naively imagined the trophy might actually bring me luck, that maybe my grandpa could reach down from heaven and help the ball down the lane for strikes and spares. My first game wasn’t too bad, then it got worse. I am guessing my grandpa never tried to play with fake nails, yeah I’m sure those were my only problem.
Or maybe there is a lesson in being the big loser at bowling. In 2013, I need to practice skills regularly, show dedication to my interests and my family, not blame others or objects for my own failures, and continue to find happiness in every moment (winning or not).
Not your average holiday letter.
One thing I love the most about this time of year is all of the mail! The tradition of catching up with old friends by a Christmas card, a family photo or yearly update with a good old fashioned stamp on it makes me smile, plus fresh frame-worthy pictures to update frames is a bonus. Snail mail anytime of the year is welcome, though, I know I send and receive the most in the month of December.
The holiday letter is kind of a funny thing to me. When a simple card or picture will not do, individuals and families might opt to generate a quick synopsis of the last 12 months to update friends and family who might not otherwise hear all of the news flashes throughout the year. I’m not sure when my mom thought this would be necessary to write one for our family, though, I remember the year I did not approve. In 1996 I was 14 years old and read over her draft of the family holiday letter. I’m sure she highlighted many major events, boasted about how wonderful her kids were and used proper sentence structure and punctuation, yet it seemed to make us even more boring than we actually were. By pointing out the yawn factor, she challenged me to come up with something better. The product ended up being a sarcastic summary of life in our household and I was required to continue writing holiday letters until long after all of us kids were grown.
A few years back my mom’s friend Sue mailed me a stack of my holiday letters she had been saving. Her note said she had been doing some deep cleaning and heard I hadn’t been keeping copies. I guess rather than holding onto the letters themselves I will purge them onto the internet to be able to look back on and maybe inspire someone else to create entertaining holiday notes. Starting with letter #2.
Amazing how my mom folded each letter identically over the years, huh? Now I am anxiously awaiting the mailman’s arrival!
Thorns From My Husband
Last week I came up with an idea for a post I wanted to write about the irritating statements my husband makes. It’s incredible how a short concoctions of words can send me into a whirlwind of irrational, over-emotional turmoil.
I cleaned up.
I have a surprise for you.
Are you feeling better yet?
These are just three examples of phrases I hear from him which begin a cycle of madness in my mind, how to react, what to say next, what does this mean, etc… It sounds insane, right? Those three statements appear to be so innocent, even thoughtful perhaps. Well lemme just fill you in on the context with which these endearing words are uttered.
First, speaking of cleaning up is generally stated because it would be entirely impossible to know otherwise any cleaning had taken place. I’m guessing the majority of women can relate to being the cleaner one of their couple set, with the exception of my friend Crystal. Crystal and her husband, Buck, are equally anal about their cleaning. I would give a sliver of an edge to Crystal since she recently had lasik eye surgery and swears she can see the cobwebs on her ceiling I could not find with binoculars.
Unless your relationship is like Crystal and Buck or by some freak chance your partner is a better housekeeper, you can relate. For example, a few weeks ago my daughter and I went up north and left my husband with the house to himself for three days. Upon returning home I noticed additional clutter and a distinct odor. Maybe my facial expression gave away my disgust even though I had already anticipated needing to clean when I got home. “I cleaned up.” He said.
And this is where my mind begins stirring – What did he clean? And if he cleaned how bad did the house get over the weekend? Do I praise him to encourage this behavior or would this demonstrate complacency with a lack of effort? “OK, thanks.” I mutter heading to the broom closet. Maybe I should just be thankful he didn’t wipe out the Tupperware collection like my dad did when my mom went out of town one weekend in an effort to be helpful.
When my husband tells me he has a surprise, naturally I want to feel excited. He tends to spring this on me rather often because he enjoys watching me squirm about it. Instead of excitement in the anticipation, I find myself being bothered with trying to imagine what it could be. There have been times I imagined some rather fantastic surprises, special dates and lavish gifts to come home to find my favorite juice in the fridge “SURPRISE.” Now rather than creating a spectacular surprise in my mind I try not to even remember he spoke the word so I cannot be disappointed. He is rather thoughtful and talented with his ideas, I just wish they came without the preemptive news flash to warn it’s coming.
And finally the questions “Are you feeling better yet.” This is not a sincere curiosity of if I am under the weather. This question is directed at me when he thinks I am upset with him for no good reason. It seems like a stab at my perspective in a disagreement, as if I had no reason to be bitter towards him. As if the whole disagreement was related to my mood rather then something he contributed to. “Are you feeling better yet,” can almost always lengthen the duration of my anger about a situation and on the rare occasion I wasn’t upset this statement can just as easily put me there.
So… Like I said, I intended to post about these phrases and end it there. Except earlier this week I caught up with an episode of Super Soul Sunday when Oprah interviewed the author Michael Singer. He wrote The Untethered Soul about finding inner peace and strength. The following clip is a segment out of the show directly related to the issues I have had with things my husband says.
I haven’t read the book, though, now I know I need to. There are many thorns I have with people and being irritated by what is said. Seeing this part of the interview I recognized I have been making the choice to be disturbed. I understand for the rest of my life I could be having internal conflicts about what to say when he mentions cleaning, no matter how many times I say “Don’t surprise me,” there will likely be another surprise, and the question of feeling better yet will probably not be put to rest either. So damn Super Soul Sunday – to point out my wasted energy on waiting for others to change around me. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, joking or flat out disrespectful – it’s my own thorn. Next time I get the sensation of being bothered, my hands sweat, my thoughts turn to irrational questioning, my shoulders tighten and I’m ready to react… I will practice making the choice not to be disturbed. Growth is hard and no one else can do it for me.
Baby Doll, Parker
“Baby,” she asked as quickly as her feet hit the ground this morning. “Wha es baby?” She looked and gestured towards her play cradle in the corner next to her crib for her doll. Parker is the third generation to play with this cradle, my grandpa originally made it for my mom.
“I don’t know where you put her, where is baby?” I replied to ensure she knew I understood her inquiry. Her language is rapidly developing in the past month and it’s amazing to witness progress from one day to the next. She is formulating her own statements and questions in a way she only used to be able to repeat after hearing. And for each exclamation she is able to create it is met with equal or greater insistence for someone to verbalize acknowledgement of her new found vocabulary.
When properly rested she can communicate almost anything, both with her language and continued use of signing.
“Maybe baby is in mommy’s room,” I encouraged her to go look.
The doll could not be found, though, she was happily distracted by a bottle of body spray her daddy left within reach while shrugging “Wha es baby, I unno wha es baby?” She easily gives up the bottle of spray as I sent her to the kitchen to search again. My last memory of the baby doll was Wednesday evening when she got upset because the doll didn’t swallow the jello dessert she was trying to share with it and we had to wash it’s face. Again a reminder of why I shouldn’t try to wash dishes while she is eating.
A minute later Parker returns with the doll, pleased with herself for the safe recovery. She carts the baby off to her room and back to the cradle to tuck the doll in. Shortly after I hear a small thump and whimpers from Parker. In the corner of her room I can see she was attempting to climb into the cradle herself when the bottom fell out. When I was two I got in the cradle with my baby dolls too, although, after three generations of play the wood and glue is just not holding up the same.
I crouched down to gently remind Parker the cradle is only for the doll and not for Parker while I reassembled it back together. When it was ready for use again I helped her put the doll back in place and tucked under the blanket. At this point she tried to tell me “Pawker, Pawker, Pawker,” pointing straight down into the crib.
Curious of what she was trying to tell me I guessed. “Did you name your baby doll Parker?” My guess was obviously wrong.
She gave me a very serious frown and bawled up her fist to use her thumb pointed towards herself. As if to say Are you stupid, I’m Parker.
Can’t help it, sleepy farts are funny.
A five AM wake up call occurred Saturday and Sunday morning this weekend on our trip to Des Moines for a wedding. Our tiny tot, Parker, usually goes to sleep easily and sleeps in late in the comfort of her own crib. When she sees us sleeping in the same room, as we did in the hotel, it’s game on for partying late into the night and a restless nights’ sleep.
Two mornings in a row her wake up call started with a slow whine, and while both of us likely heard it from the beginning neither of us stirred. Rolling over, talking to her or even taking a deep breath might indicate readiness to get up with her… Instead I prayed silently she would nod back off to sleep. The intermittent whining begins to lengthen and get louder, soon Parker is rubbing her legs back and forth against the pack and play out of boredom. She begins rolling around and finally sits up, I don’t open my eyes and hold my position as asleep.
Her whimpering language is not one of being scared, needing to be changed or sad. She very clearly was crying “I’m awake and I see you there in bed and want to be there too.”
Hats off to parents who prefer co-sleeping, it’s painfully difficult for me to sleep in bed with my toddler. Parker wiggles, squirms and most often ends up asleep sideways in bed between me and my husband. So at 5AM evaluating the situation in a half sleeping state, I understand picking her up and letting her come into bed will only reinforce her waking up and getting into bed with us at every opportunity we are sleeping in the same room. My husband and I alternate begging her to lay down and go back to sleep. I wondered if she would wake up the rest of the 24th floor hotel patrons before she would give up and go back to sleep.
Knowing the stubborn streak of genes she inherited, “giving up” is not in this girl’s capabilities. Reluctantly, I gave in and put her in bed Saturday morning, Sunday morning my husband was the first to give in. Our silence encouraged her to remain silent from this point forward, although she tried her hardest to wake us up to play. She climbed on top, put her nose to my nose, jumped between us and playfully fell into the pillows. I quietly let her know she would have to lay down or go back to her own bed. Her under two-year old mind understood her choices and she lay her head on my pillow, then on my arm, then on my stomach, then on her daddy – tossing and turning for over an hour until she finally fell back into much needed slumber.
The second morning was the same as the first, with one hilarious outtake which made it all worth bringing Parker to bed. Somewhere between 5AM and 6:30AM my husband and I lay facing each other with Parker between us. I watched her roll from my arms to position herself leaning against her daddy with her back side parallel with his stomach. Almost immediately when she gets herself to this position she begins passing gas, the kind of toot which gets drawn out into a row of highly audible puffs. And when she is done with this manuever she just as quickly rolled out of the position. It was as if she had plotted this prank on her daddy, and the hilarity of the situation is it is exactly the kind of prank her daddy would think is funny. Sleep deprived and slightly delirious the laughter erupted from me despite knowing I shouldn’t encourage my baby intentionally farting on people. It made me chuckle the whole ride back to Kansas City Sunday afternoon and still now thinking about it I can’t help to giggle.
Daddy & Daughter Demands
My daughter is becoming fiercely independent. Don’t get me wrong this is exactly the kind of attribute we want to praise and encourage for her to develop and benefit from throughout her life. Years from now she will have the strength to stand up for herself and others. She will be able to advocate for what she needs and she will not take no for an answer… years from now.
Right now, though, this independence is too much for her to handle. My daughter wants to be on her stool washing dishes, standing on the toilet to brush her teeth, unlocking the front door after errands, turning on the stereo (and turning the volume waaaay up), reading her own books, cooking, and dressing herself.
I was so pleased when she learned how to pick out a pair of shoes, put them on herself, and cooperate with switching when I told her “wrong foot.” Even when she is opinionated about choosing the pair which didn’t necessarily coordinate with her outfit, her learning this task made me happy.
Not all of the independent tasks she is trying are coming so easily though, and some of them seem to be incredibly frustrating to her nearly 2-year-old mind. “No” seemed to be absent from her vocabulary up until the last few months and now it seems too many statements or questions are met with a sharp “NO.” When she gets stuck in a task she cannot figure out there is tantrum and tears, yelling and refusal of help. One night over the weekend she fought to put on her own pajamas, whining and squirming with them. When she got her legs stuck in the arm holes the body flailing began, so mad these pajamas could do her so wrong.
I allow her to have as many opportunities to practice her skills as possible. I stand outside in the heat for an extra five minutes for her to put the key correctly in the lock, I take the time to show her the correct method to get results, I step in to take over when she has lost control and I spend plenty of time cleaning up her messes. Let’s face it learning can be dirty sometimes. I wrestle with thoughts of psychology, child development and reinforcing behaviors, how much is too much and am I raising her right… Quickly snapping back to reality as duty calls for a second bath for the day when she attempted changing her own diaper in her crib after the nap.
Is this the terrible two’s, has it already arrived four months before she even turns the dreaded age? This stubborn toddler now demanding her way and don’t help, will be challenging my stress level for how long? When will she grasp the limitations I put in place for her and stop trying to push it? (dumb question I realized this after I wrote is since there will be evolving changes all the time.) The hardest part about meeting her demands is when my husband so honestly pointed out “How will you be able to deal with BOTH of us?” See he exudes much of the same childlike intolerance for when things don’t go his way, minus the body flailing.
There are far more smiles, hugs and expressions of cooperation then there are the no’s, the tears and the tantrums. With both my hubby and my toddler I will keep practicing patience, choosing by battles and providing loving support when it’s accepted.
And when my husband voluntarily gets up with my daughter in the morning and serves her chicken, pepperoni and cherries for breakfast. I’ll just say “Thank you for letting me sleep in” and wake up tomorrow. Life is perfect right now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Language development in a toddler is amazing to hear unfolding. Each day my daughter, Parker, is repeating new words, able to point to and identify new items, form somewhat recognizable statements, sing to the tune of songs and verbally respond to situations.
She is 20 months old now and growing rapidly in so many ways. She mimics gestures, uses wild facial expressions and easily communicates humor with everyone willing to interact. Parker has created some of her own terminology, as many toddlers do, like “baba” represents her pacifier and “wawa” is for water. “Ye-haw” is what you might hear in response to a sneeze or in place of a clear thank you.
One expression I have heard her using a lot lately has caused me to examine my own language usage – and no, I am not cursing
a lot around my daughter. It has been comical to observe her with her pretend phone conversations. Anything to a Parker represents a phone – an ipod, calculator, remote control, pad of paper etc. Over a year ago she pretty much became motivated to crawl when a cell phone was dangled in front of her to reach for. Let’s just say the allure of a phone is present and she loves pretending to talk on it.
Her baby babble often follows a clear “hi” and at some point she abruptly ends the conversation with a clear “bye.” Within the last week there have been pauses between the indistinguishable babble for an “Ummm” thought pause. Now it seems every phone call she takes contains the hi, the bye and several umm’s.
Now I understand I am not the only individual she encounters who may use “umm” to pause and prepare words. As her primary adult interaction, and the individual she most often listens to and likely observes on the phone – I gather she may have learned this un-word from me.
My daughter is constantly a source of inspiration. This week she has inspired me to be more mindful of pausing silently rather then filling the space with an “ummm.”
Progress (or passing of time since last posting) on the yard.
My backyard/snake pit/unattractive heap of debris continues to be an eye sore. However, there are some items to report regarding the mess since last writing.
Last weekend a random dog walking neighbor knocked on our door. Mind you, this is less than 10 minutes after laying our daughter down for a nap instigating our dogs to spring into protective barking action at the knock. The gentleman and his two dogs alerted us to the fact a tree on the side of our house was catching fire from sparks between the branches and the power lines.
Immediately the fire department was contacted and by the time the truck arrived the branches already burned themselves from connection to the power lines or the trees. Thankfully no flames and no harm came from the excitement, it was just another reminder of the work that needs to be happening on the yard – including a good trim of the trees.
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Secondly, we have been in touch with a friend who owns a landscaping business. My husband and I contacted him knowing of his business, although knowing nothing of his business. Let me explain, our relationship with this friend is from a former colleague of mine. In years past, friends from work would gather with our spouses and enjoy socializing with a few beverages. So our interactions with this friend are limited to observing his Coors Lights in a collapsible cooler and speaking fluent Spanish to bail out an employee from jail during one such gathering. After approaching him regarding help reaching our goals, I then checked out his business website… Holy Crap, the million dollar estates where he was responsible for the stonework on patios and driveways, along with irrigation systems and landscaping were an eternity away from the insignificant yard and miniscule budget our call was regarding. I gave him an opportunity to get off the hook and not be obligated to a friendly favor, he insisted no job is too small and often small jobs turn into referrals for big ones. No wonder he is so successful.
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Finally, the last piece of news to report… Like a teeny bopper with a blushing squeal – I GOT AN E-MAIL FROM PETER WALSH. After I wrote my post about how he inspired me to look at my house as my life and work on my yard, I thought I would try to let him know. I looked up his website, directed a sincere message of appreciation and included the link to the post. Within the week I was startled and jubilant to receive a response as follows:
“Thanks so much for the email Holly and for your kind words.
I love the blog!
Okay, it totally could have been someone who works for him and sorts through his e-mail. I would have still enjoyed a response had it have said “Best Peter’s People.” I like it better to assume it was my organizing idol, he read my words personally and acknowledged how he influenced my life.