Friday, February 10, 2012

Reasons I don't give Brodie away

Sometimes, I worry that Brodie gets a bad rap. I often refer to him as, The Monster, That Little One or simply Ornery. The truth is, he is a monster, he is the little one and he is ornery. He’s also just about the cutest thing ever. He’s happy 98% of the time (even when he’s pissing someone else off). He’s never met anyone he didn’t like. He doesn’t know a stranger. He loves with everything he has. He’s one of the funniest people I know.

Here’s a partial list of the reasons I haven’t actually tried giving him away.

1.       He wakes up smiling. He’s the only one in this house who does that. It’s refreshing.

2.       He likes to randomly tell me, “Love you Momma.” It melts my heart…and he KNOWS it.

3.       When I ask him what he wants to listen to on the radio, he tells me, “Poker Face!”

4.       If it was up to him, we’d dance and sing 18 hours a day.                                                 

5.       He notices when my nails are a new color and tells me, “Pretty.”

6.       Even if I’ve only been gone for 10 minutes, he runs to greet me at the door and excitedly yells, “Mommmmmma!”

7.       When I do things for him (Zip his jacket, kiss his boo boo, put on his shoes so he can go forth and wreak havoc) he pats my arm and tells me, “Thank you, Momma”

8.       He calls waffles, “Popped” because, at this house, they come out of the toaster.

9.       When I yawn, he puts his hands behind his head and tells me, very compassionately, “I tired, too.”

10.   He loves to ‘help’. And even though it makes everything take twice as long, secretly, I love it.

11.   He knows he’s a monster.

12.   He knows he’s ornery.

13.   He does not know he’s little.

Having a second child turned out to be NOTHING like I thought it was going to be.

Having Brodie turned out to be way better.

Happy Friday

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Washable Wednesday

(I totally stole this from pinterest.)

Last week, Washable Wednesday sounded like such a great idea. I was full of excitement and knowledge and great ideas and thoughts about how to tackle internal struggles head on, without fear, comfortable in letting my instincts move me forward.
This morning, however, everything sounded stupid.
It happens.

Sometimes, I let my head get the best of me. It’s something I’ve done my whole life. I don’t trust myself very much. It’s an issue. And it’s also today’s Washable.

“Is it stupid?”
“Do you hate it?”
“No one is going to like this, are they?”
“Are you sure I’m making the right decision?”
“Are you sure I’m not screwing this up?”
“Are you sure I don’t sound like an asshole? I sound like an asshole. You’d tell me if you really thought I sounded like an asshole, right?”

These are the questions. The ones I ask Jeremy. The ones I ask my family. The ones I ask my friends. I trust them. They usually don’t lie to me. I don’t have a problem trusting other people, the right people. I have a problem trusting myself.

I’ve screwed some stuff up. Nothing major, nothing life threatening, nothing that isn’t being worked out on a daily basis, but I’ve screwed some stuff up. I thought I could trust myself, or more likely, believed I couldn’t trust myself and ended up with some results I didn’t like.  Wanna know how I plan to get over that one?

Accept it and move on.

Seriously, there’s nothing I can do about those decisions, now. I mean, until someone actually invents a time machine. So, I’ve screwed stuff up. Whatever. It’s happened and I did it and, as one of my favorite people always says, it is what it is. I’m fine. I obviously lived to tell the story and, in regards to the times I thought I could trust myself and I was wrong, I probably learned something.

Funny thing, though. I’ve been figuring out over the last couple of years that there is one area of my life where believing I can’t trust myself isn’t really much of an issue.

Being Logan and Brodie’s Mom.

Now, please, stay with me. I’m not saying I am a perfect mother. Please, please, for the love of all things good and Holy, don’t misunderstand me. The idea of a perfect mother is complete and total crap anyway but even if it weren’t, I still wouldn’t be perfect. I’m okay with that. That idea sounds completely exhausting to me. What I am saying is that when it comes to my kids, I trust myself. I have to. I’m the mom. They trust me. How can I expect them to do that if I don’t even trust myself? I can’t. And if you think, for one minute, that my kids are too little to know the difference, you’re delusional. They are a little like ferocious animals in that way. They smell fear. Especially the little one.

When it was time to stop breastfeeding, I stopped. When it was time to potty train, I did. When it was time to take Logan to preschool, I took him. And, after Brodie was born and I felt like I wasn’t handling the mother-of-two-children thing so well. When I was a little too exhausted and the baby blues were maybe just a little too blue, I trusted that and saw a shrink. I know, in my gut, what to do. When it comes to my kids, I do it. I trust my gut and my heart and my head. Sometimes, that comes in the form of trusting myself well enough to know I’ve reached my limit. I’m worn out. I need back-up. Stat. There is nothing wrong with that and there sure isn’t anything wrong with trusting it.

One of my very best friends, Adrianne, cannot STAND that Brodie has a pacifier. She couldn’t stand it that Logan had one as long as he did, either. It drove her nuts. When it was time to take it away, I did, but not a moment sooner. She wasn’t so bad about actually bullying me, but those mothers exist. I tune them out. I trust myself. (If you’re a mom, then you already know which moms I’m talking about. The ones who try and make you believe that everything you’re doing as a mother is wrong. If you’re that mom, stop it. Seriously, you’re making your friends feel horrible about themselves and they are starting to hate you) When it's time to take it away, I will. I promise. He's not going to go to Kindergarten with a bink. Calm down. True story, though...I learned a whole lot of what I know about trusting my insticts as a mother from Adrianne. She owns honest motherhood like no one else I know. Thank God for her.

So, there you have it. I’m an awesome mom. Yay me!

No, seriously, I’m not telling you that because I think I’m an awesome mom. I’m not saying I never regret decisions I make in regards to my kids.  I’m sharing that part because it’s Washable Wednesday. I’m sharing that part because it’s good news! It means I’m not completely broken. It means that I do know how to trust myself. I know how to trust myself very well, actually. I’ve been learning about it for 5 years. I just don’t always do it in the other parts of my life. But, I figure if I can trust myself when it comes to my kids, the kids who terrified me before I met them, I can trust myself when it comes to me. To my writing. To my everything else. I already know me. There’s nothing to be scared of.  

There you go, Krysten. Simple enough. Stain’ll be out in no time.

Self-doubt. Down the drain.

Happy Washable Wednesday

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Conversations and Flashy Wand Thingies

A few weeks ago I asked Jeremy, “Is it weird that I would rather hang out with Logan than most adults I know?”

Jeremy’s answer?

“No. You guys get each other. Makes sense to me.”

Logan and I have this bit where I say, “I’m so glad you’re my kid.” And he says, “I’m so glad you’re my mom.”

Sometimes at bedtime, sometimes at breakfast time, sometimes on random Tuesday mornings on the way to school. We’ve been doing it for a little while now, and it makes my heart happy. I’m pretty sure it makes his heart happy, too.

I love that he and I can have actual conversations now. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we’re sitting around trying to solve the country’s financial problems or anything, but we’ve come a long way from the types of conversations I have with Brodie. Those two or three word sentences where Brodie is demanding something from me… juice, milk, attention…and I’m trying desperately to figure out what he wants so he’ll stop being so frustrated. I hate that he’s frustrated. The conversations with Logan are a little more entertaining.

The other day, Logan and I were watching Megamind and he asked, “Mom, who plays the voice of Megamind?”

“Will Ferrell”

“Who’s that?”

“You know who Buddy the Elf is?”

“Yeah, the tall guy with curly hair?”

“That’s Will Ferrell. That’s Megamind.”

“Oh, okay. Got it. And who’s the voice of Minion?”

“You know the record company guy in Alvin and the Chipmunks?”

“Yeah, the mean guy with glasses?”

“That’s the guy who’s the voice of Minion.”

“Oh, okay. He’s also in another movie, but I can’t think of it right now.”

“I know, Son, me neither.”

“Can you google it?”

“Yes, I can google it. Let me find my phone.”

“I think you left it in the kitchen. Lemme get it.”

“Thanks, Son.”

“You’re welcome. Oh and Mom?”


“After we google it, can we watch whatever movie it is?”

“Sure, Son”

Yep, like that. Conversations like that. I know he’s five and holding a conversation is totally on point. I’m not contacting Mensa or anything but he’s My five year old and these are Our conversations and I love talking to him about just about anything. He makes me happy.  

The kid’s like me, though, and he LOVES to talk. He LOVES the sound of his own voice. He does need someone to listen, though. His vocabulary is beyond huge, but he’s still working on the spelling and writing thing. Once he gets it, though, I have a feeling he’ll need his own collection of composition books. He’ll get there.

Sometimes, it’s hard to listen to him. I mean, you know, really listen, because I’m busy. With his brother, with the broom, with a book, whatever. Yesterday, on the drive home from school, I realized 2 minutes into a story that I had no idea what he was talking about. I had started trying to bribe Brodie with anything and everything I could think of to get him to stop saying, “Dammit.” (There was no soap in the car and empty threats are completely useless with my youngest child)  When I realized I didn’t know what the story was about, I said, “Hey, Son. Tell me that last part again.” He stopped, sighed a legitimate, disappointed sigh and said, “Never mind.”


Ever been heartbroken? Yeah, this one felt like that. Kind of a knock to your gut, your heart, your brain and your soul all at the same time. I could have cried. Seriously. I felt horrible. But, as with everything else in this business, you have to roll with the punches. Take a knock on your chin like a Mom and move on.

“Logan, I’m sorry. I wasn’t listening. I want to hear that story. Can you tell me again when we get home? When your brother is quieter?”

He waited a couple of beats and told me, “Yeah. Sure.” Not in a bratty way but in a kind and forgiving Logan way. I knew I had to stick to it, though. Another thing about that kid is that he doesn’t forget anything.

E ver.

Last night Logan, Brodie, Roxy and I went to Toy Story 3 on Ice. We were all really excited about it. Roxy was excited about all of it. Brodie was mostly excited to be going anywhere (although he kept yelling for “Woody!”) and Logan and I were most excited about Flashy Wand Thingies!

You know what I’m talking about! Those totally awesome, way too expensive, light up toys that spin and have a character on them with fiber optic lights! The ones that the “Stadium Carnies” run up and down the aisles pushing to little kids, getting them so excited that their parent’s almost have to buy one to keep said kids from losing it all together, thereby ruining the show for everyone around them. You know.

Flashy Wand Thingies!

Anyway, we were excited. Both of us. We knew they would have them and we knew we would buy them and we were still SO EXCITED! The coolest part of the Flashy Wand Thingy was that I didn’t have to fake my excitement. I mean, let’s be honest, sometimes I have to fake excited about stuff for my kids. I’m their mom. It’s my job. I’m excited that they’re excited, but at the end of the day, I could live without most things that excite them. NOT SO with the Flashy Wand Thingies. I totally got it. And it was so cool to get to share that excitement with them. To understand. To be the kind of mom, if only for a moment, who still gets excited about toys.

The three of us lay in Logan’s bed for a minute and played with our Flashy Wand Thingies in the dark. Brodie went to his own bed, taking his Buzz Lightyear with him and Logan and I lay in his bed with Woody for a minute longer.

“Mom, I love this thing. Thank you.”

“I love this thing, too. And you’re welcome…Hey Logan?”


“I’m so glad you’re my kid.”

“I’m so glad you’re my mom. Can I finish my story about Caiden’s Power Ranger now?”

“Of course you can.”

The story was about Power Rangers so…I had to fake it a little. It was no big deal, though, because while he told me the story I got to lay in the dark and watch the Flashy Wand Thingy just a little while longer while I listened, intently this time.

When Jeremy got home I told him I wanted to write an entire post about Flashy Wand Thingies. He laughed, “Did you and Logan finally get your Flashy Wand Thingies? Those are good for your guys' souls.”

He gets us better than he thinks he does.

Monday, February 6, 2012

McCafe: Like Starbucks, for people with kids.

My kids and I spent the second half of the big game at a clean (ish), quiet McDonald’s play area. They were bored and I was bored and Jeremy was just trying to watch the game. We didn’t care anything about the game, so we found some place else to be.

They ran around and crawled in and out of the tunnels, played various make-believe games that Logan made up and Brodie broke all the rules to. They were loud and crazy and no one told them to be quiet. They took turns coming over and taking bites from the sundaes we bought, dirty hands and ice cream covered faces. I nibbled on an apple pie, drank a cup of coffee and finished reading a book. We spent a little over 6 dollars, including the sundae we brought home for Jeremy.  No one knew the score. No one knew how the quarterback looked. No one was yelling at them to move from out in front of the TV. They got to be kids and I got to watch.

It was the perfect way to spend Super Bowl Sunday.

McDonald’s is still McDonald’s. They still have chicken nuggets and french fries. The people behind the counter are still young, in ugly uniforms, learning to fine tune their customer service skills. The play area still smells like a mixture of disinfectant and dirty socks. But there was free Wi-fi, a couple of people sitting at laptops or over paper work and a big screen TV for the parents that didn’t think to bring a book.

I remember reading press releases a few years ago when McDonald’s did their McCafe make-over. I remember reading that they wanted to be in competition with Starbucks. I remember thinking that they were delusional. McDonald’s and Starbucks were NEVER going to be in the same category. How could these people under the Golden Arches think that putting in an espresso machine and adding a few fu-fu drinks to their menu was going to put them in the same category? It doesn’t. At all. Then again, I can’t take my kids to Starbucks. I mean, they go through the drive-thru with me. They even get their own hot chocolate in these too cute for words, miniature Starbucks cups with card board sleeves and everything. Starbucks is a big deal for them…from the backseat. I would NEVER take Brodie inside of Starbucks for longer than 2 minutes. He would have every coffee cup broken, every tea press shattered and every bag of coffee inhaled through his nostrils. The comfy chairs and calming music will do me no good if I have to take a Xanax just to make it through a cup of coffee.

 And I know, for sure, I would get no reading done.

But, at McDonald’s, there was nothing to break. Nothing for him to shatter. Nothing for him to inhale. Just tunnels and slides and make-believe. The coffee was good and the Wi-fi was just as fast. When I finished my book, I even downloaded a new one to my Nook. It might not be as cool, it might not be as trendy, and it’s damn sure not as expensive, but I like what McDonald’s has done with the place.

I’m thinking I should write to them and pitch them a new slogan.

It’s like Starbucks, for people with kids.