My Children Keep Me On My Toes

When Gamera was almost two weeks old, Cookie Monster locked himself in the nursery. Since it was the kind of lock that requires a key, he was in there, with a dirty diaper (of course) for over 30 minutes. (This was the 2nd time he’d done this, by the way. The first time, he managed to unlock the door – also with a dirty diaper. Cookie Monster liked to run away from the changing table and go into his old room). Poor boy was screaming and weeping the whole time. It was unawesome.

Cookie Monster banged on the door, tried to claw his way out of the room, and kept trying the door latch. It was very traumatic. I was totally trying not to sob!! I did start crying a little bit, but I didn’t want to freak Cookie Monster out so I tried to stay as calm as possible. Plus, it’s hard to pick a lock when you’re weeping hysterically. Finally, the last 5 minutes or so, I just stuck my hand under the door and told him to hold my fingers. It was so sad. Thank God the locksmith came in 20 minutes and charged us $100 for it!! He broke the lock (even he couldn’t pick the lock) and got Cookie Monster out.

I eventually changed out most of the locks to ones that he could easily unlock. I was not about to go through that again!

Of course, my favorite was when the locksmith asked, “Why didn’t you just ask him to unlock the door?”

I looked at him and said, “He’s under two. Don’t you think if I could’ve gotten him to do that for the last 30 minutes YOU WOULDN’T BE HERE RIGHT NOW???”

Cookie Monster recovered quite quickly though. After all, nothing a lot of ice cream, milk shakes and fries didn’t immediately cure. He had nothing of nutritional value that night for dinner.

Fast forward to this afternoon where I am nursing Glow Worm in the nursery and the older kids are playing in the guest bathroom. Next thing I know, Cookie Monster comes to me and says Gamera won’t open the door. I hear her trying the handle repeatedly but to no avail.

I think to myself, “Wait! Didn’t I change all the door handles last time?” A quick check on both the doors of the guest bathroom suggests that I did not. I keep trying to get Gamera to unlock the door. After all, she is a lot older than Cookie Monster was when he locked himself in the nursery.

She is not having it and begins to cry. As I am trying to pick the lock (with Cookie Monster running around, getting in the way and Glow Worm wiggling on the hall floor, I try to comfort Gamera as best as I can. I completely fail at describing how to unlock the door.

My friend, DS, who is staying with us for a few days tries to help me remove the lock. Unfortunately, the screws to remove the handle are on the other side of the door. That seems ass-backwards to me.

Gamera is still crying. Cookie Monster leans his head against the door and asks her repeatedly if she wants to build a snowman.

The locksmith tells me it will be twenty minutes and $120 (inflation much?). Thankfully, Gamera finally figures out how to unlock the door (after my friend and I have completely mangled one of the locks). The locksmith arrives minutes after she self-liberates so I still have to pay him $50. *sigh* At least she’s out.

Tomorrow (or maybe Friday), I will have to switch out the remaining four door handles for the ones with a push button lock so small children can open the door easily. I can’t believe I didn’t learn my lesson the first time. I’m sure when Glow Worm is older and I have Baby 4Glow Worm will manage to lock himself in somehow with a lock I thought I switched out. That would just be my luck.

On a different note, this morning, Cookie Monster’s preschool teacher told me that yesterday, some twins were visiting class to check it out. When she told the class the twins were in their mommy’s tummy at the same time, Cookie Monster jumped in to tell everyone that he came out of my tummy (I had a C-section with him) and that his Gamera came out of my “gagina.” (She and Glow Worm were VBACs). His teacher was just relieved no one had follow up questions.

Can You Get PTSD from Taking Your Kid to the Dentist?

You stand there, feet rooted to the tiles of the lobby floor. Your eyes are watching events unfold in all their insane glory. Time slows down and the whole while, your brain is stunned and stuttering, “What. The. Fuck. No. Wow. OMG. Is this happening? OMG. It is happening. It is happening to ME! Fuck!”

Ladies and gentlemen, this was all before 9:45am this morning.

So six months ago, I thought it would be so efficient and awesome if I scheduled both Cookie Monster and Gamera’s dental appointments at the same time because hey! Who doesn’t love efficiency? Turns out, Cookie Monster doesn’t love efficiency!

Erroneously, I thought that since it would be Gamera’s first time at the dentist, she would benefit from watching Cookie Monster go first. Clearly, I have no memory because WHY WOULD I THINK THAT? There has been no evidence during our previous two visits for Cookie Monster that this would be: A) a good idea and B) ever going to happen. I blame it all on a completely unrealistic hopeful optimism that has resulted in three children.

Fast forward to this morning. We start off pretty good. That is, until Cookie Monster gets wind that we are going somewhere after breakfast. He comes upstairs asking me where we are going. Because I have a stupid policy of never lying to my children (sometimes, I really hate this policy), I tell him we are going to the dentist. He is not happy. I make a classic parenting mistake. I tell him if he doesn’t go, then his teeth will rot and the dentist will have to pull out his teeth. (WHY WHY WHY DID I FUCK MYSELF IN SUCH A ROOKIE AND STUPID STUPID MANNER? I DESERVE ALL THE BAD THINGS!!)

As you can imagine, that went over well. Instead, I should’ve just said, “I love you too much to argue.” (I’m trying out a new parenting method and the hardest part is for me just to STFU. Clearly.)

Cookie Monster starts to whine and cry and hides himself behind the rocking chair. I wrangle him downstairs while he kicks and screams, all the while saying, “I love you too much to argue.” Hapa Papa somehow forces Cookie Monster into the car seat. (This is a Herculean task. First, Cookie Monster is very strong for a four year old. Second, when he’s pissed, he’s even stronger. Third, have you ever tried to force a small child into a car seat? How can they simultaneously be so rigid you are afraid you will snap them in two while being so limp that you cannot get a decent hold on them to smoosh them into the car seat? I just. Fail.)

The whole car ride there, Cookie Monster begs, weeps, and screams, “Let me out!! I want to go home! Get me out!” We arrive at the parking lot and Gamera is very excited and comes out of the van like a normal child. Somehow, I remove Cookie Monster from his car seat and continue my tenuous hold on his writhing body and exit the car very carefully. The Asian dude in the car next to mine just stares as this drama unfolds. (Incidentally, I hate the random side hand holds by the door on my minivan. What is the point of them except to provide easy handholds for my hysterical child to grab and prevent me from walking away from the vehicle?)

I stumble the hundred feet from the lot, through the lobby, and into the office. Cookie Monster sees Tangled on the TV and calms down somewhat. Gamera is busy playing Legos in the corner with another little boy. Every few moments, Cookie Monster whimpers and cries and demands to go home. The receptionist asks me to fill out paperwork as she watches me try to get a handle on my son. I resist the urge to smack her in the face because OMG DOES SHE NOT HAVE EYES?

Somehow, we make it to the moment where the dental assistant asks us to go in. This does not go well. I carry Cookie Monster who is of course, screaming and kicking and weeping, and Gamera, who is two compared to her brother’s four, walks in calmly of her own recognizance. The next thirty minutes are a blur of Cookie Monster throwing a tantrum, begging to leave, screaming, “I want to go out! Take me home! Take me home!” He asks for water. He drinks water. He says his tummy hurts. He trembles and shakes. He storms into the reception area. He storms back. I have to juggle holding him and answering inane questions from the dental assistant.

I put Cookie Monster down because I have to hold Gamera as the dentist looks at her teeth. She cries a bit, but overall, lets the dentist (who is AWESOME) do what needs to be done. She is calm and mostly, Gamera just wants to watch Tangled and have a lollipop and take home a purple balloon. Her teeth are fine. She is a fucking baller.

Finally, the dentist looks at Cookie Monster’s teeth and I use all my strength to hold him down and she tries her best not to get bitten by my rabid four year old. His teeth are fine. All she does is look at his teeth and gives him a goody bag and a balloon. I don’t know why he is ballistic.

We leave and I apologize profusely to all the staff and traumatized parents in the waiting room. We are now in the lobby and I am trying to tie down his balloon when Cookie Monster stands stock still and starts to vomit yellow acid all over his pajamas. (Did I mention he was still in his PJs and pullup and also, BAREFOOT because Mom of the Year here couldn’t get him to change or put on shoes?)

It just doesn’t stop.

He just stands there, mouth open, an arc of bile continuously spewing out of his mouth. (An ACTUAL ARC. Like a FOUNTAIN.) It spatters yellow and bubbly all over the nice tile floor, creating a slick puddle all around Cookie Monster’s bare feet. He vomits straight down his nice, white, bulldog pajamas. And he just stands there.

Thank God he didn’t eat breakfast and just had water at the dentist.

Gamera doesn’t move and stares, stunned. 

I freeze. I don’t know what to do. I run to the bathroom and grab paper towels. I throw them on the rapidly widening pool of gastric acid. I do this repeatedly. Cookie Monster takes off his shirt and uses it to wipe his feet, the floor, and steps on it. I valiantly refrain from yelling at him and tell him to stop that. I put his shirt in my purse. He walks to the door and lays down on the ground.

I go back to the dentist office and ask them to call a custodian because my kid has just vomited all over the lobby. A few minutes later, two nice dental assistants in their pink scrubs and face masks come out to clean the floor.

They tell me to go home and assure me that this happens all the time. (Somehow, I highly doubt that but I desperately want it to be true.) One of them gamely says, “At least there are no chunks!” Bless her heart.

I immediately drive to McDonald’s and binge on orange juice and hash browns.

It occurs to me that I forgot to make our next appointments. I think I’ll wait a few weeks for them to forget us and become anonymous once more.

Sometimes, Parenting is a Slog

I came to an unexpected realization tonight. I don’t think I’ve been happy lately. A lot of it is due to me feeling overwhelmed about Glow Worm and then my two older kids on top of that. Then, I feel stupid for feeling so overwhelmed because let’s be honest. Glow Worm’s skin issues aren’t life threatening. (The infections may have come to that had I allowed them to rage on, but I didn’t and he’s much better now.)

After going to Stanford pediatric dermatology, they gave me some skin regimens that though labor intensive and a pain in the ass, are quite doable and are working. My main gripe with them is they care more about treatment versus prevention. They seemed skeptical about what I think is the root cause of Glow Worm’s eczema (protein sensitivities from food). So, short of repeated treatment (granted, effective treatment), they aren’t really helpful in terms of preventing this from occurring in the future.

I find this both disappointing and infuriating. It’s not like I suggested Glow Worm’s eczema was caused by aliens doing scientific experiments on him. FFS, be useful! It is NOT a fait accompli! Blergh.

So, hopefully, this is just a phase that I’m going through. Sorry my blog is nonstop complainy lately. Please don’t think I am not grateful for my life and my kids. It’s just a tough (for me, anyway) time at the moment.

What I am SUPER grateful, other than my family, are my awesome friends who go out of their way to babysit my older kids so I can take Glow Worm to doctor appointments without also having to deal with two small children, as well as offer to pick up and drop off Cookie Monster from school. It so strange how it was initially very difficult for me to accept this type of help. Now, I’m all for it.

Truly, I don’t know how people do it without any help from friends or family. I would just curl up and cry (more).

I am so tired that my house is a mess (I haven’t really cleaned it in at least a month – which in the grand scheme of things, is not a big deal, but the part of me that likes to get things clean and done cringes), my kids are barely fed and clothed, and I just pretty much let Cookie Monster and Gamera fend for themselves. In fact, this morning, I realized that not only do I have no idea how to play with Gamera when Cookie Monster is at school, I have no desire to.

I am not sure whether or not that is a good, bad, or neutral thing.

Part of me thinks that one of the perks of bearing multiple children super close in age is me no longer needing to entertain small children. The other part of me thinks that I am a lazy, half-assing parent. (Perhaps both opinions can be simultaneously true.)

I know several of my friends have suggested that I hire a baby sitter to come and watch the children while I decompress. While I appreciate that suggestion, the thought of doing so just causes me more stress. My kids have only been watched by family or close friends. Hiring a babysitter to watch all THREE of my kids (that is THREE kids four and under) is costly (around $25/hr or maybe more) and likely, traumatic for my incredibly clingy children. In fact, I think Glow Worm would be the most accepting of a baby sitter. Also, I find it really wasteful since the whole point of me being a SAHM is to STAY AT HOME. This is my JOB.

Keep in mind, I also do have a reasonable amount of alone time when Hapa Papa is at home or my mom comes over. I do leave the house sans children. Of course, when I come back, I usually have to be OK with the house looking as if a tornado swept through it and my kids in various states of disarray. (Not that this is not the situation when I watch my kids by myself, but it is even MORE overwhelming when I have just been all peaceful and happy and then walk home into what seems like a Disaster Zone and have to switch back into parenting mode. Then I find that all that Zen-ness immediately leaks away and my shoulders tense right back up.)

Anyhow, I find myself constantly tired and annoyed – even with going to sleep when the kids sleep (around 9pm). Granted, my sleep is constantly broken, but I AM sleeping. I finally got around to watching some TV the other day (I haven’t made a dent in my DVR in at least a month) and my reading seems to have picked up again. But mostly, I feel as if I’m treading water and anything I do to decompress just piles up the To Do list higher and higher.

Compounding this is Hapa Papa traveling a lot as well as my mom being gone for about two weeks with her own travels. Yes, yes. Cry me a river. I realize that so many people out there are single parents and have to deal with this AS WELL AS work full time. I get it. I am not special or unique in my travails. I’m not trying to start a “Who has it harder” pissing contest. I am just telling it like it is for me right now.

No doubt, I just have to chug through this and in a few weeks, Glow Worm will be markedly healed, I will get more sleep, my kids will miraculously listen instead of looking at me like I’m making suggestions until I yell at them and even then, they move SO FUCKING SLOWLY – oh right, I was in the middle of telling myself that it will all be better soon.

I know I would seriously feel less stressed if I did the following:

1) Sleep more.

2) Build in more time to account for the unaccountable SLOWNESS of my older children doing ANYTHING that requires haste.

3) Stop caring HOW my kids do things as long as they do it. However slowly.

4) Eat more fruits and vegetables. (Oh, let’s just be honest. Eat fruits and vegetables. That would instantly make it more.)

5) Stop worrying about if my children injure themselves. I can warn them all I want but if my kids seem to have an utter inability to sit in the center of the fucking chair, then they deserve to fall off. Every day. I just. Gah. I suppose that’s why we have health insurance. *sigh*

6) Choose to focus on the good moments.

7) Choose to let go of the bad moments.

8) Drink more peach bellinis. Mmmmm… I need to learn how to make me some of those. I have a VitaMix. And Google. It can be done. (Sigh. Now I’ve become a stereotypical SAHM who drinks. I don’t even drink! But I can start!)

Alright, who wants to have an afternoon (Oh, why lie? Morning sounds fine, too.) play date where we make and consume peach bellinis?

Grief on the Side

An old co-worker and friend of mine died yesterday morning. He would’ve been 44 in less than a month and leaves behind a wife and two teenage children. Although I knew it was inevitable (he had been in a painful struggle with cancer for a long time), it is still a shock to my system. (Obviously, my grief is nothing compared to his family and closer friends.) 

It’s a mixed bag, right? When people we love and care about die after suffering so much physical pain. On the one hand, we do not want them to be gone – for death seems so final to me (although the thought of a Heaven and him being in it brings me comfort). On the other hand, we do not want to prolong their suffering and pain. So though I am sad he has left us, I am relieved there was an end to his pain.

I must admit though, part of my grief (despite losing a friend who was a person who drew others in with his fun and positive personality – geez, even my attempts to describe him fall so flat, as if reducing him to a caricature of himself) is the thought of this happening to ME. I am sad for his family who are left behind, and I cannot stop thinking about ME. How I am so grateful that this is NOT happening to ME.

I am a selfish ass.

When I consider the possibility of my babies in a life without Hapa Papa, I can’t breathe. Not to mention just the practicality of WHO WILL PROVIDE FOR US? and OMG IT WILL HAVE TO BE ME!

Of course, my mind veers to the practical, daily providence side of things. Because to think too hard or too long of an actual LIFE without Hapa Papa, I just can’t. I feel an ache in the back of my throat and eyes just thinking about all the things that my kids (and by extension, my friend’s kids) will miss and all I want to do is cry.

After I heard the news this afternoon, I just stumbled about, letting my kids zone out on the iPad. All I could think about was how grateful that we were all healthy and alive and that I loved my kids. Of course, fast forward to this evening right before bed when I reached new heights (in terms of volume) of screaming and yelling at Cookie Monster and Gamera (POOR Glow Worm!) and I feel even more like a giant piece of turd.

I don’t know why the juxtaposition of these two events sits so heavily on my heart. I suppose it’s some trite message about how we never know when we’re going to die so we need to cherish the moments we have with our children.

Mostly, I just feel guilt.

But since I already wrote a post on being a monster, we can skip that guilt-fest for now. I think I am just going to chock all that yelling to misplaced grief, stress, and the sad fact of life for the moment. I’ll make better choices tomorrow.

At any rate, I miss my friend. We had somewhat lost touch in the past few years, but that did not dampen my love for him.

Rest in Peace, Nellie. My heart breaks for your wife and two beautiful children. You are with Jesus now and we are without you. Seems a bit selfish of Jesus if you ask me, but that’s just me feeling sad. You were one fucking awesome guy and it sucks that you’re gone. You are loved.

I am a Monster

Yesterday morning, I yelled at Cookie Monster and Gamera so much Cookie Monster asked me why I was screaming at him. I told him if he didn’t want to listen he could live with someone else. Then Gamera told me, “Stop talking. Stop saying that. It’s not nice.”

Schooled and shamed by a two year old.

I sat down and cried.

I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed.

In the past month, I have been to the regular doctor at least 4-5 times. I’m heading their again today after just going yesterday. For the same kid. Poor Glow Worm. I’ve driven 3 hours round trip for the Chinese doctor at least twice a week for the last four weeks.

Glow Worm’s eczema is better but now that that’s taken care of, he has yeast infections in all his moist fatty folds (armpit, neck, genitals, knees, ankles) that because I thought was eczema, I put the steroid ointment on it which apparently suppresses his immune response so it got worse and now, there is a bacterial infection on top of that. Baby Boy didn’t cry when he was itchy and scratching his head into a bloody mess, but now he is weeping when I even gently touch his under parts. This morning, there was blood all over his scrotum because the open wounds stuck to his diaper and when I opened it to change him, it ripped off his skin.

We both cried.

After coming home, I noticed both his eyes were rimmed red and starting to have production. I think he has pink eye. On top of that, an angry rash has developed over his torso and scalp. It doesn’t look like the eczema he had before and his skin was just getting better. Hence the return trip.

(ETA: He has impetigo. The rash is a bacterial infection. So are his eyes. He’s starting oral antibiotics and eye drops and eye ointments. The doctor also wants me to go to Stanford pediatric dermatology to see what’s going on.)

Although Glow Worm used to sleep twelve hours in a row at night, he now wakes up every 3-5 hours (for awhile, it was every two). Throw in my other two kids who occasionally wake up crying for me – even if they fall back asleep almost immediately, I AM STILL UP.

Hapa Papa has been in NYC for work vacation and though my mom has come a few times to help and my friends have been awesome, they still can’t parent for me. (Too bad!)

These are not excuses. Just context. Every parent goes through this crap (and many of you have gone through more on a regular basis). I know I am not special. I know I shouldn’t yell or scream or nag or be petty and mean, but sometimes, (OK, a LOT of times), I am.

I tell myself after each bout of being a jerk that I won’t yell anymore and be like that person who wrote an article about how she stopped yelling for a year. I hate her.

That resolve lasts about five seconds or until one of my kids spills some milk. Whichever comes first.

I tell myself that I shouldn’t nag and the main reason I yell is because they don’t listen to me (possibly because of my nonstop nagging and yelling).

I feed my children and cajole and bribe and beg and threaten and scream because WHY AM I DOING THIS WHEN THEY HAVE PERFECTLY FUNCTIONING HANDS? But they are slow or picky or whatever so I feed them even though I know I am just perpetuating this cycle of bad habits and if I would just let them be hungry already then they (especially Cookie Monster who FFS is Four Fucking Years Old) would eat everything and all of it quickly and independently.

Even though I know better, I threaten my kids with, “I’m getting mad!” They now freak out and worry (especially Gamera, poor darling) and when they notice I am starting to lose it or my tone changes, they immediately ask, “You mad, Mama? You mad? You happy?”

It’s gotten so bad, sometimes I say, “Do you want Mommy to get mad? Do you want to be in trouble?” Then Gamera will cry and say, “I don’t wanna be in trouble! I don’t want you get mad!”

I don’t want my kids to constantly fear me getting angry or want to please me so badly they will suppress themselves to do what I want. (Although it sounds awesome when I am so pissed they are throwing a tantrum because I won’t let them play with a purple loofah because it’s pretty.) I don’t want them to worry constantly about making me or anyone other than themselves happy. I don’t want them to be “good” because they don’t want to be in trouble. Apparently that means I am grooming them for sexual abuse. I DON’T WANT TO GROOM MY KIDS FOR SEXUAL ABUSE!

I want to tell myself to cut myself some slack, that tomorrow is another day (or when I am really ambitious, right “now” because at any moment, we can start a new day). But the problem is, day after day, I HAVEN’T CHANGED.

I feel as if I am an alcoholic.

I pray and beg God to change my character faults or to protect my kids from myself and have them grow up mostly ok and less fucked up than I did (but really, sometimes it seems to be a huge crapshoot). Then I feel like I’m copping out by not doing the work myself and only hoping that some god or mythical creature is going to wave their magic wand and poof! I am all better and no longer a complete asshat.

Nope. Still a giant asshat.

Unfortunately, it’s one of those situations where fighting against my natural tendencies seems to be the only way to change. Seems like a pretty stupid way to go about it if you ask me.

Seriously. Before I got married and had kids, I thought I was awesome. Oh, sure, I knew I had “character flaws” but I wasn’t really confronted with them day in and day out. (Mostly because my friends and coworkers were perhaps too kind to me and nice to my face.) Now, I’m not exactly off my “I am Awesome” train, but it certainly is tempered with the Reality of my temper and selfishness.

The worst part is, I can see how my worst traits are getting passed onto my children. When they are frustrated, my kids scream and yell and want to throw or hit things. You could say that it is because they are young and small and don’t quite yet know how to cope with frustration and anger. Fine. But then, what’s MY excuse?

I used to pray all the time for God to change my circumstances or bail me out of a situation. Now, I am constantly praying for God to change my character (or at least, to help me change and choose better for myself). I suppose that is also a sign of growth and change. I just wish I weren’t constantly being humbled and having my ego handed to me on a platter.

Perhaps this is also one interpretation of daily “dying to my self.” Well, I tell myself that I would gladly die for my children. Here is now a constant opportunity to do so.

My Kids Can’t Read But Are Expert YouTube Surfers

I might as well confess (although I’m sure it does not come to much of a surprise) that I am an utter failure when it comes to limiting screen time. Sure, there are days when my children don’t have any time on the iPad/iPhone/TV, but that is an anomaly. I suppose it is just as much an anomaly on days when my kids are endlessly on a screen, but I guess I only remember those! In general, though, my kids have a bit more than the two hour recommended screen time. I seriously don’t know how the time flies when they’re on it. I would be better about screen time, but WHY ARE THERE SO MANY HOURS UNTIL BEDTIME?

Also, let me just state now that I have no intention of seriously changing this behavior. I don’t want advice on how to cut screen time or articles linking to the rotting of my children’s brains. My brother and I watched at least 5-6 hours of TV after school every week day and we turned out – dare I say it – AWESOME! So I am not really worried about them. After all, they also spend hours outside, at the park, in class, playing play dough, cars, running around screaming and going on adventures with each other so I think we’re ok.

IMG_1206-001Anyhow, like all humans, my kids have preferences of what they want to watch and what medium with which to watch it. Of course, the kids love TV but since their grasp of the remote control requires reading and less intuitive button pushing , YouTube on the iPhone/iPad is their favorite. (Although Cookie Monster and Gamera have a disturbing capacity for observation and now know how to turn on the TV and hit On Demand and My DVR. *shakesfist*)

Watching my kids, especially Cookie Monster, navigate YouTube is amazing. They prefer the pre-iOS7 YouTube application because its recommendations are much easier to access, but they will also make do on the new YouTube app. Either way, they have no issues at all with locating what videos they want, fingers flying and scrolling with expert ease. I don’t think know how to use YouTube with as much proficiency as my kids do. I can only imagine what they will be like in the future and I have trouble with programming the future equivalent of a DVR.

What do they watch? Lately, they are obsessed with Frozen movie and song clips, (just like they went through a Cars and Thomas fan video phase). However, the most long lasting obsessing is watching two YouTube channels: BluCollection and DisneyCollectorBR.

For some reason, my kids LOVE to watch OTHER people play and demo Play Doh kits, Egg Surprises, color changing Cars, Toy Story characters, whatever – instead of playing many of the same toys themselves! WTH? And when they are playing play dough, they repeat the instructions out loud just like in the videos! (eg: “Remove the excess.” or “Use the molds.”) This is also how they know SO MANY Disney and cartoon characters without ever having watching the shows/movies.

I find it fascinating.

More than that, I find the videos and the video-makers fascinating. The videos don’t sell any toys, the makers tell you where to buy the toys (and it’s never their own sites). As far as I can tell, these two people just love to make videos and play with Play Doh and kid toys and color changing Cars. It’s mind-boggling! What do these people get out of these videos?

Hapa Papa surmises that they get money or free products from manufacturers to demo the toys to their audience – likely made up of ignored toddlers/preschoolers like my own. I guess that must be it.

What do you think? Also, my kids can’t be the only ones who know how to use phones and tablets better than most adults, right? RIGHT?

A Chip Off the Old Block

This morning is starting off with awesome. That is, if your idea of awesome includes Cookie Monster throwing things in anger when he doesn’t get his way (suggestions on how to deal with this welcome), Gamera peeing in her pants because I was dealing with Cookie Monster being a punk, then her throwing a tantrum because I didn’t have pink socks so SHE started throwing things like her big brother (thanks for that), and Glow Worm not going down for his morning nap. So yes, the day is starting off with a bang.

I am nearing my wit’s end with Cookie Monster though. If he doesn’t get his way and he is angry, he starts screaming and then he starts throwing things. He even started doing this at school, which is completely mortifying. Add in his lying and how Gamera is copying his every move so she is now throwing things and lying, I just am at a loss.

I’ve been trying to calmly tell Cookie Monster that he can be angry. (I recall my father not even allowing me to be angry, telling me that he knew what I was thinking and that I wasn’t allowed to think it – which really, is somewhat presumptuous and completely none of his business – especially since I was around eight.) However, he cannot throw things or hit people. Or even scream his brains out but let’s face it. Him not doing that would be a miracle. Then he has to pick up all the things he threw.

I’ve tried putting him in time outs but he now is very violent and refuses to stay put. I have to physically squash him against the wall and it is untenable over the long term. Locking him in his room or the garage is awful. He starts screaming and pounding or kicking the door and pulling on the handle. I feel like a child abuser.

My parents were super strict and I recall my father getting the 雞毛撣子(feather duster) and whipping me with it. I can still hear the thin stick whistling through the air right before it smacked me in the ass.

I have no problem with corporal punishment, but it always seems hypocritical to me to hit my kid for hitting. :/ Perhaps this makes me too liberal. Plus, after spanking or a slap on the hand, both kids seem to lose their tempers more easily and resort to hitting much more quickly. That is the part that annoys me more. It’s the opposite of what I want to happen!

Then, it plays into all these fears I have of my kids inheriting my terrible temper (not to mention, my father’s). It doesn’t help when my mother always says the kids get their temper from me whenever they have a tantrum. As if I am the only person to have a temper or get angry. Every one else in the family is a fucking saint, I guess.

When I get frustrated and don’t yell, sometimes I say, “Mommy is getting mad.” Then they both get worried and keep asking, “You mad, Mama? You happy?”

I really don’t want them to worry about my emotional state any more than general decency requires. I would hate that they live ever in fear of my anger or disappointment. Sigh.

Seriously. Since raising and caring for the kids is my main full time job, I really feel like I am failing quite an awful lot. Not that I have to be perfect, but I’d like to not constantly feel as if I’m treading water.

And for those people who would say it’s my own fault for having kids in the first place, first of all, thanks for that. Second, it’s not like I can return the kids so you really haven’t been very helpful except for lording over me with your superior prophylactic usage. Third, fuck off and go away now. Fourth, when you have children, I’ll be back to remind you and rub it in on the worst day.

Anyhow, sorry for the rant. Hapa Papa is out on vacation again and I am feeling sorry for myself. Thanks for listening. Also, I am open to useful advice. What has worked for your kids?