Update October 2015

We've been living overseas since about the time this blog petered out. There are lots of funny Mo-and-Curly-abroad stories to share -- I'm exploring the best way to do that.

Thanks for tuning in!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Nightime conversation with 3-year-old

"Mom, I need cuddles."

"OK, just for a minute. But you need to stop talking so you can sleep."

"I like talking."

"Yes, I know."

I climb in bed with him and hug him tight. He stares at my face. Slowly he outlines my eyebrows with his finger.

"Why do you have hair over your eyes?" he asks.

"You do, too," I direct his finger to his eyebrows. "Do you know what they're called?"

"Sunsets."


I smile, thinking of how eyebrows arch, just like a setting sun as it sinks down over the horizon. One of our favorite activities is watching the sun set over the lake from our friend's waterfront home, or even better, from their pontoon boat.


"They're called eyebrows," I tell him.


He laughs. Then he lightly touches my eye lashes.


"Do you know what those are called?" I ask, curious what eye lashes should be called, according to a 3-year-old.

"Mom, those are eyeballs," he says.

I touch my eyelashes. "Yes, and these are eyelashes," and pointing to my eyelids, I say, "And those are eyelids."


His face becomes very concerned. "I don't have eyelids."


"Sure you do."

"No," he becomes adamant. "I've never, ever seen them!"


I guess it's true that he's ever seen the outsides of his own eye lids. Hmmmm.

Before I can come up with an answer, he starts singing. Loudly. Loud enough to wake up his brother.

I shush him, and tell him again that it's time to stop talking.

He continues. I get frustrated.

"That's enough! Now shut your mouth!"

He gives me one of those devious smiles. I know he's up to no good. And sure enough, he starts humming, as loud as he possibly can.

I realized that technically, he's obeying me. Humming is not talking. And he did, in fact, shut his mouth when I asked him to.

I kiss him and leave the room, grinding my teeth.


Thankfully he didn't wake up his brother, and eventually he put himself to sleep.

Fashion advice for the harried mama

If you know me IRL, you're probably laughing your head off at the idea of me writing a column on fashion advice. I'm not cool. And that's putting it mildly. I wouldn't even buy a pair of capri pants - until last year when I finally gave in - because I thought they were too trendy.

But I'm an expert at unbuckling carseats one-handed, having snacks and matchbox cars always at-hand, and nursing one kid while reading a bedtime story to the other one. In short, I'm a typical harried mom. And I've learned some fashion-related tips and tricks that make my life just a tad bit more manageable.

1. Footie jamies don't have to have feet. I discovered this one day when I desperately needed to do laundry. My son just dirtied his last clean outfit, and I spotted a cute sleeper that was just a little too small. In fact, my husband insisted I stop dressing Baby in it when he realized the kid couldn't straighten his legs anymore. So I grabbed the scissors, defooted the offending jammies, and slipped them on with a pair of socks. Voila! He wore them for another two weeks - until they started to looking like capris.

2. On the topic of footie jamies, these are a terrible idea for the newly potty trained. My son had to wake me in the middle of the night once because he'd taken his arms out of the jamies when going to the bathroom and was helplessly confused about how to get them back on. On the same note, overalls are just as bad. Why do they even make one-piece sleepers or overalls in a 3T?

3. Clothes can be jamies. Both of my kids hate getting dressed. Since their wardrobes consist of jogging pants, sweatshirts, shorts and t-shirts, their clothes are just as comfy as jammies. So I simply get them dressed at night after their baths. Wake up in the morning, and they're ready to go. Just have to change Babycake's diaper, and we're off. Saves me time and struggles every morning.

4. Get yourself a vest. OK, here's where my lack of fashion sense really shows through. But I got a grey, fleece vest last winter and I love it. It works in every season but extreme hot or cold. It matches most of my clothes. And the best part, it has two big pockets. Enough space for my wallet, keys and cell phone, so I don't have to carry a purse or fish them out of the diaper bag. Easy access, baby. (Gee, maybe they should design a fishing vest just for moms, and we wouldn't even need to carry diaper bags!)

Have any fashion tips of your own? Sure you do. Share them in the comments, below.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rainy day activity: Indoor sandbox

It's cold and rainy here. The kids are squirly, and we all got spring fever.
When I still had time to read parents' magazines, I remember reading something about how to make an indoor sandbox. All you have to do is dump a box of graham cracker crust crumbs into a casserole dish, and voila, mini-sandbox. And the added bonus: It's perfectly fine if your little stinker tries to eat the "sand."


So we tried it. And it worked pretty darn well. Since we have at least one toy car or truck per every square foot of our house, my son was making roads and building and knocking over sand mounds in no time. He then moved on to dumping the sand into different sized measuring cups.

And then dumping it into any water glasses within a 10-foot-radius.


And then dumping it all over the table, chairs and (by default) floor.

Within about 10 minutes, there were tracks and trails of sand covering about half the kitchen. And within 10 minutes of that, he was bored.

Clean up took about a half hour.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mysterious break-ins, sightings causing havoc

We thought we were safe - in our quaint suburban home in a low-crime Midwestern town. What did we know? Lately, things have gotten so dire, we're looking at home security systems and extra locks for the doors, just so we can start feeling secure again.

Take a look at these recent reports, straight from the mouth of our undercover 3-year-old reporter:
  • A "mean lady" snuck into our home, handed Babycakes a toy broom through his crib rails, watched him scratch his face with said toy, and quickly disappeared from the scene. This meanie-pants had already fled by the time Mommy appeared to comfort the screaming Babe.
  • In our very own living room, just feet away from the kitchen where Daddy and I were having our morning coffee, "a stranger" ripped Babycake's favorite book right from his chubby little hands - and possibly even pushed him down - before evaporating into thin air. Later, when pressed, our reliable reporter decided it wasn't actually a stranger but a friend from day care who apparently snuck into our house to terrorize Babycake.
  • Mysterious toddler-sized teeth indentations appeared on Babycakes' hand while he and his brother were riding in the backseat of my car. Our trusty source confirms that it was a ghost who sunk its teeth into the tiny hand. And to clear up any confusion, our toddler explained that the reason Baby's hand was in his mouth around the same time as the ghost incident was because he was kissing it, possibly in order to console the infant.

As you can see, it's dangerous out there. Time to double-check the locks and keep an eye out for all those naughty people who keep showing up around here!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The modern mockingbird and heat-and-eat pattycake

Every night before bed, I sit down with Babycakes on Big Brother's bed, and we all sing some nighttime songs. I always end with my favorite: "Hush little baby, don't say a word, mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird..."

However, the past few nights, this song has been bothering our preschooler. He's a lyric person, just like yours truly (thus, I dislike "Rock-a-bye Baby" and "Ring Around the Rosie"). Whereas Daddy is perfectly content to listen to the music without really paying attention to the words.

So I noticed that instead of singing, "If that mockingbird don't sing, mama's gonna buy you a diamond ring," my big kid was singing, "mama's going to the store to get a new one."

Last night, he was actually getting frustrated as I sang about getting a bird, a ring, a cart and yoke. Finally he yelled, "Mom! Just take them back to the store if they don't work! You can get a new one there!"

It's like the time I was eavesdropping on him, sweetly playing Patty Cake with his baby brother. Only his version went, "Roll it, pat it, mark it with a 'B.' Stick it in the microwave..."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pro-nun-cee-aye-shun

I can't stand babytalk. But some of my preschooler's pronunciations are just, well, freaking adorable if you ask me. Here are some good ones:
  • Tw-uck (truck)
  • Streak (street)
  • Wenter-han (restaurant)
  • Cous-cous (Blues Clues)
  • Lubin' (lovin' - as in, "Mommy, I need some lubin'.")

And my personal favorite:

  • Wedgie Booger (veggie burger)

As in...

"Mommy, I lub the wedgie boogers at this wenter-han."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Warning: This may gross you out!

After working in a cube all day, it was great to take the boys to the park after day care. Naturally, they got filthy - but dirt is part of summer, right? I should be embracing it with open arms. Only, unfortunately, I got a little more dirt tonight then I reckoned for.

So head home. Make dinner. Feed the boys. Start getting them ready for a bath.

First I strip Baby. He has a rip-roaring diaper rash, so I've been letting him hang out in the buff whenever I can. Get everything aired out. That seems to help him heal faster.

Then Big Brother gets naked - and does the obligitory three laps around the house. Somehow taking his clothes off makes him want to run in circles.

I gather up some towels and clean jammies, only to find that Babycakes is now pooping on the living room carpet. And he's a fast little bugger. I chase after him, and he crawls the opposite direction, laughing his head off and leaving multiple stains in his wake.

Big Brother calls from the kitchen, "Can I play with water?" He's already excited to play in the tub, but a close second is "washing dishes." I figure, he's already naked, what's the harm?

"Sure," I say, but not before Babycakes sticks his hand in one of the presents he's left for me on the rug. Before I can wipe his contaminated little fingers, he's touching his brother's toys and sippy cup.

I make a mental note to throw away that sippy cup.

I use every baby wipe in sight to clean off Babycake. And move the dirty cup and toys out of reach into a Lysol/throw-away pile.

I hear the water running in the kitchen. Kiddo is spashing and happily singing to himself. That's a good sign, right?

I attempt to wipe down the carpet stains before they can set (HA!), and then dash to the bathroom for the carpet cleaner. And that's when I catch a glimpse of my preschooler's skinny, naked body IN the kitchen sink, water spilling over everywhere.

And I really mean everywhere.

Not only did he flood the counter tops and floor, but the lazy-Susan containing all my baking stuff was soaked. There was even a pool of water floating on top of my flour in its tupperware container (apparently the lid wasn't on completely?). And that was just the beginning. Everything in the cabinent under the sink was turned into Lake DirtyYuck. I kept a small bag of potting soil in there, so just use your imagination.

So tonight after putting the boys to bed, I got to spend the evening wiping down, drying out and sanitizing the kitchen and living room.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a little less messy.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Quotes from Boogerland

Add these to the list of things I never thought I'd say:

"Get your finger out of your brother's nose."

"Please stop licking my hair."

"Stop licking Daddy's hair, too."

"Playing in toilet water is NOT like playing in bathwater."

"Please stop asking me 'Why?'"

"Roofs are for daddies only."

"Why are you licking your shoe?"

"I way super love you, too."

"Did you just dump out the entire bottle of dish soap?"

"Well, remember when I told you that soap/dryer lint/diaper cream/dandelions weren't for eating? Now you know why."

"Stop touching your brother's eyeballs. I don't care if he's laughing."

"Clean kisses, please."

"Yes, Honey. I love you more than boogers, too."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Frozen Cabbage

As you've no doubt figured out, my preschooler is somewhat obsessed with his, um, parts these days. In fact, he openly admits that my old Cabbage Patch doll is his absolute favorite because, "I like to look at her butt, mom."

He really only has two dollies. I'm not opposed to my boys playing with dolls, they just never showed much interest. The older one prefers trucks, and Baby likes to chase balls around the house (very puppy-esque).

Recently, when Babycakes reached for the old Cabbage, his big brother jumped up.

"NO!"

I gave him a dirty look. He knows the rule. He can't take a toy (or anything, for that matter) away from his brother without giving him something in its place.

"Mom! He'll suck on her head and get her all yucky!"

He has a point. Babycake is teething and nothing can escape his ever-present drool.


"Well, can you find something else for him to play with?" I ask.


"Sure!" his eyes light up. "He can have my other baby. He can slobber all over her, I don't care."


That poor baby doll! She's clearly the less-favored. Santa put her in his stocking the year I was pregnant with his brother - with the idea that now he would have his own baby, just like Mom. But he always resented her. Like she was a constant reminder that he was going to have to share Mom and Dad pretty soon. He's hardly played with her.

In fact, I haven't seen that doll in ages.

I do a quick scan of the living room. Crack open the toy chest. Nothing.

Babycakes is inching dangerously close to the Favorite Cabbage, ready to goober her as soon as his brother is out of sight. This could get ugly.

Without hesitation, Big Brother runs into the kitchen, clearly on a mission. When I hear him crack the fridge, I'm right on his tail. I'm wondering if he's trying to open some yogurt containers or crank the temperature down - two of his all-time favorite activities.

Perhaps he's forgotten about the dolly and moved on to the next thing? Wouldn't be the first time.

I stand back and watch. He digs through the fridge and pulls out his little Snoopy lunch box. Come to think of it, I've noticed it back there once or twice, but never investigated.

Purposefully, he sets down the lunchbox and opens it. Here's what's inside...

...

...

...



So he picks up the poor, frostbitten little thing, hands it to his brother and tells him, "Here. You can drool on her head if you want." (Which Baby promptly does.)

I have a flashback of when I was little and my cousin used to threaten to stick our Cabbages in the microwave and make "Fried Cabbage." And here I am, making "Frozen Cabbage" for weeks, never even realizing it.

Perhaps I need to clean out my fridge more often.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

X-rated birthday card

To personalize greeting cards for our friends and family, I ask my older son to make a little drawing for the special person. It usually involved a few crayon scribbles, stabbing a marker until it's tip is rounded and maybe a couple upside-down stickers.

I recently started asking him to explain his artwork to me, and I love to hear what his three-year-old mind comes up with. He's drawn a few rocketships, as well as chairs, flowers and his friend Jack's house.

For his beloved daycare provider's birthday, he spent longer than usual, covering the "his side" of the greeting card in green marker.

I asked him to describe the drawing and he simply said, "It's a mountain."

So fast-forward to the next morning. He proudly presents the card to her. Like me, she oohs and ahhs over his drawing. Then she, too, asked for him to explain it.

Without hesitation he says, "It's a picture of my naked butt crack!"

After turning away and swallowing a giggle, I managed to ask, "What about the mountain? You told me you drew a mountain!"


He shrugs and points to a squiggle in the corner. "Yeah, there's a mountian there, too." Then he giggles and does a little jig. "I drew a butt crack! I drew a butt crack!"


She tells him, "You know that's not nice."

But I can see that she, too, is trying not to laugh at her x-rated birthday card.

Child-proof, schmild-proof (Part 3)

We've always thought it was important to teach our kids how to go up and down stairs safely - since it was just a matter of time before they figured out how to open, collapse or climb over the babygates. In fact, my older son can get around a babygate faster than anyone I've ever seen.

We had to have a discussion with our toddler about not sneaking out the sliding glass door to play in the backyard - after he adeptly figured out how to unlock all four of the various locking mechanisms we installed, including one that bolts into the ceiling. (He just pulls over a kitchen stool, climbs up and unbolts it.)

Similarly, we keep our water heater turned down low, just in case.

And we still attempt to lock up the cupboards and doors, and yes, even the fridge, as futile as it seems.

But sometimes I think we just can't win. Especially now that the Babycake is getting into trouble.

The boy's room is decorated with cars, trucks, planes and tractors that drive and fly accross the wall. They're actually pre-pasted pieces of wallpaper. Yesterday, I found Babycakes, who's just learned to stand on his own, about to eat one of the wallpaper pieces that he'd just ripped off the wall. I've also caught him trying to get into the diaper pail, and yanking a nighlight out of an outlet.

I can only imagine what life will be like when the two of them start sharing their secrets and teaming up against Daddy and me.

Friday, March 6, 2009

You need to sit for that (more potty humor)

"MOM! I went poop!"

They're so subtle, aren't they?

I walk into the bathroom, expecting to find my three-year-0ld sitting on the potty. Instead he pulled his step-stool to the foot of the toilet and he was standing on it, his back to the potty.

"Whatcha doin'?"I ask.

"I said I went poop." He points to the potty.

Sure enough.

Then he bends his knees and sticks out his rear, balancing just so, with his tiny little behind positioned just over the bowl.

A proud grin spreads over his face, and the realization hits me. He went standing up!

He must have seen the shock and surprise cross my face.

"What?" he demanded, utterly confused. "You let me go pee standing up all the time."

I guess his logic is spot-on, but I still had to burst his little bubble and insist that from now on, he sit down to do number two.

(Add that to the list of conversations I never thought I'd be having. Just like the one about why dogs can go outside, but little boys can't.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tiny human destroys suburban home

He looks harmless enough with his chubby cheeks, drooly smile and babyfuzz hair sticking out. He coos and flirts and blows raspberries. He's even starting to say "Mama."

To the unobserved eye, you'd think Babycakes was a sweet, harmless 9-month-old who's an excellent crawler and just took his first steps (!).
But I know the truth.

Babycakes is a destroyer.

Here's what happens each day when we get home from daycare. I put him down to take off my coat, unload my bag and open the mail. Sometimes still in his snowsuit, he:

1. Pops open the pantry door and knocks down all the canned goods and jars of sauce from the bottom shelf. Then he sweeps his arm across whatever he can reach on the second shelf so there's a nice big pile of food on the floor.

2. Then it's across the kitchen to the Tupperware cabinet to strew about lids and plastic bowls of various sizes.

3. Then it's over to the drawers. He pulls himself up and first unloads all the dishtowels from the middle drawer, and then it's on to the bibs and washcloths in the bottom drawer.

Within minutes of arriving home, our kitchen is destroyed.

If I don't intercede, there's also a cabinet of pots and pans he likes to get into. Banging metal lids on the floor is a favorite pastime. (Other favorite activities include digging in the garbage, eating fuzz off the carpet and popping his fingers through the weather-proofing plastic over our windows.)

We also have to watch Babycakes like a hawk when the CD/DVD cabinet is unlocked, because he loves to climb in there and have at the rows of packed shelves. In fact, he often hoots and giggles in delight as jewel case upon jewel case comes tumbling down.

So heed this warning. The next time you see an adorable, 20-pound human, you might want to watch your back. He could be headed for your house next!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The infamous Gerber pea container

Below is the Gerber pea container that I told you about in yesterday's entry. A couple people asked if I microwaved it, and the answer is "No." All I did was open it up and start feeding the peas to my little guy, right from the container at room temperature.