Monday, October 28, 2013


I have watched the entire first season of Orange is the New Black on Netflix over the past few weeks. Like many (real life) prisons, inmates are put into solitary confinement for violent or unacceptable behavior. It is called The SHU (Special Housing Units -- I googled it so you won't have to).

Lately I feel like I am running a correction center and my 2-year old daughter is what prison officials may call "a problem inmate." Last night I had to put her in The SHU. It was awful.

I have tried everything else I could think of prior to resorting to this method of discipline. When she has been defiant, I have taken away her favorite toy. She then went in her playroom and found another toy. I have then taken away a whole bucket of toys, dolls, stuffed animals, etc. This was upsetting, but there are always more toys somewhere. I have sent her to her room. Also upsetting, but once calmed down, she waltzed downstairs on her own terms and proudly declared, "I am happy now."

So last night when all else failed, after she literally LAUGHED through my other attempts at disciplining her unacceptable behavior, I put her in her room and locked the door. END OF THE WORLD. It was like prison (from what I have seen on TV). She was scared, angry, kicking, screaming, banging on the door, demanding to be let out, begging to be let out, going out of her mind. Only when she calmed down and apologized and promised to improve her behavior and act like a big girl did I open the door. She emerged quiet, subdued, and tired. It broke her.

I cried. I hate The SHU. But because it is the only thing that has worked for this kid, I told her frankly (like a prison guard would tell an inmate) that if this behavior continues, she will go back in her room again with the door closed. Or -- and here is a crazy notion -- she COULD just behave and not be defiant. Please oh please oh please do not make Mommy put you back in the SHU.

When your friends don't have kids

My husband and I have a some couple-friends who do not have kids. And we have 3. And they are small and loud. This past weekend, wonderfully kind friends of ours invited us (ALL of us) over to their kid-less house to watch some football on Sunday afternoon.

Here is the list of us vs. them:

Us: cul-de-sac in boring old suburbs
Them: adorable house in quaint part of town within walking distance to boutique shops and sushi bars
Us: 3 kids under 5 years old
Them: 1 tiny dog
Us: kid-destroyed house with pee stains on furniture and year-old Cheerios in the couch cushions
Them: designer area rugs and imported South American artwork

So we decide to take them up on their invitation and head over to their house with the monsters. What to bring... Well, I have broken down the list of items into the categories below.


For 4-year old son: Kindle Fire for video games and space books so he can educate us on the phases of the moon during half time

For 2-year old daughter: All of her princesses and their dresses (=6 princesses and 6 princess dresses) as well as all 4 of her Minnie Mouses and all of their dresses and accessories (each Minnie has 2 dresses, 2 bows and 1 pair of shoes = 4 Minnie Mouses, 8 dresses, 8 bows, 4 pairs of shoes)

For 8-month old: drooly toys, drooly books, and blanket to drool on.


Knowing our trendy friends will probably serve something like delicious kale-beet salad (to which my kids will make their "WTF is this??" face), we also bring:

For big kids: Sandwiches to eat in the car, as well as fruit snacks and Nutri Grain bars
For baby: Cheerios and fruit cup, baby spoon and bib
For all kids: Cups with lids. Kid-less grown ups will only own glasses (like non-plastic actual breakable glass cups in which a beverage is served). For my kids? Hell no.

Clothing and diapers:

3 pairs of extra pants and underwear for our 2-year old who is still potty training. (Please, please, please do NOT pee on their hand-woven rug made by Tibetan monks.)

diapers and wipes for baby
Pad on which to change baby (not be changed on Tibetan monk rug)


If we would like to stay anywhere for more than 11 minutes these days, we will need to put our 8-month old down for nap. So we also bring the pack & play and pack & play sheet. Also in this category: pacifier and back up pacifier.

Mommy's job: prepare all of the above.
Daddy's job: buy beer.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Don't poke the bear.

As all parents know, we must speak in code. We refer to our monster 2-year old daughter as M.C. ("Middle Child) and we have also introduced the concept of "Don't poke the bear" to our 4-year old son. Because of her unpredictable and very irrational mood swings and behavior, we are teaching him to avoid instigating a meltdown. If you sense that she is tired, hungry, cranky, frustrated, or really, just in the room... DON'T POKE THE BEAR.

This morning Mommy officially has caught the virus that is tearing through our household, so she was having a rest on the couch. Someone needed to wake up Daddy for work. I asked my 2-year old to do it, to which she replied, "Nope."

Great. Thanks.

"Can you please go wake up Daddy? He would love to see you."
"YOU go wake up Daddy."
Teasing her, "YOU go wake up Daddy."
"No, YOU."
Tickling her chin, "No, YOU."

She stops, turns, looks me deep in the eye and says coldly, "Don't poke the bear."

The superhero talk

While driving, I hear from the 3rd row back seat (from my 4-year old):

"Mom, are super heroes real guys or made up guys?" 
"Um.... what does Daddy say?"

Okay, not off to a very good start, Mommy. 

2 minutes later: "What if I am in trouble and need help and a super hero does not come in time?"

Opportunity for redemption! 

"You know what? I'll bet you would not need a super hero. You are so brave and strong."
"I am not big or strong enough to beat a villain, mom." (Not buying what I am selling.)
"I'll bet you are stronger than you think you are. I know I could count on you to help me if I was in trouble."
"But what if I really needed a super hero's help? What if Ironman or Spiderman did not come help me?"

What else you got, Mom? Oh! I know! Opportunity for Biblical reference!

"Do you remember David from the Bible? Remember how even though he was small, he was brave and fought Goliath the Giant and won? Because he believed in God?"

Look at you, Mommy! Pulling tricks like that out of your back pocket!

"Never mind Mom. I will ask Daddy later. Let's talk about something else."