The Wiggles (Yes, I Can Point My Fingers And Do The Twist)

beauty mate

beauty mate

had to also include greg too, because even though he got sick before big trouble was born, my kids remember him.

had to also include Greg too, because even though he got sick before Big Trouble was born, my big kids remember him and we still watch old episodes.

Ok, the title of this post either made you smile or made you cringe.  I know the feeling.  Right now, The Wiggles are Big Trouble’s obsession.  Do they sometimes get annoying?  Yes.  Could it be worse?  ABSOLUTELY (see his previous use of torturous kids shows)!!!!  So I’m not going to complain.

I actually catch myself singing along and dancing like an idiot with them without even realizing it and Big Trouble laughs like the combination of his crazy mother and 4 Australian guys and their pals are the best thing ever.  That works for me.  (sidenote:  I haven’t seen much of the new Wiggles, which includes a girl but I’m pretty sure I will still prefer old school Wiggles – I think I like to see guys making fools of themselves for kids more, but I’ll reserve judgment)

Big brother dancing at a Wiggles concert in 2008

Big brother dancing at a Wiggles concert in 2008 (yes, we went to Wiggles Live!)

I am woman mom enough to suck it up and let him enjoy the Wiggles, even going so far as to continuously put the same On Demand episode on repeat and check out dvds from the library so he always has some available.  (another sidenote:  young Anthony was not nearly as handsome as old Anthony – he aged really well!  Now you know how pathetic my life has become because I am commenting on the attractiveness of a Wiggle….hanging head in shame.)

I think of all of the shows out these days, I can tolerate the Wiggles the best (at least on repeat) so I am kind of grateful that he hasn’t latched onto other, more annoying shows.  But, I know there are others who detest The Wiggles like I detest Caillou.

So, what are your favorite kids’ shows (any other Wiggles lovers out there)? And which ones make you want to stab yourself in the eyes with a fork (uh, hello there, Caillou)? 🙂

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How To Tote a Car Seat Through An Airport Without Losing Your Mind (Or Spending A Fortune)

airplaneI’m the first to admit that the scariest part about flying cross-country with our three young children was thinking about how in the world we were going to get our 2-year-old (Big Trouble) to sit still on the flights.  I mean, he doesn’t sit still at home or nearly anywhere else, so why would I even think he would stay in an easily escapable plane seat?  Even though I have never used a car seat on a flight before, I knew I really didn’t have any other options if I didn’t want our flight crew to kick us off the plane.  My tiny “angel” had to be strapped in.

I started asking around and getting ideas from various people and friends and family and while the consensus was that it is a pain to use a car seat on an airplane (yes, it is, when you factor in the narrow aisles and even smaller areas for leg room between the seats while you are trying to set everything up), there are things you can use to get it around the airport without a lot of trouble; everything from specialty bags with wheels, to collapsable luggage carts, to specialized straps that you can buy to attach the seat to a rolling luggage.  The prices ranged from $19.95 to over $100.

Well, there was no way I was going to spend a ton of money when we hardly ever fly, not to mention that a lot of these products had to be ordered well in advance and had numerous reviews citing that they are not as easy to use as they appear so I would need to practice so that I don’t hold up the line at security and getting on and off the plane.  Um, no; having to practice something hardly makes it easy.  But, we had a TON of luggage that would be going with us and there was no way anyone could carry the car seat through the airport.  So, I looked around for an alternative and, guess what?  I found it very easily for $1.50 at The Home Depot.

all of our junk on the "helpful" luggage cart (this did not include the car seat or our three kids so you can imagine the struggles)

all of our junk on the “helpful” luggage cart (this did not include the car seat or our three kids so you can imagine the struggles)

The mystery item that was the secret to my success?  A bungee cord with plastic hooks.  Seriously.  That’s it.  It is an adjustable cord that allows it to go from 24″ to 42″ so it will fit any size car seat and rolling carry-on luggage (no, it was not created especially for this purpose but I had no idea what size I would need so the adjustable worked beautifully).  And, it literally took me about 10 seconds to strap together and less than that to take it apart.  Every time.  Absolute life saver in my book.

perfection

perfection

Just flip the seat upside down, place it on top of the luggage and strap on.  Never had an issue with it sliding or falling off or not wheeling correctly, etc.  And, the cord doesn’t have metal so it’s safe for you, security doesn’t think you are going to use it as a weapon on anyone else, and it’s easily stored in a back pack or the rolling carry-on until the next use.

The car seat worked well for us and Big Trouble was renamed “Just a Little Trouble Because We’re Flying At Awful Times” for the duration of our flights to the West Coast and back home again.

california7

Strapped in and ready for Take Off!

Seriously, if you are flying and need to bring a car seat, even if you just check it at the gate so that there’s no fear of losing it along the way, this is the way to go!!!  Now, if only I could have figured out how to strap Big Trouble to the bigger luggage…..

Hoarders – Buried Alive (By The Toys)

it's much, much worse than this

it’s much, much worse than this

I have 3 kids, all with very different tastes, all living in a very small space.  This = DISORGANIZED MAYHEM when it comes to toys.  I have tried large toy buckets, bookshelves with baskets, etc.  NOTHING works when there is a little guy whose favorite pastime is dumping things out all over the floor (this also include laundry – which is NEVERENDING).

I am at the point where I just want to throw everything away and start over from scratch, but obviously I can’t do that until I win the lotto.  So, in the meantime, I welcome any suggestions on how you handle the craziness that is having multiple children, toys and general clutter!  Please help me!!!

Am I The Only One Who Noticed?

caillouIt’s no secret that I despise the show Caillou (and I’m pretty sure that I am not alone here).  But, for some unknown reason, my kids LOVE it.  I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why!  He’s sooooooo annoying (if I could keep typing O’s for a few more lines without becoming annoying myself, I would).  He whines about EVERYTHING, even when he’s supposedly having fun!  Plus, what’s up with the bald head?  He’s 4, shouldn’t he have some hair by now?  And, why is he still 4?  I have been forced to deal with this show since the late 90’s when my little brother was still young enough to watch Caillou on PBS.  I mean, Caillou should be heading off to college at this point, not back to nursery school for the 2 millionth time!  And, why do his parents always dress like it’s Winter year round while Caillou and Rosie always seem to have on Summer clothes? (My oldest actually brought up that last point!)

These questions/thoughts are just a few that roam around in my head every time my kids watch that show.  Part of me has considered just cutting them off cold-turkey, but there are very few shows that all 3 will watch together so that I can have 20 minutes of peace and since any momentary lapse in arguing = success to me, I weakly give in to the dreaded Caillou and his family.

Recently, however, I have noticed some new episodes on Sprout (and by new, I just mean new to Sprout; I’m guessing they are still probably a few years old) where Caillou’s voice has definitely changed.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s still annoying, but not nearly as annoying as he used to be.  Has anyone else noticed this?  Am I just going deaf in my old age so my ears are deceiving me, or have the creators of the show finally listened to the parents and created a somewhat less-obnoxious representation of a 4-year-old?

Whatever the case, I will take it!  Thanks for toning it down a bit Caillou.  Now, please head over to the Hair Club For Men and get some plugs and finish your college application ASAP!

**If there is a parent out there that actually likes Caillou, please list your reasons here!  I am not out to argue, I truly do wish I could embrace this show like my kids since I am subjected to its horrors daily, but I have yet to be shown the way!**

This Is What Trouble Looks Like

I don’t know why, but Big Trouble’s newest fascination is dancing on the table.  Will he end up being a part of Magic Mike, part 2?  Is he just a thrill seeker looking for new ways to try to touch the light that hangs over the table? Or does he just enjoy making me get up every 10 seconds to pull him back down from the table?  Who knows?  My husband’s response is to “get rid of the chairs”.  But, as he is almost tall enough to just climb right up himself (and as we need chairs so that we can actually use the table for the purpose of eating meals), I’m fairly certain that won’t solve the problem.

I will admit that part of me laughs when he gets up there because he has a great time and you can see it in his face.

Caught in the act

Caught in the act

But I know it’s dangerous because he is a clutz, our table could potentially split open because it has a leaf that goes in the center and the kids occasionally mess with the clamp, and he just shouldn’t be putting his nasty socks all over our table anyway.  So, I continue to go over and pull him down, time after time.

He promptly sits down when he sees me coming and smiles his cutest smile.  How could mommy possibly be mad at this face?!

He promptly sits down when he sees me coming and smiles his cutest smile. How could mommy possibly be mad at this face?!

He knows he’s not supposed to do it, but he just can’t help himself.  So he marches on the table until I start walking over to him and then he sits down or starts to climb back down onto the chair as if that will make it all ok.

his other option when mommy comes storming over - again, notice the huge cheesy grin that he uses when he is being naughty.

his other option when mommy comes storming over – again, notice the huge cheesy grin that he uses when he is being naughty.  Also notice the chair scrapes on the wall caused by his many attempts at a quick escape.

But this mama is not fooled by the cute exterior and so I attempt to grab him and once again explain why we don’t dance on tables.  This morning, however, he struggled with me as I tried to pull him off and then sprawled out on the table as though it was a comfy hammock.  He was clearly too exhausted to be disciplined.

he couldn't possibly be bothered with getting off of the table

he couldn’t possibly be bothered with getting off of the table

So I was forced to stop taking pictures and practically climb on the table myself to pull him down.  Seriously.  I am hoping he grows out of this stage quickly before we do have to get rid of the chairs and resort to having picnics on our floor (though I am sure he could find a way to make that dangerous too).

Am I the only parent who has a kid with this fascination?  I guess I should be glad he hasn’t tried to “Superman” off of it yet, but I am assuming it’s only because I have been able to stay on top of the behavior thus far.  Big, Big Trouble!!! (but also cute trouble – if that’s not an oxymoron).

First Haircut “Fun”

Last weekend I finally decided that I could no longer take the ridiculous way my toddler’s hair was growing (he had a nice combo of Billy Ray Cyrus’ mullet and Donald Trump’s swoop – nice, right?).  So, I decided to bite the bullet and head over to a neighborhood barber shop and finally get him a professional haircut.  This trip had been necessary for quite some time, but I had repeatedly resisted because my youngest is what you call “a wiggler” and I had visions of him losing an eye during the process.  For this reason, I purposely went to the location containing a special airplane seat in an attempt to provide the greatest distraction. (For the record, I know all kids are not this way and I wish I knew how some parents received children that sit quietly on their laps during the process – if you have tips on that, please let me know)

We arrived the first thing in the morning and I quickly plopped  my monsterdarling son into the plane, reading for some quick action. (please envision me halfway in the chair myself, practically sitting on top of my son, in order to keep him seated long enough to strap him down like an insane asylum patient – good times)  He was not pleased and he gave me and the stylist a long, hard stare to warn us that he only intended to cooperate for a split second.

He had just started spinning the steering wheel on the plane when the stylist placed the smock thing around his neck, whereupon he started screaming, “OFF, OFF, OFF” in a murderous tone as though he thought she was trying to strangle him. (Cut to mommy pleading with him to continue flying the plane)

shortly after the first screaming episode

He decided to give in slightly, meaning that he stopped screaming but then started looking around frantically for his big sister who had accompanied us on our search for good hair.  I can only assume he figured that since mom was refusing to rescue him, perhaps sister would.  She popped her head around me in an attempt to amuse him and he looked halfway amused.

still not sure about this haircut thing

Alas, this only worked for about 45 seconds before he once again started shouting, only this time he was chanting, “I get down, I GET down, I GET DOWWWWWN!!!”  Right about this time he started trying to figure got how to get loose on his own and he almost did lose an eye when he suddenly yanked his head around in the direction of the scissors.  We had only been there approx. 3 minutes at this point and I was beginning to worry that he would just have to learn to love his new half-mullet (the lady had only made it halfway around his head and it wasn’t pretty).

doing his best to get his eye poked out

Then, out of the seat across from us, we heard a marvelous sound: Donald Duck.  I glanced over and saw an old man, also getting his haircut, but sitting still for his stylist unlike my wiggler, and he was trying to distract my son with the Donald Duck voice.  At first, my son stared at him suspiciously because it didn’t seem right that the voice was coming from a man and not Donald Duck.  (Yes, he does know Donald Duck because we watch way too much Mickey Mouse Club House)  Then he started looking at the man with a kind of admiration, which then led to a smile.

our new friend, Donald Duck

I quickly instructed the stylist to CUTTTTT while we trying to continue with the new distraction!  The poor man was forced to talk like Donald for another 5 minutes just so my baby wouldn’t hurl himself kamikaze-style out of the plane in another attempt to escape.  I was very grateful for this man and his absurd talents.  It allowed my son to at least get his hair shorter than his shoulders and with the Donald Trump swoosh mostly gone, even though it wasn’t completely straight and the front was a little short (this is no reflection on the stylist for I was really just grateful that he survived the war of the haircuts with both eyes intact).

We then received a lock of the mullet for his baby book and a certificate saying that he had passed on from babyhood thanks to his haircut (almost made me cry with that phrasing).  As we left, I let him have his first lollipop as a reward for living through the ordeal (much to the chagrin of my grandma who told me I should never give a child lollipops because when she was little a baby died while eating one – seriously, that’s what she got out of my story of the haircut; guess I should be glad he survived the eating of his first lollipop as well).

Oh, yeah, no choking on lollipops here

Now, I am praying that his hair grows back very slowly so that I don’t have to deal with this again for a long time, which most likely means it will all be back by next week…I will have his second lollipop ready to eat during the haircut this time (sorry, grandma).

Diaper Dilemma!

I have 3 children, 2 of whom have been potty-trained for quite some time.  You would think that I would be an expert at diapers by this point, having spent 90% of my married life changing them.  However, I am thoroughly convinced that the manufacturers of diapers like to randomly change how they make diapers just to throw parents off their game from time to time (and probably to get us to buy more packages or the more expensive kind).

With my oldest son, I registered for Huggies because my mom always used Huggies with my much younger brother and sister and they seemed to do quite well.  When it came time to actually use Huggies with my son almost 7 years ago, they weren’t so great.  He had a natural flair for having runny poop that would only stay inside of Pampers diapers (I learned this after trying many different brands and throwing away numerous outfits that were stained beyond repair by his nastiness).  He also had the ability to pee up and out of the diapers if I tried a cheaper brand.  Good thing I had coupons.

When my daughter was born 17 months later, I stuck with the Pampers Swaddlers for her and Pampers baby dry for him.  As she grew out of the Swaddlers, I decided to try the cheaper brands with her to see if a girl could handle those a little better than a boy.  After testing numerous brands again, we decided to go with the Target brand diapers and they were great for her (though my son could still only be leak-free with Pampers)!

Now I have a 3rd kid in diapers and I have done some more testing.  I used the Swaddlers again, in the beginning, because they are so soft on little newborn hind parts.  Those were great.  I tried the Up & Up brand once he outgrew the Swaddlers and to my surprise, they worked really well.  I’m guessing those manufacturers changed something over the last few years to make the diapers work for boys too!  Hooray for cheaper, and still effective, diapers.

A few weeks ago,I got some great manufacturer coupons and Target coupons in the mail AND I learned that our Target was clearing out some of the name brand diapers with the older wrappers on them – still brand new, just a different baby on the front, but for some reason that means the diapers are worth 50% less – not complaining; I’m totally into the discount, especially when coupled with 2 coupons!

So, I was able to get a box of Huggies and a box of Pampers for $10 total!  SCORE! The Huggies worked surprisingly well this time around (they must have changed something too), but since they are by far the most expensive diapers, we won’t be buying them again unless I find another awesome deal.  But, I was really disappointed with the Pampers Baby Dry, which had been my go-to diaper in the past!  The diapers immediately sagged upon the smallest introduction of pee so we were having to change them way too often (and this was in addition to him using the potty several times a day with a dry diaper) and they leaked EVERY NIGHT!  Anyone with kids knows this is the biggest pain in the butt, especially if your kid is a light sleeper anyway.  I don’t need one more thing waking him up at night!  What happened to Pampers?!  Did I just get a bad batch somehow or did they change their “formula” to make it worse since my last kid?

Ultimately, I am just sticking with the Up & Up diapers for my son because they must have adjusted their formula – for the better, unlike Pampers – between my 6-year-old and my 1-year-old to make them work better for boys and even though Target has raised the prices since my daughter wore them, they are still vastly cheaper than the other brands and quite effective. (*Just for the record, Walmart also has a brand called parents’ choice that is pretty good for day-time use and even cheaper than Up and Up, I just don’t enjoy shopping with the crowds and lines at Walmart unless absolutely necessary – they are pretty good diapers though*)

Has anyone else experienced the weirdness that is deciding which diaper to use for your baby/toddler?  Is it just because every kid is made differently or do they really change how they make the diapers from year to year?  One thing is for sure, I will be SOOOOOOO happy when diapers are a thing of the past!….Though hardcore potty training is one of my least favorite things in the world so I may take that statement back in the very near future.

The Big Boy Bed

A few weeks ago, I had the unfortunate opportunity to watch my youngest son attempt to climb out of his crib head first.  As I was in the room at the time, I was able to grab his ankles before he tumbled out, but it scared me, nonetheless.  I was hoping this was just a one time thing because he was excited to see me, but he did it again the next night!

Now, all 3 of my kids have been climbers who just can’t stay in the crib so I am used to this at this particular age, so I did what I have done in the past and put the crib away in order to bring out the toddler bed.  I have no fear of the annoying part of him climbing in and out of bed and being a pain because I haven’t slept in 7 years and am well-adjusted to the life of over-exerted troll.  However, he is a PSYCHO SLEEPER aka “P.S.” (def: one who sleeps while in constant motion, rolling, kicking, stretching, clapping, etc. – no joke, he makes himself laugh and clap all while asleep).   The kid is literally non-stop, while awake and while asleep.

Because of his P.S. status, he has already managed to roll directly over the “prevent a child from rolling off” sides of his toddler bed several nights in a row, pretty much guaranteeing that this particular bed will not do the trick, even though it worked just fine for his big brother.  Granted, the bed is like one foot off the ground so the odds of him really hurting himself are slim, but it freaks his dad out when we hear the THUD that inevitably occurs so it’s time to think of something else.

Has anyone else ever had this issue and solved it?  I’ve thought of just using a mattress on the floor for a little while but he’s sure to roll off of that, too so is it really a solution?  I am not buying the $100 crib net either because I have seen how quickly my older kids could get in and out of one of these at a friend’s house a few years ago when they were my darling son’s age and I know it would be a waste of money, not to mention make me feel like I have a pet butterfly instead of a child.

What to do? What to do?  Last night he slept in the bed with us after falling out and I’m fairly certain he bruised my spleen, not to mention a cracked skull from a foot to the head and red cheeks from being used as a human drum, resulting in us getting out of bed together to watch Sprout at 4:30 so as not to wake anyone else up.   This simply will not do no matter how cute he is while cuddling me before the crack of dawn.  HELP ME, PLEASE!!!! 🙂