advice

Living with a Toddler

Toddler Tips from Unwise Mom

I said, "We're going to put important things in here." Iris scurried around the living room and collected Hobbes and books. This toddly has her priorities straight.

I said, "We're going to put important things in here." Iris scurried around the living room and collected Hobbes and books. This toddly has her priorities straight.

I've only got one kid, and I've only had her for eighteen months+incubation, therefore I'm not as qualified as some parents who might have the look of a refurbished human, worn but possibly showered and still living. I'm writing this post mainly because of all the discussion of growing more babies and I'd like to record helpful, unpacked synapses before they are vanquished to another entity. 

Some helpful toddly things: 

1. When toddly or even baby would like you to remain close but you wish to sneak away and accomplish something like heating up pot stickers, throw a rice warmer in the microwave for 45 seconds and lay it partially on top of toddly. Be free. 

2. Have a couple boring patterns you really commit to. Mine are making sure Iris always finds her placemat and eats on it, never letting her leave the bathroom with items, throwing her diapers away, and putting her shoes on before we leave. Never budging on those four things minimizes angry child and angry me. 

3. If toddly is doing something that is mildly abrasive to your nerves and you want toddly to stop, ask yourself if the reason you would give is "just because I said so." If that is the reason, let toddly go on! Toddly gets to turn up music loudly and dance. She also gets to tear paper into tiny shreds and be free in the grocery store. 

4. Ignoring toddly takes the power away from them. Not completely ignoring, just not letting toddly get a rise out of you when they are testing limits. It was surprising how quickly my mindset shifted from "this sweet droolbag doesn't know how to manipulate" to "this slimeball is trying to break my spirit." Iris used to hit me in the face. I'd say, "I don't like that, nobody likes that," move her away from me, not let her near me long enough to agitate her, and then change the subject. It took away the power of her knowing she fucking hurt my eyeball. I think feeling a little hurt combined with seeing the lack of emotional response leads to a change in behavior. Also, toddly took away my edamame nuggets yesterday and hid them in a box. I said, "You took my nuggies, yo!" and waited silently and read the National Geographic until she quietly returned them a few minutes later. 

5. Nipple tweaking will never stop. No tips for that except feel free to smack away that little twiddly hand, toddly has absolutely no sensitivity when they have boobies in their faces. 

6. Offer the toddly anything you eat, and offer it every time you eat it. Iris didn't initially like most of what she eats. Now she stuffs her cheeks full of kale and spicy foods! Wahoo! 

7. Wanna kick the paci? When it disappears, deal with a few shitty emotional days. It's called withdrawal. Whether you're craving drugs or a tiny silicone nipple, you'll want to lie on the bed in fetal position and cry it out. After withdrawal comes acceptance. 

I've had her for so many days and there are few things I've understood. She's a whole human inside a tiny skin, so talking with her as though she's a whole human is what is most effective. I will sometimes yell, "Ahhh my squishyyyyyy" and kiss her face one million times, but I'd do that to my grownup wife, too. 

Any moments of wisdom, first "aha!"s from fellow unwise parents?

Living with a Toddler

"Scheduling" my Day with a Tot

One of my most frequent questions is "How do you find time to make all this stuff?".

The simplest answer: I have no fucking clue.

Christina just called me from work and asked what I'm up to. I said, "I'm looking up schedules of stay-at-home moms and I'm finding that they do even less than I do. The ones with kids seem to have things down, but I'm not finding any schedules of working stay-at-home moms with babies."

She replied: "They're probably doing work instead of looking up when other people find time to do their work."

THANK YOU, CHRISTINA, my supportive partner. That's all I needed to get back on my sewing machine.

I thought I'd share a little bit about my life. I have time, because Iris is having meltdowns whenever I touch my sewing machine. She unplugs it. She's been doing this for months, now, but today she's being particularly difficult.

Here's what she looks like when she's in an awesome mood:

Iris at the L.A. Zoo

Iris at the L.A. Zoo

Here's what she looks like most days, including today, while I'm working on this blog post. I always wonder what all these crafty bitches are doing with their babies while they're making their beautifully composed posts and I've decided this is the only option:

It's not today, actually, it's from the other day when we were regrouting our kitchen. Today, I've got her in a prefold diaper so she can tell me when she's put poopies in her pants.

It's not today, actually, it's from the other day when we were regrouting our kitchen. Today, I've got her in a prefold diaper so she can tell me when she's put poopies in her pants.

I say this is the only option because I have yet to find a crafty mom bitch with her beautiful blog with perfectly lit and contrasted photos sharing how and when she manages to find the time to do all of her crafty stuff with her baby. And no, it can't be that she just wears her baby all the time, because my baby simply won't handle being worn every minute of the several work hours I have each day. She won't do it. Crafty mom bitches, let's get real. 

Moving along. Here's what my daily schedule looks like on a great day. I've only had a few of these, ever:

  • 5:30AM--Wake up, slide out of bed, and pull out yoga mat to stretch achy back. Read a little before Iris cries at
  • 6AM--for milk because she's realized I've left the bed. I feed her and heat up a rice warmer to slide into bed next to her so I can slip out and work.
  • 6:30AM--Cut out and iron fabric until
  • 6:45AM--when Christina wakes up. I work a little longer and by
  • 7:30AM--Iris is awake. Crap. Totaling 30 minutes of worktime so far. Change Iris, feed her again.
  • 8AM--Work!
  • 9:30AM--Iris is crabby because she woke up too early and I'm still not paying full attention to her. I put her to sleep. This usually takes a while.
  • 10AM--Iris asleep. I have been up for nearly four hours and am starving. Cook breakfast, usually spinach with eggs or ayurvedic quinoa cereal. I read.
  • 11AM--Back up to sew. Currently totaling two hours of work and I've been up for almost six.
  • 11:30AM--Crawl in bed with Iris to nap the last stretch of nap with her.
  • NOON--Iris up. Feed her. Do any e-mailing/blogging and eat a snack, usually carrots or blue corn chips or some type of bulk snack blend of coconut, chocolate, almonds, chia. Read to Iris, stack blocks with her, play guitar with her, dance to records.
  • 1:30PM--Back to work. I work on and off until Iris becomes very agitated, around
  • 3PM--Because of her grumpiness, we head to the park or to the store or to run errands. Current work total: 3.5 hours and I've been up for almost nine.
  • Between 4-6PM--Christina calls and we go to pick her up. We return home or to the store, I cook dinner, and we are done with dinner around
  • 8PM--Christina cuts out patterns, I sort through items and figure out what I need to make for the night. I work a little if Iris doesn't throw patterns and fabric everywhere.
  • 10PM--Iris needs to go to sleep and so do I.
  • TOTAL WORK PER DAY: 4 hours
  • TOTAL TIME AWAKE PER DAY: 17 hours

A quarter of my awake time is spent sewing. That's great! Except that I'm sewing on and off all day long, and see the amount of time I have to do the things I really love doing? What are the things I really love doing?

Writing. Gardening. Photography.

Zero time is the answer to that question. Zero time for cleaning, too. That just doesn't fit into the schedule.

Lately, I've had a really difficult time convincing myself that I love making cute baby things enough to keep doing it. In the end, I realized that I really don't have a choice, I can either make things at home when I have time and have my own business or find a part-time job where I'm stuck somewhere that will make me literally vomit from the stress.

I just think it's important to be a little more realistic and less chipper about where all my time goes. All these crafty mom bitches have this smiley aura around their blogs and maybe one day when all my kids are kids instead of tots things will be easier, but for now, I'm just not feeling the smiles. Crafty moms, take pictures of those little babies crying while you're posting your stinking blogs!

 

Thank god these grapes grew themselves, without me watering them, too!

Thank god these grapes grew themselves, without me watering them, too!