How to Move Your Toddler to a Big Bed

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Sneak peek of the big girl room. More pictures to come when I put the pictures back on the wall.

 

 

Step One: Do not ask me.

Step Two: Be afraid.

Step Three: Don’t be super pregnant, so you can handle the crazy with the appropriate amount of perspective and alcohol that the situation will require.

Over the past five months, we’ve been slowly redecorating the guest room as Ellis’ big girl room.  I planned on not making Ellis move to her new big girl bed until the room was completely ready. I wanted her to feel proud of the room and embrace it as her own, so she wouldn’t feel displaced when some mewling, wrinkled, pooping thing stole her crib.

But the day we finished painting and reassembling the furniture, she grabbed her blanky, pacifier and pillow and put them on her big girl bed. “I sleep here now!” She told us.

Okay.

People always tell you that kids will let you know when they are ready to make transitions. “Just follow their cues,” is advice I frequently hear from serene moms who stand like an oasis in a screaming pool of 9-year-olds. “Kids will tell you.” This, as it turns out, is complete crap. Based on Ellis very clear signal, it seemed she was ready. So, we jumped into it, like suckers. Sure honey, we will listen to a two-year-old who has a total meltdown when forced to choose between yogurt and cereal for breakfast.

It should not surprise you that the first three weeks were hell. The first night, I was awoken at midnight, 2, 2:30, 3, 3:30, 4:30 by little icy fingers on my arm and the words, “MOMMMMMYYYYY I WAKE!!!” whispered into my ears. I wet the bed a couple times. We bought a baby gate.

The baby gate kept her in her room, but that was when she turned evil. On day three of our transition, I woke up at 4:30 to the pounding of tiny feet on the wall. When I came into the room she had knocked down several pictures and one had shattered in her bed. She was lying in bed surrounded by shards of glass. Miraculously, she was fine. But it was one of those parenting moments when you feel completely inadequate and you both want to yell at your kid and hold them close while you sob. I put her back in her crib that night, but I never went back to sleep, I was too busy feeling the mattress for bits of glass.

After that, we took down the pictures, and regrouped. We decided on a plan that required firm discipline (since she was clearly intent on self harm) and rewards. Naps would be rewarded with an episode of “Curious George” or Mickey Mouse, at bed time we’d discipline if she got out of bed (with exceptions for poop and shards of glass, of course).

This kind of worked. But not really. It was the third week and I was still getting up between 2-3 times a night. Nap times involved temper tantrums and screaming for two hours or more. I was sick of constantly fighting my child and one Sunday, I lost it. I came downstairs sobbing. When Dave asked what was wrong, I yelled that I was tired, I wanted waffles and some peace and quiet around here.

Dave went out and bought a princess bed tent. That worked like magic for two weeks, until she started disassembling her bed tent on top of herself.

Toddlers are effing psychopaths.

Finally, one night at 2am, after I was awoken by Ellis again shouting, “OH NO, I BROKED IT!” I ripped the bed tent off the bed and told her, “Shut up! Go back to sleep and stop trying to kill yourself. ” It’s not my finest hour. But she did go back to sleep. Then, I ordered a toddler alarm clock.

The toddler alarm clock turns green when it’s okay for the toddler (or as I like to call them serial killers in training), to wake up. The first nap time with the clock, Ellis stayed in bed, but I could hear her barking orders. “Turn geen, clock! Turn geen!” The clock didn’t heed her, she fell asleep. No fighting. No tantrums. No coaxing or wheedling or tears. Bed time was just as effective.

I’m probably going to build a shrine to that clock and make it my god.

It’s been over a month of adjustment and learning and crying and hoping that DHS doesn’t come to call. But she is transitioned into her big girl room. In summation, here are all the things you will probably need if you plan on moving your child to a big kid bed.

big girl bed

Empathetic Responses for Android Husbands

Me: I’m nigh on 30 and my skin is worse than it was when I was 15. WHAT IS THIS?! It’s killing me. I just hate my face.

Dave: …

Me: UGHHHHHHHH. I’m just, dying!

Dave robotically pats my shoulder: I empathize with your face problem. We should do something to fix it. Do you want to buy something?

Me: Did you download ‘Empathetic Responses for Android Husbands’?

Dave: At least I’m better than Siri.

Why Do You Love Your iPhone More Than Your Precious Child?

Recently, parents learned a new way they are failing. And no it’s not that you once gave your kid formula or use a pacifier. Parents, we’re on our phones too much.

Apparently, all the modern conveniences of our time aren’t there so we can catch a break, call a friend or even look up a recipe. No, according to the Wall Street Journal, they are there so we can spend more time constantly hovering over our children, in case they, god forbid, move on their own UNSUPERVISED and POSSIBLY BUMP INTO SOMETHING.

Citing this distracted parenting as a modern phenomena, the Wall Street Journal notes, “Is high-tech gadgetry diminishing the ability of adults to give proper supervision to very young children? Faced with an unending litany of newly proclaimed threats to their kids, harried parents might well roll their eyes at this suggestion. But many emergency-room doctors are worried: They see the growing use of hand-held electronic devices as a plausible explanation for the surprising reversal of a long slide in injury rates for young children.”

Using absolutely no studies at all, the Wall Street Journal wants you to know they are completely worried about your kids and you should be too, if only you’d stop Instagramming and be a freaking parent.

My god. Don’t these parents think of the consequences of looking away for a second? What if your kid falls and…I can barely type the words…SCRAPES HIS LEG! I know, right. Don’t you feel like a total jerk now?

We need to get back to the olden days of parenting. When parents were totally there for their kids. Did Ma Ingalls text while she was watching Mary, Laura, Carrie and Grace? No! She encouraged them to gather Buffalo poop in the wide open prairie, while she milked the cows and baked bread and churned butter. Did Pa play on his iPad? If by play on his iPad you mean he tethered baby Grace to the bed in the middle of their dirt house, so he could go feed the livestock on a cold winter’s night. God forbid the stove go out. We lose more babies that way. Amirite, Pa?

Or how about my grandma in the 50s? Do you think she looked away for a second while she lit her cigarette and screamed for my mom to go play outside and not come back for 3 hours? Probably.

And now you modern parents, with all your irresponsible “structured playtime,” “attachment parenting,” and your distracted “helicopter parenting,” you dare to look away for one second while you upload a picture of your daughter to Facebook? For shame.

I think if Americans need to do one thing its make our babies even MORE of a focus of our daily existence.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go put a mirror under my daughter’s nose to check her breathing while she naps. Then, I have to write her an apology note for taking my eyes away from her napping body for the two hours it took to write this. That’s right, two hours. Don’t call DHS.

6 Halloweeny Ways to Ruin Your Kids Forever

Last week, I featured some pretty terrible ways to subjugate your daughter to sexist stereotypes on Halloween. But I wasn’t done. Oh no. While doing research, I discovered, four very awful costumes for grown ups that I thought I’d share. And two for kids, because, why not?

I’m a huge believer in screwing your kids up early. I mean, you are going to ruin your kids anyway. If you feed them all healthy and love them, they’ll grow up to chain smoke and eat Twinkies and wonder why they never got to go to space camp. So, it’s probably better just to ruin them right off the bat. Like taking things they love and making them the stuff of huge therapy bills.

1. Sexy Elmo

This isn’t so much sexy as it is disturbing. Imagine trying to tell your three-year-old why Elmo is coming out of mommy’s head, all night long.

2. Sassy Winnie the Pooh

You’ll never be able to read about Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Pot ever again.

3. Naughty Nemo

After losing his mommy and daddy, Nemo had to grow up fast. Too fast.

4.  Underage Pimp

It’s best to teach young men how to treat a ho early. Because nothing is funnier than sex slavery. Also, I included the whole screenshot, because I wanted you to see that you can get it in a child’s small. Some how that makes it worse.

5. Weed

The costume for parents who want their kids to work at Taco Bell for the rest of their lives.

6. Brick House

Just don’t let your kids open the door.

8 Inappropriate Halloween Costumes for Your Toddler Girl

Growing up, we didn’t celebrate Halloween. Well, not really. Sure, we carved pumpkins (or “Satanic gateway drugs” according to that handout our church gave us). But we didn’t trick or treat and I was only allowed to dress up as Bible characters for our church’s “Harvest Fest.” And just in case you are curious, despite the fact there there was a preponderance of orange, pumpkins, cider and decorative hay, “Harvest Fest” was completely different than your Devil-worshipping Halloween parties.

So, what I am about to say, may shock you: Now, that I am a grown woman. I love Halloween.

The whole reason I had a child was for the trick-or-treating. And the love. But mostly the trick-or-treating.

OMGAH! WHY IS MY BABY CROOKED?!

Last year, Ellis was a robot. And this year, I’m torn between mobster, flesh-eating zombie, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (because she probably won’t be walking then..too soon?) or R2D2. Last night, I browsed the internet looking for costumes (no, I’m not going to sew, what is wrong with you?) And I came across some pretty amazing costumes all in kids sizes.  I thought I would share them with you, so you can add them to your Pinterest board for all the ways you plan on ruining your kids for life.

1. French Maid

Because nothing says “kid-friendly-fun” like gussying up your toddler as a French Maid.  This is the perfect costume for sorority girls and Stepford Wives in training.

2. Police Girl

When you want your daughter to be empowered, but still look like a pretty, little princess-muffin-cupcake-angel-slave-to-sexism, consider this police girl number.  Or this one:

 4. Nurse

 Heels. Pantyhose. Short skirt. What? This is totally like every nurse I ever met…in college…whose name was also Bambi. There is also one for baby, because when it comes to dressing sexy, you can never start too young.

5. Glamour Mummy

You guys, Mummy girls had rips over the clavicles all the time. Because apparently Egyptian culture also fetishized youth culture. Oh, they didn’t? That was just us? Well, this costume just got more awkward.

6.  Fire Girl

Just putting out fires. In this totally practical fire girl outfit. She may have third-degree burns on her knees, but that’s the price you pay for fashion. And, no, we don’t call them “Fire people.” We call them “Firemen” and “Fire Princesses.”

7. Indian Princess

Ruining any budding sense of cultural sensitivity that might be occurring in your child, this costume does for culture what the settlers did to the Native Americans.  What was the thought process for this? “We want an Indian girl costume, but we still want her to look white…”

8. Swiss Alps Girl

This outfit was categorized as “cultural” on the costume website. Which totally makes sense if your culture is wearing short skirts, knee high socks and heels. Well played, website, well played.

 

Just Because Pinterest Says You Can…

When I was 8, I cut my own bangs. It looked awful. So, awful that four days later, when I went to church (Note: I was homeschooled, church and anti-abortion rallies were the only way I got out of the house), adult women stopped to ask me what had happened to my hair.

“My mom did it,” I said.

“Oh, poor thing,” they’d respond, their bangled arms jingling as they patted me on the back.  I really wish our homeschool curriculum would have included more Eastern religions, because as a young Evengelical girl, I had not yet been introduce to the idea of karma or that it will cut you the first chance it gets. Last week, I got payback for what I did 11 years ago.

Since the age of 8, I have not even tried to cut my own hair. You see, there are two kinds of people in this world: Democrats and Republicans, and this post has nothing to do with either of them, so let’s continue…In this world, some people can cut their own hair, some people cannot. Some people learn from their mistakes. Other people allow Pinterest to sucker them into activities they have no business involving themselves in.

I am of the latter category. Even if you gave me a laser level, I couldn’t cut in a straight line. My crooked sensibilities are so well known, that The Dave (an engineer, to whom “crooked” is an evil word) banned me from hanging anything on our walls. So, given all of that, when you ask me why I thought it would be a good idea to cut my own bangs, I only have one answer: Pinterest.

A few weeks ago, I saw a tutorial on Pinterest that outlined how to cut your own bangs. And oh, the pictures were lovely. The girl had eyeliner. She looked like she showered. The white light balance was amazing and, oh look, all she did was twist her bangs and snip. And now she looks like Zooey Deschanel.

Repin.

Last week, I woke up and my own bangs were out of control. But no problem. I had Pinterest. I grabbed my best scissors, twist, snip. And the sight that greeted me in the mirror, was not Zooey Deschanel. WHERE WAS ZOOEY DESCHANEL?! Instead, what greeted me was someone who hired a drunk and blind two-year-old as her stylist. My bangs looked like they had been caught in a wood chipper. But no problem, my sister is a fancy hairstylist, I could just clean this up, but now Ellis was bored and smacking my legs, shouting, “Mommy!”

“Play with the plunger!” I said, while trying to even up the ends.

It soon became apparent that  I needed to just put the scissors down and walk away. Walk away fast. So, I hid my bangs in a headband and took Ellis outside where I tried to distract myself from the disaster of my own creation.

While Ellis and I played, my wheelchair-bound, 80-year-old, neighbor saw us out and rolled on over. I waved at him, but he didn’t wave back.

“Is  that you?” He shouted from the sidewalk.

“Um, yes?”

“Oh, with that headband on, I thought you got one of them South African nannies.”

Usually, I am a woman of words. But with my bangs hacked off and my ego bruised, I had no response for latent bigotry delivered via wheelchair. I stayed silent.

He stammered. “I don’t mean to be offensive, but you know how they have them native things on their heads? That’s what you looked like. Except, white. You know.”

Again, I said nothing. Ellis waved, “Hi-yo!” She said cheerfully.

My neighbor waved back and quickly retreated. “Whelp, you two have a nice day.”

That was when I decided to sue Pinterest for enabling delusions of grandeur.

I really hope this grows out.

Don’t Do This: Teach Your Kid To Dip

Natalie, my neighbor, wishes that whenever I mention her I mention her numerous good qualities (and they are numerous), which include, being a better house decorator, gardener and garage sale-er than I can ever hope to be.

Moving on…

One day, I told Natalie how I had a bad day and took Ellis out for some fries.

“Did she dip them?” Natalie asked.

“No, we don’t do that yet.”

Natalie rolled her eyes. “You have to get on that!”

“But it’s so messy and she eats fine.”

“Lyz, if you don’t, I will.”

Which of course sent me spiraling into anxiety. Was I one of those helicopter crazy parents for not letting my kid dip? Was dipping a life skill? Would colleges later reject her for not dipping at 12 months? So, a few weeks later, while I was dipping my own food in ranch I gave some to Ellis.

BIG MISTAKE. HUGE.

In fact, teaching Ellis how to dip could be the biggest mistake I’ve ever made as a parent.

She now dips everything. Blueberries. Spaghetti pie. Peas. Cheerios. All foods she ate and loved before, she now loathes if they aren’t covered in ranch. She yells, “Deh! Deh!” and waves her food in the air. “Deh!”

She wants dip. I want to die.

I’ve tried switching it up. I gave her noodles and meat and veggies and a side of red sauce for dipping. Yesterday, I let her dip her bread in applesauce.  But one week in and I’m running out of sauce and this whole thing kind of makes me want to puke.

Yesterday, I gave her blueberries and she wanted nothing to do with them. She sat there with them on her tray yelling “Deh!” and pointing to the fridge.

“Oh, look, Ellis,” I said, “they’re balls! You can eat balls!” (File that under: completely hilarious things you say to kids that are also grossly inappropriate.)

“Bawl?” She looked at the blueberries, then smiled. “Bawl!” She ate a handful and then, yelling, “Bawl!” Tried to throw them at me.

Everything is just going terribly wrong.

Don’t Do This: The Musical Fruit

Ellis loves green beans. She also loves black beans. And alright, I give them to her. I figure, they are healthy and I also enjoy eating them: win and win.

Last week, I went to Sam’s and bought so many green beans that even the Jolly Green Giant was giving me the side-eye. I also picked up some black beans and some tortillas, because it’s the lunch of champions. For the first half of last week, Ellis and I were really happy. For lunch, we’d both split some beans and a few pieces of fruit, high-five and call it a meal.

And things were going fine until Wednesday, when Ellis started getting really fussy. And I dropped her off at Jeanne’s house (our babysitter, not just some random stranger, although Ellis has had some of those days) and said, “Wow, she’s so cranky today, good luck!” Then, I bolted. Because I’m a good mom. On Thursday, Ellis woke up at 5am and the whole day was one long, drawn out whine. My ears were bleeding. Strangers walking by were calling their doctor’s to renew their birth control medication. I wondered, is she finally teething?

When I picked her up from Jeanne’s on Thursday, Jeanne handed Ellis to me and told me about her day. First it was how she played the piano and laughed at the dog and then there was the bowel movement update, which is without a doubt my favorite part of the day. (All future watchers of children take note, mom’s eat this kind of crap up. We love to know how many times our kids laughed at dogs and precisely what their poop looked like.) Then, Jeanne casually remarked, “I changed her diaper and it was all beans. She must be hitting the beans pretty heavy, no wonder she’s fussy.” And Jeanne said this in the sweetest most non-judgmental way possible. It was more a statement of admiration than one of censure.

And then it hit me…OH RIGHT! They are the musical fruit afterall. I tried to play cool, like I of course I knew that the 10lbs OF BEANS I had given my daughter since Monday was giving her more gas than it takes to fill a Hummer. I took her home, gave her some gas drops and we’ve quit beans for a while. Now, when Ellis is being fussy, I just know she’s being mean.

Don’t Do This: She Can’t Crawl But She Can Tell Me “No”

Ellis loves this singing dancing Grinch that Dave got from his mom for our first Christmas together. Yesterday, when I picked her up from the sitter all she would do was whine and tell me “nonononono”, until I turned on the Grinch. Then she smiled, laughed and danced. Note: She dances like an awkward white boy, by rocking back and forth.

I thought this was pretty hilarious and grabbed my cellphone to snap some video. So, I apologize for the crappy quality and for my finger in the frame.  The bonus was that I captured her saying, “nononono.”

I want to be very clear. Dave and I did a lot of research on discipline. We try our best not to tell Ellis”No.” Instead we redirect. We say, “Hey, instead of sticking your hand in your poo play with this awesome toy.”  The idea was that we didn’t want her learning the word “no” as one of her first words.

Fail.

She can now say “no” and “dada.” Which is basically every word she will need to get her through life.

Don’t Do This: Police The Internet

I cut the offensive part out, because it's the internet and that's HOW IT WORKS. If you hate something you are free to crop it out, close your browser and move on. Although faux outrage is a good time waster too if you're into that sort of thing.

And “Don’t Do This” is back! I was clearly a perfect parent these past two weeks, so this edition of “Don’t Do This” is brought to you by Pinterest, which is a site you should probably avoid if you value your free time and productivity.

Pinterest is an online bulletin board where people pin stuff they love, or in my case, sloths. Like anything on the internet it’s got it’s seedy, swear word side. And like everything else on the internet sometimes people say things you may not agree this. And it’s 2011 and yes, people are still coming to grips with the fact that on the internet sometimes people say things you may not like. I know, I know. It makes me clutch my pearls too. But what can I do? The internet refuses to wear the sweater sets I pick out for her at Ann Taylor loft and cross her legs like a lady. That horrible internet.

Here is evidence that the internet is not, in fact a lady: a picture on Pinterest with a baby and a swear word. But the best part of this is those crusaders for internet justice who are demanding that this be UNPINNED because WHAT IF A KID SAW!?! I agree. It’s too hard to be a parent. So instead, let’s just make everyone else censor themselves.

PS UNPIN! is the new UNFRIEND!

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