Life with the Wild Things

Just another mom of 2 boys in a house full of energy!

How many jobs does a mommy have? November 30, 2011

Filed under: Family,Motherhood,The boys — jdkihlken @ 9:41 PM
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After the wild things were born, people told me all about the jobs a mother has.  All the different things you have to do to keep up with the kids and the house and life. I am an environmental engineer (in my paying job).  All day I tell people how to interpret complex federal and state rules.  When I finally leave work at the end of the day, I start my mommy job.  Tonight I realized that old joke of I am a driver, nurse, warden, psychologist, etc is so true.

I left the office and headed straight to The Swim School where I met the babysitter to pick the boys up from swim lessons.  I start my job as personal driver at the point.  In the car, I am the mediator of arguments and a teacher as we start spelling words, sight words, and nightly required reading.  We arrive at activity number two for the evening.  It’s time for tae kwon do.  But before it starts Thing 2 has decided it would be great to knock over all the air shields and then blame big brother and best friend.  I am know the judge, jury, attorney for the prosecution, and warden all in one.  I state the case, hand out the punishment, and enforce said punishment.

Finally it is time to start the drive home.  Now I spend the 30 minute drive home on the phone with 2 other moms arranging this weekend’s playdate/movie date so that all the wild things can get together and have a wild time.  I am…an event planner.  A darn good one too!

Another fight issues in the car requiring the mediator to step back in.  Then we make it home.  It is now time for the chef to start the gourmet meal of grilled cheese and apples with cinnamon sugar.  After that, I am the game show host for what is this sight word, what is this letter.  I am the teacher explaining how to work math problems.

I transition from chef to maid as I start laundry and cleaning duties.  Then to zookeeper and plant nursery assignments.  Mom, the fish tanks need cleaning.  Mom, would you put water in my plant.  Then I am the personal spa service provider…bath, hair washing, teeth brushing.  Time for night-time medicines…Here comes the nurse.

Thing 2 is ready for bed.  Now it is time to be the audio version of all books about Spiderman.  Then the living teddy bear for cuddling.  I fight the monsters in the dark as well as any knight.  Thing 1 requires a little more warden to encourage finishing that math homework.

Both wild things are now in bed.  One snoring and happy, one can’t wind down.  But it is time for the maid and the chef to wrap up the chores.  Thing 1 doesn’t want sandwiches tomorrow night…he wants chicken.  Chicken is in the crock pot cooking all night to be reheated at dinner time. Rice is in the steamer to be reheated tomorrow night.  Can’t go to bed until rice is done and clothes are folded.

Wow.  When mommies think about all they have to do, it is a wonder how we get out of bed each day.  Then when they are asleep and cuddle so sweetly under the thick winter blankets with just a tuft of hair sticking out…we remember why we do get out of bed each day.


Stages of Motherhood – Part 4 November 2, 2011

And then you transition from Preschool Mommy to Kindergarten Mommy.

The average person would think Preschool Mommy and Kindergarten Mommy are the same, but the rest of us know this isn’t so.

Kindergarten Mommy now has homework and class projects.  It’s the transition from singing the ABCs to knowing the ABCs.  It’s that foundation for reading.  With reading comes knowledge.  With knowledge they can take over the world!

It’s a very scary thought!

There are still tantrums, but Thing 1 is learning to tell you more about what he is feeling and what he needs and what he wants.  He can’t tell the difference between needs and wants, but his vocabulary is growing so much.

Of course, remember this is all about him.  No one is going to ask you what you are feeling, what you need, or what you want.  Remember that ended the day you peed on the stick and the + sign came up.

You are now trying to balance the homework and after school activities.  Oh yes…the activities…because kids that have a sport, music, or other passion don’t do the bad things in high school.  (Personal note here: That better be the case or I have wasted a lot of precious time waiting for practices, games, and swim meets to end!!!)

So the activities…what will Thing 1 do?  My Thing 1 played football at this age but then realized that was outside where it is cold or hot…heaven forbid.  So we found tae kwon do.  I must say depending on the sport it can help at home.  Tae Kwon Do has taught us both discipline.  I learned that even with a self diagnosed case of Adult ADHD (my doctor friends just leave that alone I am vicariously living my doc dreams through you) I can actual sit for an hour.  Thing 1 learned that Mommy can actual sit still for an hour.  Oh no, that isn’t it.  He learned discipline and ways to control his own ADHD.  Thing 2 learned that he would rather participate with Thing 1 than wait for him to get out of class.  I am sure there is another lesson in there somewhere.

Of course after an attempt at football by Thing 1, Thing 2 could not be out done.  Thing 2 took up soccer and tae kwon do.  Because hey if mom can balance one activity for the first kid, what is two activities at 5 years old for the second one??!!

So, you have the homework and the afternoon activities and your work.  Now that Thing 1 is in Kindergarten and learning to read and getting home later because of activities, Thing 1 starts to point out McDonald’s and Chic-Fil-A, etc on the way home.  Why can’t we stop there?  Comes the whine from the backseat.  How do you respond with Because Mommy’s hips can’t take another night of fried fast food!  We live 30 minutes out-of-town.  On the quick way home we pass approximately 15 drive thrus 4 nights a week.  By the time I get home I can’t remember if that is whine or WINE.

You finally get home, finish the school work, and then its time for flash cards, sight words, reading a bed time story and practice writing your name, oh no, Thing 1’s name.

By 8 something you finally pull up the covers to do the nightly tuck in.  Then the dance for 15 minutes of no more water, no more potty, no more getting out of bed.  At this point you are missing the crib and those other sleepless nights.

Sometime after 10 PM with the school uniforms washed and the remnants of the day washed off of you, you fall into an unmade bed.  Peace…

Then it starts over.

But the best part of the Kindergarten Mommy is when Thing 1 is learning to write and says How do I spell I love Mom?  And then you remember this Stage, too, is well worth Motherhood.  Because no matter how tired, how drained, how wiped out you are, seeing I LOVE YOU MOM in 5-year-old hand writing melts you.


Stages of Motherhood – Part 3 October 17, 2011

The next phase is the Preschool Mommy.  You finally made it through the Terrible Twos just to find out that someone forgot to mention the phase continues into the threes.  Now it is time for new milestones.  Preschool and Potty Training!  Oh Yes!  The fun is really beginning.  Everyone has advice on how to get Thing 1 to go to the potty.  Since I have boys, I have no idea how you moms of girls get them to use the potty.  But my favorite suggestion is the Cheerios in the toilet.  The little boys try to pee on the Cheerios.  And we are potty trained!  Well, it wasn’t that easy.  But it wasn’t too bad.  The advantages…no more diapers and pull ups.  The disadvantages…you now have to stop at every bathroom you pass so Thing 1 can check it out.  That 30 minute shopping trip now takes an hour.

Now that potty training is complete, it’s time to start preschool.  They would not take Thing 1 until you could check that box that said Potty Trained.  But, you did it.  It’s as much your accomplishment as his.  So it is off to preschool.  Even if you have been sending Thing 1 to daycare since you finished maternity leave, preschool is a little different.  Oh my gosh and the choices.  You have to get Thing 1 into a great daycare so that he is ready for KIndergarten so that he excels in elementary school and then blows throw high school and finally gets into the college of his choice so he can have the career of your…oops…his dreams.  Or at least that is what everyone makes you feel like when Thing 1 is born.  Get in to the best preschool to lay the foundation.

You go to interviews with preschools.  You are on waiting lists for preschools.  It is more stressful than that horrible class at 8:00 in college that your advisor said you have to ace or you aren’t graduating.  Finally, you are in…oops….Thing 1 is in.  August rolls around and it is time for the first day.  My Thing 1 went to a learning center from birth to 4.  So for him it was a matter of changing from the baby building to the preschool building.  Luckily my Thing 1 had gotten into 2 amazing schools…preschool at a great learning center and then a parochial kindergarten.  That meant he paved the way for Thing 2 to get accepted into the preschool program at Thing 1’s parochial school.  Yes!  Much less work to get Thing 2 in.  But…oh no…this means Thing 2 had to have the dreaded FIRST DAY.  Depending on your preschool, you are purchasing the first uniform, first school supplies, all the first.  You are documenting everything about this special day.  Thing 1 gets to school that first day and…  I want to leave with mommy.  Then you are pulled in two directions.  You want Thing 1 to love preschool, but you are secretly smiling that Thing 1 still needs mommy.


With preschool well underway, you start to see ABC and 123 in your dreams.  You sing wheels on the bus as you go through your day.  It’s like you are going to preschool again.  But…what is better than the thought of cookies and kool-aid at 2 PM.  Oh if your grown up life could be like your child’s day…maybe you wouldn’t be so stressed.

By the time preschool ends you are still so amazed at how much THing 1 has changed.  All the new words they know, the conversations they have, the friends they make…it really is a great time.


Stages of Motherhood – Part 2 October 12, 2011

The next stage is the Toddler Mom.  Up until now you could contain Thing 1, but now Thing 1 is mobile!

Oh yes, Thing 1 is on the move.  And you better get to a gym because now you are going to be moving more than you ever have before.  But, it will be fun.  Thing 1 is becoming more independent.  This is when the realty that Thing 1 will leave you one day hits…or at least it hit me.  That’s when I realized…I better have a life that doesn’t revolve around baby.

Now you have traded bottles for sippy cups, high chairs for booster seats, rear facing baby seats for forward facing.  Lots of changes…

Then the babbling starts and that leads to talking.  And it is so sweet Ma Ma, Da Da…that is when you realize that 1. you better watch your language, 2. you better watch how you talk about others.

There is nothing funny (to other mothers) or humiliating (to you) than when your precious little Thing 1 babbles babbles babbles and then says S!@#.  Oh yes!  Those of us it has happened to give you a little sympathetic smile, then giggle all the way to the car leaving Wal-Mart because we remember it happening to us.   My advice, if Thing 2 says the ugly word in public, turn to Thing 1 and say I can’t believe you taught him that.  My Thing 1 has taken the fall many a time for that!  He is catching on that he is helping mom out of an embarrassing situation and I believe he will expect payment for that soon.

Or…how about when your adorable Thing 1 looks at someone and starts babbling, but the only clear words Thing 1 says sounds like….mama said your mean, or have bad hair, or what ever ugly comment you made in anger and wish you could take back for saying in front of Thing 1.  If you have a Thing 1 and 2, that is a hard one to blame on Thing 1 when Thing 2 says it.

So that covers the mobility and talking.  The big milestones.

It’s time for Thing 1 to move to the toddler bed or twin bed or whatever bed you move him to, just out of the crib.  You tuck cutie pie into the big kid bed, read fifteen stories, read Goodnight Moon for the 1 millionth time, snuggle Thing 1, say the good night prayers, finish the 1 1/2 hour bed time routine of trying to get Thing 1 to stay in the big kid bed all night.  You finally get to fall into your bed and sometime around midnight… you realize some how there are hands and feet in your face and back.  It takes another hour to realize that Thing 1 is mobile and can now make it to your bed any time he wants.  Oh yes!  Thing 1 can’t get from the living room to kitchen without knocking over everything on the coffee table and end table, but he can operate in stealth mode at midnight.

And even as you snuggle in close to Thing 1 because you know he won’t do this forever…you think about how tired you are going to be at work tomorrow…and sore from the knees in the back!


Stages of Motherhood Part 1 October 4, 2011

Filed under: Family,Motherhood,The boys — jdkihlken @ 10:02 PM
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There are stages to motherhood.  I haven’t made them through all of them.  But I am currently split between the kindergarten mom and the elementary school mom.  It’s like having a split personality.

The moment you pee on the stick and the  little plus sign shows up your life changes forever.  It starts with the pregnancy.  Which has its own phases.  The things no one tells you until it’s too late.  The morning sickness that never ends for 9 months.  The worrying about what is happening in there because you can’t see in there.  The honeymoon and nesting phase…my personal favorite.  With the second one, you don’t have time to think about any of those things.  You just balance!  I can’t imagine adding more…but my friends that have look…hum… what is the word… in a world of their own.

The baby comes and Phase 1 – Babymoon starts.  Oh, Babymoon.  Those moments of complete bliss.  Maternity leave is only so long so you are trying to make the most out of those pre return to work moments.  The endless hours of holding and rocking.  Nursing around the clock because you don’t need a schedule yet. 

It’s a honeymoon with your baby.  Then, just like the honeymoon reality sets in and Phase 2 starts – No Sleep Mommy.

It’s time to go back to work and thing 1 doesn’t want to start a schedule.  Thing 1 is up all night nursing nonstop.  Thing 1 is sucking the life out of you.  Suddenly you realize you can actually work on a very limited number of hours of sleep.  Surely when Thing 1 starts sleeping through the night you will get sleep again…oh what a cruel joke.

In this phase, you are back at work and have demands for both home and work pressing on you.  You start to look a little like this.

Not really too frazzled yet, but hair starting to get out-of-place.  A little spit up on your top.  The dark circles under your eyes start here.  I am not sure when they end exactly.  After spending $500 on creams for your face you discover all commercials are lies.  Nothing can remove those circles.  Not even if your mom took the baby for a month and you slept the whole time.

But, you come home from work.  Sit back in the rocking chair with Thing 1 in your arms and the gooey mom feelings come back.  Hummm…maybe looking a little rough around the edges isn’t so bad.  You cuddle Thing 1 and think isn’t he worth it all.  Then the crying starts and your moment of sanity is broken.


Signs Children Change You June 25, 2011

Filed under: Support Group Meetings — jdkihlken @ 5:04 PM
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We will be headed to Great Wolf Lodge for vacation in the near future.  This was the first Saturday we’ve had since March that we were not committed to swim team practice, tae kwon do practice, weddings, church functions, school events, birthday parties, etc.  So we decided to start planning our trip.

Tommy asked last night about our plans for the trip.  Where are we going, when, etc.  As I answered him I thought about our first vacation (after our honeymoon)…

We had just purchased our Ford Explorer.  We were so excited.  We were heading to San Antonio for the week.  We had the car all packed.  The dogs had been dropped off at the vet for the week.  Tommy was in the driver’s seat.  I was in the passenger’s seat.  Tommy was backing out of the driveway when I said…

Good thing we are leaving now so we can stay on schedule.  We have to be passing through Baton Rouge at 9 AM to stay on the schedule I have set up.

Tommy pulled back into the driveway, parked the car, and turned to look at me.  The next words were…

If you have this trip planned by in 15 minute increments, I am staying home.

Me: Of course not. (yeah, right)

From that point on, I have planned out every trip we have taken to the half hour (hey, he said 15 minutes not 30!).  I was an efficient scheduler of trips.  We could hit every spot we wanted to see with my planning.  Who cares if I spent most of my time thinking of the next place we needed to be and didn’t fully enjoy the sites we were seeing at that moment.  I had a plan (of course I didn’t always share it with him because I didn’t need the teasing…but he knew)

Here we are preparing for our next trip.  The strange thing, other than a trip to Legoland that required advanced purchase on tickets, I don’t have the minutes planned.

1. Kids like routines, but get worn out when pushed from one place to another.

2. You miss the fun stuff when the minutes are too planned.

3. Kids point out things you wouldn’t have thought to try.  To rigid a vacation schedule doesn’t allow for that.

4. I don’t want to look back and wish I had relaxed more.

5. After two boys, I am just too tired and lazy to plan every 15 minutes out.

WOW.  That is a huge change.  I want to enjoy life, not run past it.


The tooth that just won’t come out. June 2, 2011

Filed under: The boys — jdkihlken @ 9:35 PM
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Well, it has been 2 months since we noticed that Xander’s top tooth was loose.  We have tried to pull the tooth several times.  It won’t come out.  Xander can now push the tooth out of his mouth and touch it to the top of his lip.  AND IT STILL WON’T COME OUT.

It’s stuck in there.  There is this piece of gum just holding it in there.  We tug, we pull, we feed him apples.  Nothing.  The tooth is hanging there by a small piece of stubborn skin.  Just hanging on.

Dear Tooth Fairy,

If JT knocks out Xander’s tooth…please leave $5 for JT!  He’ll deserve it.

Thanks, Mom.


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