Parenting Wins

Lately there have been many jokes about sending Tayer to boarding school. Conversations about “if” he does not get into the school my older kids go to where he will end up. There are talks of his potential career in politics, or him becoming the next RuPaul. He is confident, persuasive, flamboyant, fashionable, and intense. Whatever he does he will do it well. (All I can hope is that it’s legal)

I was sitting out front watching the children all play on their various wheeled devises. Tayer, per usual (well about 49% of the time), was being a jerk to everyone else. “Idol hands” as his Dad likes to say or basically just Tay gets bored, or uncomfortable, or hungry, or sad, or his feelings hurt, or ANYTHING and he becomes an asshole to everyone around. So, he was being an asshole and I sent him inside. I’m pretty sure I said “you’re being an asshole, go inside until you can be kind” because, good parenting.

So I sat smuggly proud of that awesome parenting moment. I won. He went inside, see what happens when you mess with this Momma!

And, as I reminded myself of how totally bad ass a parent I am I looked up at the giant picture window that leads into my living room…

Which perfectly framed the 9-year-old boy walking across it…

The 9-year-old boy walking across with such a calm fluid confident stride…

That confident stride with the perfectly well practiced “fuck you” face of a anger teenager…

The “fuck you” face that lead down to…

The double middle finger.

There was so much confidence there. So much swagger. I could not be mad. I giggled (he had passed and had no idea I saw). The other kids asked me what I was laughing about and I had no answer… I texted his Dad “you wont believe what Tay just did…”. This kid gives us a wild ride and I am sure his confidence will serve him well later in life so long as we are able to steer it in the right direction. For now he will keep us on our toes and challenge us at every turn…

Oh Orangie children….

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A reminder of how cute he was.. before he learned his middle finger skills….

 

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What Happened To My Sleeper?

Tag has not been napping lately, or at least that’s how I have been feeling… Yesterday I decided to write things down (because trying to remember anything is hopeless) and find out exactly how much my reformed crazy sleeper was ACTUALLY sleeping…

Tag went to bed at 8pm and woke up at 8 am- Win.

Nap:  9:30-10

Nap:11:10-11:45

Nap: 1:20-2

Nap: 3:50-4:40

Nap: 6:30-7

Bed: 9pm-6am

Ummm.. Excuse me? A total of 3 hours of napping over the entire day? Here’s the deal, that 3 hours is not even productive time for me. By the time I got him to sleep and escaped with my boob I had only a small about of time to get anything done before he woke up again. Yeah, totally not working for this Momma.

When Tag awoke this morning (at 6am, not ok) I decided to do a little experiment. Despite being totally exhausted and wanting to just go back to sleep, I got us both ready and headed to the mountain. We started hiking at 7:15 (he was awake until we got there) and within 2 minutes he was asleep. And Tag decided to nap for the entire 2 hours of our hike! .

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Must be nice to be so lazy…

So what did I learn? Apparently running/hiking my entire pregnancy does not create a baby who sleeps while laying still… My little coach is going to do whatever it takes to get me on the mountain no matter how many excuses I make… If you’re feeling unmotivated I will happily send him to your house the next time he wakes up at 6 am!

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Did I mention it was 99 degrees when we finished?! That’s sweat… gross

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Pretty sure the evil dictator is planning how he will torture me tomorrow…

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Havasupai with a Baby

Decided to take Mr. Tag down to Havasupai Falls because, why not?

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Packing for all day adventures is soooo simple with a baby… Note to self, babies’ need way too much stuff…

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One of us was awake…

He did well for most of the hike in, nursing and sleeping like a baby does.

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Boob

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Another baby on the trail!

Per usual he was very uninterested in the awesome views…

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No? Ok then….

At some points he was awake and even got to enjoy a little of the falls. Though is was a little cold for such a little guy.

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Aaaand, back to sleep….

What I learned on the way out is 11 1/2 hours of my shannaingans is all he is willing to tolerate.

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Awake baby on the trail!

While singing dancing and overall being crazy would keep him happy for a moment, he was unwilling to calm down totally until he was out of the carrier. -Sigh- Nothing like carrying a baby in your arms at the end of a 12 hour day on the CLIMB out….

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But we made it. It was fun, and I learned I am terrible at taking care of my calories. With nursing him all day and hiking I need to figure out just how many calories I need so I don’t feel awful the next day. FOOOOOD! A work in progress!

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You know the amazing feeling of cleaning yourself up and getting changed at the trail head after a long day on the trail? Yeah I don’t, but Tag sure does…

 

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This One Time-

All my shit was stolen. No joke, all my shit was stolen. I came home a couple of months ago and my house was broken into and anything I had of value was take… The only thing really important was my computer. Yeah, that fucking sucks. My kids were pretty OK with it… well except Teagan. Tea tends to get more emotionally involved in things then the rest of the kids. We all talked a lot about the value of objects and concluded that though it is crappy, the world does not come to an end. Great reminder for the kids, shitty that I no longer have a computer.

Then I was kicked out of my house. Yeah, true story. So they tried to kick me out while I was pregnant,  9 months pregnant! Who thinks that’s a good idea?!?! Obviously I stayed longer and gave birth to Mr. Taggart in my home, but then we moved. It was hard leaving the place Tag was born, but the kids and I looked at it as a new adventure. Well, except Tea. Again she gets more emotionally invested then the other kids. She understood everything that was happening and was hurt, but she worked through it seeing that I was OK. All she needs is to know that Mommy is ok and she finds her own strength.

Now the car is gone. NO JOKE! Now you see, this here is life. It is messy. It isn’t easy. BUT if you take the time to see the beauty in it life does moves forward and good things do come. I could be upset, but I could also just choose to move on, move forward, be awesome.

This is not a “woe is me” story, this is a reminder to always be resilient. Life is a constant adventure, good and bad. I refuse to let other people’s anger and unhappiness dictate how my world will go. I have 6 wonderful children with beautiful hearts who remind me every day that love and compassion are the priority. Anger is an emotion used to cover up pain… All these moments in my life have been a great example of that and an opportunity to “practice what I preach” to my children. I choose kindness. I choose happiness. I choose to move forward.

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The Alone Life

So I’m a single mom of 6 kids, who’s interested??

Yup, that’s the opening line to my stand up routine… hence why I don’t actually have a stand up routine…

But really, who sees a mom to 6 kids and thinks “hey, I want in on that mess”?

Six kids… That is a lot.

Five kids sounded like a lot….

I’ve had it together for these past couple of months since Tag’s birth. I think where most mer mortals would have folded, collapsed at the exhaustion and stress, I excelled. I’ve always taken a challenge well and doing this “single mom to an infant plus five other kids half the time” thing was my biggest challenge to date. I’ve felt in control of my emotions and very “put together”, but not these last couple of weeks. Somehow I have turned into an emotional wreck every time a love song comes on. I cry, in public sometimes- Sabrina does not cry!

So what is it?  I have zero desire to date and zero time.

I am happy being single- While my friends are telling me “you just had a baby, you’ll be interested in dating later”, in my head I’m daydreaming about all the running adventures I will go on in this “later” they speak of.

I have no one to answer to, it’s pretty sweet. My kids roll with all my crazy antics: breakfast for dinner, last minute adventures, impromptu dance parties, and we have no one to judge us. No one to question why we spent money on unnecessary things. No one to check in with. No one to judge my kid messy car. No one to kibosh any stupid (yet fun!) ideas we have. We like it.

If I did have any free time a man is not what I would want to spend it on. I would rather spend more time with my kids, read more, run, go on adventures, write, maybe make that “money” thing everyone speaks of. So much to do, dating is not even close to the table…

So why the sadness as of late? I think I’ll chalk it up to my hormones being a mess post birth. Maybe exhaustion has finally built up enough and I can no longer ignore it. Or maybe it’s just normal? Maybe it’s normal to be sad you don’t have something everyone else (ok not everyone) has but not really want it in the end? Nah, it’s just hormones, I’ll take an extra placenta pill and call it a day.

There was an old woman who lived in a running shoe… I’m pretty sure that’s how it goes.

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All the man I need! (well… Tag and the 3 others I suppose)

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Stop Praising Dads for Parenting.

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Take a hike! With your kids.

The biggest question I get asked if how I get my kids to hike as far as I do.

Well, bribery.

Yes my kids love nature, yes my kids like hiking, but even they hit a point where bribery is the only option. Even my kids need that carrot to keep them moving at times….

Well not a carrot. A carrot would not even work for my crazy vegan kids. It’s chocolate, gummy snacks, or treats of any sort.

Sometimes it is a playground at the end of the hike! By far my favorite hike to take “newby” hiking kids on, that is also close to Phoenix, is in Cave Creek Regional Park.

“Let’s go hike kids!”

“waaahhh I don’t wanna”

“We can play on the playground after”

“OK!”

Everyone wins!

Starting at the Go John trail head you have the one big climb of the hike, we call it the ant hill. Once you reach the saddle you have the best stop for a snack and take some pictures spot. Do not spend too long hanging out here, when kids get to thinking how tired they are its hard to get them moving again! When you come to a junction take a left on Overton. You will meander around the mountain for some more awesome views and some fun little downhill sections.

Eventually you will spot the nature center which is a great little stop to see some critters. You will also spot the playground which is a great end of hike motivator for the Little ones!  It’s funny how moments ago they were “so tired” after 3 (ish) miles but when they hit that playground they have all the energy in the world!

For a hike this length my Little People don’t have that many snacks, but if yours is new to this sort of distance plan on a little something at the saddle and maybe a couple more along the way. I tend to try and give them something “healthy” in the beginning, fruit of veggies, and use the sugary snack as a motivator to keep moving as the miles drag on. I usually plan on something they love (for us its chips) at the park as an added “yay you made it” bonus!

The best part about Cave Creek Regional Park is once your kids have mastered the short hike there are many options to add on miles and still have the playground as motivation! And for us parents, the views are all beautiful!

Do-

Teach your kids trail etiquette before you go. My rule for my Little People is the almost always move off the trail and let adults go by. It’s just easier that way.

Have snacks. Delicious ones. Probably chocolate.

Let your kids carry their own stuff. Camelback has the best kids packs on the market currently. Buy your kid one, go outside and use it!

Take time to hunt for lizards, watch a bug cross the trail or stare at the hawk flying by.

Buy good shoes. It’s important. Velcro is BAD for kids hiking (ask Tru, he lost 2 toenails last summer)

Use motivators when needed. Talk, play games, run, smile, give snacks. Have fun yourself so your kids can have fun too!

Don’t-

Give snacks every time they ask. Always give a “snack point”. “When we get to the saddle we will have -blank-“. If they start getting what they want by whining I promise you will regret it later in the hike!

Carry their pack. Yes they will get tired. Yes their pack is heavy. Do not let them get away with being lazy! Let them feel strong and capable.

Commiserate. Instead of complaining when they do, talk about how happy you are that your legs hurt because of how strong they are becoming. If you complain they complain and that is no fun at all!

So get out with your Little People and have fun!

 

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You Should Never Hike The Grand Canyon with a Baby

but I did….

(but I’m not telling you to)

Despite growing up in AZ I had never actually hiked into the Canyon. After having Tag and feeling great post birth (and in the best shape I have been in in a long time) I decided I would put everything I could on my “to-do” list and make adventures happen. Having limited time away from him at least half my training for my races has included hiking as steep an incline as I can find while wearing him. He has been quite the trooper and really taken to napping while we hike (which can be a bummer on a day I’m not feeling like hiking!).

I have hiked a lot while baby wearing, 13 years of baby wearing for me at this point. The biggest question I get is “aren’t you afraid of falling”. Well, yes I am. I used to live in a 3 story town house when I had only 2 little ones and I would constantly be scared of falling down the stairs with them. Curbs scare me when I’m holding little ones. Basically my fears come from the “normal” things in life. The things you aren’t normally thinking about, that is when accidents happen. When I am hiking I am very aware of every step and overly cautious. No, I am not going to stand on the very edge of the Canyon and stare over the side, but as long as I am conscious of what I am doing and paying attention, the likelihood of tripping is less then normal day to day activities. Plus when you are wearing (as oppose to holding) you have 2 hands free to catch yourself!

So the plan was set to do a Rim-River-Rim with baby Tag. Despite everything online telling you to not try to do it in a day, 18 miles seemed doable for me while baby wearing (totally not for everyone). I didn’t have many reservations but as the day grew closer and rain was in the forecast, I became a little concerned. I HATE being cold, and I really couldn’t worry about myself as much. I had to be sure Tag was comfortable. All this meant was some online shopping for the perfect baby gear.

Waking up the day of our hike I was reminded how difficult it is to get yourself AND a newborn ready for a big adventure. Waking up a baby to get him ready, having to pee, it being cold outside, trying to plan when I could nurse before we started, how I could not make everyone else late (we started at the same time as some other friends) and trying to make sure I didn’t forget anything… Exhausting! But it worked out and Tag (such a trooper) allowed me to get us both ready, nurse him, and he slept the entire way to the South Kaibab Trail head.

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We totally weren’t scared!

Honestly, it was a pretty uneventful hike (that’s a good thing!). My sister joined us on minimal training and we took our time into the Canyon. Down to Phantom Ranch took almost 4 hours with no stopping just slow walking. Tag nursed a little on the way down but mostly slept comfortably. There was a drizzle of rain but nothing too crazy. At Phantom we took a 45 minute break where Tag was awake and playing. He hung out, made friends, and had a diaper change in the fresh rainy air. Putting him back on to head out, he fussed some but went directly back to sleep.

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Pretty sure I was explaining that he was in fact a real live baby he just sleeps and makes me do all the hard work!

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Lemonade!

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Phantom Ranch chillin

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The smallest person at the bottom of the Canyon that day!

 

Heading up Bright Angel the rain picked up some but Tag was unconcerned. As long as I kept the boob out, he had no worries in the world. I did not enjoy the cold boob or rain drops in my cleavage, but baby always wins. If you saw me in the canyon that day there is a good chance you saw my nipple, sorry about that! There were plenty of nice men I played leapfrog with on the way up (I would power up then wait for my sister. I was “that” annoying hiker but Tag needed me to move!).  I got a lot of questions about how Tag was doing (what about mmmmeeee??) and my answer was almost always “sleeping”. At one point Tag was screaming and a couple of runners (dirtbag runners I believe) came by, “Are you ok?”… Me “Oh yes he just lost the boob”.. Silence…. I must have not thought about my audience for that one!

We made it out of the Canyon with a totally time of about 11 hours which included resting at Phantom Ranch and 2 other diaper change stops. Could I have done fast? Yes. I promised myself (and my sister) that there would be no time goals and no plan. Just a long walk all day looking at a beautiful place. Even with the rain and fog (that settled in as we were almost of the canyon) the Canyon is amazing. Don’t ask Tag about it though, he wasn’t very awed….

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Tan lines=Boob is out

 

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So let’s talk gear!

Sleeping- Camping with babies is always a pain. They move, sleeping bags move, they need to be warm! I bought Tag the Frosty Freeze Bunting by Columbia and was so flipping happy about it! We slept in the car and he slept on my chest. At one point as he woke up to nurse I reached in to feel his body temperature and he was on fire! I had to unzip him to cool him off some. Now with the fluffiness of it, if I didn’t co-sleep and have him touching me the entire evening, I may be slightly uncomfortable with him sleeping in it, but it worked perfectly for us.

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Wearing- I am huge into more “traditional” carriers. I use mei tais, ring slings, wraps, nothing with buckles. A while ago a friend suggested a Boba Air and I decided to have it as a “keep in the car” carrier. Not only is it awesome in how little space it takes up, but I can wear a baby on my front and my hydration pack (Ultimate direction Jenny Vest) on my back! With how minimal the Boba air is (unlike a ergo with padded straps) the pack fits like normal and I was not uncomfortable at all, over 11 hours of baby/pack wearing and I felt awesome. I did end up with a small side blister from the Boba which I found entertaining more than anything. At no point did I feel it happening and only noticed the next day when I went running shirtless!

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A rare moment of Tag awakeness in the Canyon! Boba + Jenny Vest for the win!

 

What Baby Wore- When I ordered the sleeping bunting I also ordered Columbia bugababy interchange bunting, oh my greatness! Tag was wearing a short sleeve onesie, a long sleeve footsie onesie, smart wool socks, and the bunting. He was dry and warm the entire time! I was actually jealous every time I put my hand in to feel how warm he was! My Northface shell is great but by the end I was cold and wet, not Tag! One thing I do regret is I bought 0-3 month and when I was wearing him I couldn’t pull the cuffs over his feet to keep them dry as well. I ended up wrapping a dollar store poncho around my waist to cover his feet which worked out just fine. I am so stocked with both my Columbia purchases and how well they worked for my little guy!

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Tag in his perfect rain attire with my Sis.

All and all it was a Grand adventure for the 3 of us! Do I recommend heading out the the Canyon right now for everyone? No. But with my experience and the time I took preparing both baby and myself, we were ready and had an amazing day together! Start with a small victory, a small mountain, a short trail, just get moving! Eventually your perception changes and anything is possible!

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We made it! (Tag still sleeping…)

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All warm and dry in the car!

 

Categories: Adventures with Littles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Screw the Village

I get the “it takes a village” mentality, but leave my kid alone!

I am very clear with my children that they do not have to feel obligated to talk to or listen to adults if they are uncomfortable. I am also very clear that they need to do things on their own when it comes to climbing, jumping, swinging. If you get yourself into a situation you better be able to get yourself out.

We hiked to Seven Falls in Tucson yesterday. The hike was uneventful and all around easy, nothing much to say about that. When we got to the falls the older ones got to playing and I sat with the baby paying little attention to what they were doing. Frogs were caught, rocks were climbed, people got wet. The usual.

Now Tenny is strong and a fairly talented gymnast. She loves boulder and got herself on this rock-

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And got down many times.

But at one point she was up there alone and two older gentlemen took notice of her trying to get down and offered help.

“No thank you” Said Tennyson

She sat back on top of the rock waiting. When I say I pay “little” attention to what is going on that’s not completely true, I knew exactly what was going on but did not intervene.

Tenny continued to sit  on the rock looking at the men out of the corner of her eye for a couple more minutes then went to go down again.

At this point one of the men jumped up offering her help again.

“No Im ok” she said. She climbed back to the top again and sat uncomfortable for another few minutes before hightailing it down and over to me.

“hey honey, did that bother you?”

“Yes. They didn’t listen to me.”

Now you see, the “helpfulness” was really not listening to my daughters words. Yes she is only 6, but she said she was fine and the men, adults, wouldn’t hear her. How scary is that when you are little? She went back up the rock multiple times not because she wanted to, but in hopes that these men would leave her alone so she could get down. I understand wanting to help children if they look like they are in trouble but she was not.  Maybe she could have fallen, but so what?

Tenny and I talked about the way she felt. We talked about how adults should listen to children’s words and if they don’t that’s scary. We also talked about how these men may have just been trying to help but we also don’t know and some people use “helping” as a way to trick children.

PLEASE hear my children. If you aren’t trusting a child’s judgment DO NOT push. Give a simple “can I go get your Mom/Dad for you” but do not invade their space or comfort zone. Adults need to respect a child’s words. Maybe you aren’t the “bad guy” but what happens when my daughter takes help from that person because she doesn’t want to upset the person offering help?  Children should not feel an obligation to accept help from an adult AND if they have already said no thank you, essentially telling the adult to back off, and the adult does not listen they should be wary of that person.

Tenny did what she was suppose to do and though I am sad she lost out on some fun playtime while she sat figuring out how to handle the situation, I’m glad I got to see her use her internal safety button and make the choice she thought was best. Strong looks good on Little Ladies…

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I smell…

I was sitting writing another blog post and Tru was getting our weights together, it was obviously time for a lifting session…

Tru “Mommy what’s this”- Showing me his hand

Me “That’s blood buddy”

Now see, in the process of moving a 25lb kettle bell he had knocked it over on his hand. Not dropped it, just knocked it on its side, which split his nail.

At this time Tag was naked and sleeping on me so I set him down to help Tru (in reality I set him down to go pee, but figured I could help a bleeding 4-year-old as well). It wasn’t until I laid him down that I realized-

I had been pooped on. And I didn’t even notice when it happened.

That’s where my life is at… so the interaction between Tea and I this morning made even more sense….

Tea “Hey Mommy can you guys come into school today” (because showing off your infant brother is the coolest thing to do EVER!)

Me “Sure hunny…”

Tea “Ok, but can you change your shirt first….?”

(inner dialogue “Oh My goodness what is wrong with my daughter?!?! I am the COOLEST mom ever! Why would she be embarrassed of me?!? I mean, I’m wearing running clothes, but thats because I’m a runner, which is cool! What is wrong with her?? UGH! I’m so angry!”)

Me “why?” (asked with all the Motherly kindness and love I could muster)

Tea “Well… you have a boob leak stain…”

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Yup, that awesome circle of boob milk leakage-target was about to leave the house…

And that my friends is when I realized I had hit rock bottom…

Well, until this most recent poop incident… Guys, I am so smelly and gross that I really don’t notice anything anymore… Maybe I should go shower…

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Adorable baby don’t care.

(for the record I did not change my shirt, I just put a long sleeve on over it🙂 )

 

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