Parenting

Road trips with a potty trained nursing toddler…

This summer Tag (17 months) has spent close to 4,000 miles in the car. We have adventured around Disneyland and gone back and forth multiple times to the San Juan mountains. I’ve done my best to make most of those miles during sleeping hours for Tag, but there have also been many hours in the car while he is awake. Tag has been such a trooper!

Probably 1/4 of our road tripping miles were spent with my other Littles in the car, which actually made things much worse! Tag wanted to play having them there and sleep was much more difficult for him. One evening drive was probably the worst I have heard him cry ever.. he was exhausted, the other kids wanted to sleep and didn’t feel like playing… So we stepped out of the car and watched the sun set..

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Eventually Tag fell asleep and I was able to rive the remainder of the way home throughout the evening while everyone slept peacefully. Rare quiet moments for a Mom…

So what tips do I have for road tripping alone with a toddler? Glad you asked..

Be flexible- I know, easier said then done… Any time we hop in the car I assume something is going to go wrong. I try and have a general idea of when he will nap, where we will stopped for gas, when we will grab a real meal, but I also assume it wont work out. Being a potty trained toddler he knows saying he has to go potty will stop the car immediately, he uses it. He also is still nursing and will ask for the boob when he wants out of his seat. I try and distract if I can, but I also do everything I can to respect his words.

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Have extra everything- I have extra water bottles for him, toys, books snacks,            EVERYTHING! Toddlers love to throw, and I would rather clean up 5 water bottles from the back seat when we get where we are going then fumble around trying to pick up the only one we have while driving. I also try and have a new exciting something to distract him from the fact that he is in his carseat again. New toys, stickers, anything to make him forget he is once again doing the thing he does not want to do ever, sitting still

Caffeine- That should probably be #1! An over caffeinated Mom is much more willing to sing, dance, and talk things out with a toddler. I might be a little crazy RIE parenting style, but toddlers do understand a lot. When Tag is having a moment in the car we talk, about everything. I explain to him we have to be in the car for a while longer and talk about the things we can do. It’s EXHAUSTING! But it works. When I give him options he can usually find something that will make him happy. Then I have some more caffeine… (I’m going to need a Hi-Ball sponsorship…)

Podcasts or Audio books- For you. Not gonna lie, one of the most amazing things is driving through the night while your kids sleep and you listen to your own happiness. Do it. The best kind of alone time you can get!

And always be willing to call things off. This last trip home I had big plans of driving through the night and getting home while he slept. Well, after weeks of travel and living in the mountains with kids my exhaustion level was crazy high. No amount of caffeine could help me make it… So I pulled off the road into the mountains and slept. There is no reason to risk falling asleep at the wheel, and after a great nap and some breakfast my buddy and I made it home safe and happy!

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My Revenge Body

Apparently that’s a thing?

I’ve been getting a lot of compliments on how in shape I am lately. True to what we are taught as young girls I was struggling with taking the compliments. I would qualify it “yeah I mean, I could still lose some here”, but slowly and with practice I’ve started to simply say “thank you”.

This is by far the best running shape I have been in in years, and I am very happy with how my body is performing. But the other day the compliment was not one I was willing at accept…

“your revenge body looks great”

Umm… excuse me?

If this is a revenge body, doesn’t that imply I am trying to hurt some? I am trying to make someone jealous? That this transition I have made has everything to do with someone else, their actions, their feelings? Or my desire to control their feelings? I suppose it could mean I put in the work to look this awesome myself, but in order to be able to show it off for others…

But no. Excuse me, but fuck you.

I did all of this work on myself for me. Not for revenge, not to show off to others (except on instagram 😉 ), all for me and the things this body can do for me.

I started running after baby #2 and in training for my first half marathon with my Ex- Husband got pregnant with baby #3. I lied to my doctor at the time, informing her I had totally run before and that I would be fine continuing to train, and I was fine. I ran my first half at 21 weeks pregnant then laid off until after the birth.  My Ex and I continued to run here and there, nothing crazy and totally not serisouly. It was something we did together and I was slow! But we had fun.

Eventually we began dabbling in trail running and I met my bestie Lala. Her son and my #2 were in kindergarden together. I saw her wearing and ironman shirt and casual asked “so do you like, just run too?”

Her “Yeah, kinda…”

By that she meant “Yeah I run ultras. 100 milers. I tend to win stuff too”.. but true to ultra runner form she was humble.

Pretty quickly I jumped in to crewing her at her races. I loved it! Nothing like getting to take care of someone while they take on an epic adventure. I crewed my Ex too. I would take care of the kids while they and our other running friends all went on adventures together. I would cook for them, support them, and run a little here and there myself.

Then my kids started running. I supported them, hung with them while they trained, and ran a lot of their races with them. I ran on my own sometimes too, but my major focus was them meeting their goals.

And then there is #6’s Dad. I began not only supporting him at races he was running, but also helping him with his business. My running took a major back seat at this point, but I’m a mom and taking care of people is what I do… So I continued to take care of everyone else.

When I found myself super pregnant and alone, running was what I leaned on. I knew I needed an outlet so I turned things up a little. I was putting in pretty decent miles on the trails and with every run felt stronger and happier. I was genuinely hooked on this silly running thing like I had never been before.

The birth of #6, Tag, was the most spiritual experience of my life.  Not only did I feel more powerful then I ever have before, but my bond with nature was solidified.

((Almost giving birth on a mountain))

Naturally after having Tag I needed to get back to the mountains as fast as possible. Taking care of an infant alone is stressful, the only way to handle the loneliness and hormonal craziness was to get out there. I am proud to say my strava does not have even one zero week after I gave birth. I got out there slowly, walking, hiking, and eventually running. For the first time in my life I saw running as something that could be and should be a priority in my life. I begged people to watch my kids so I can run. I wear the Tag to hike up the steepest mountains I can. Sometimes my miles have to be hiking with all the kids or laps around the park while they play. I made the decision to do anything I had to to get my miles in and accomplish the goals I set.

To be 100%, I have no time for vengefulness. I have 6 busy kids, adventures to go on, and training to get done. Any and all free time I have is working toward my goals, and I no longer feel Mom guilt for getting shit done. It took me 14 years of parenting to decide that if I put myself first everyone wins. Better late then never?

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My Kids Hate hiking

It’s that time of year again! My kids and I head out on some awesome Mommy and kid adventures: me smiling from ear to ear with pride, them skipping their way up mountains all day. I mean, that is what my social media shows after all! And for some reason that was what  I was expecting…

I have two tweens, and they happen to be two of my most opinionated children I own. Apparently they thought going to Silverton Colorado this year was going to be a lot of walking around town, hanging out at the library, and eating candy. Ummm?? Have they met their Mom??

My oldest is out-of-town so it was just the youngest 5 and I in a tent. Every single hike I suggested was met with whinnying and complaints. The tweens wanted no part of it. They picked apart every hike trying to decide which would take the least amount of time. They wanted to get hikes done quickly then go to town…not my idea of living in the mountains.

I was mad. I was hurt. I was legitimently wondering where I went wrong… We have spent countless summers in the mountains. We have spent days hiking together happily… What was different?

Then I had an epiphany-

A happy Mom is a caffeinated Mom. So, more caffeine for me…and headphones!

Look, I knew in my heart they would be happy once they go out there. Every runner that has been out for a while knows how hard it is to get that motivation back. I knew a couple of miles in they would find their groove and be those mountain loving kids again. But it was ME that was the real problem. I was getting hurt by their refusal, I just had to figure out how to get myself out there and “out there” in a positive mood!

So that’s what I did. I shoved my headphones into my pack and over caffeinated myself. I was ready for whatever foul mood they wanted to pull. And guess what? They had fun!

So Mom hack #207- Caffeine, caffeine, and more caffeine! Plus some headphones! (which I never ended up having to use!)

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To the Lady pathetically forcing her kid to clean up blocks at the library:

Just stop. Seriously.

Your half hearted “we are going to go potty then clean up the blocks” to your not even 3 year old was pointless.

What value is there TO HIM in cleaning up the blocks?

So now he went potty and YOU are cleaning the blocks.

Every so often you chase him down, tell him sternly “we are cleaning the blocks” – to which he laughs- then you go back to cleaning the blocks yourself… in silence… and he goes back to running around in pure joy.

My 14-month-old is watching, taking it all in, that’s what bothers me the most. He doesn’t understand this angry Mom, silent to her little one that just wants to play.

I really try to not judge–

Maybe you are exhausted- I’ve been there.

Maybe he has some extra challenges none of mine have.

Please just calm down. He is suppose to resist, suppose to run around instead of cleaning, he’s so little.

If he doesn’t clean this one time I promise he won’t go his entire life unwilling/unable to clean up after himself.

If there is a mess when you walk out the door, more kids will come and play and the mess will get bigger.

The world will not come crashing down.

BUT- if you need the mess cleaned you have to work harder. You have to talk with him the entire time, YOU have to calm down, YOU have to engage with him.

So pick one.

Stick with it.

And have a better day.

 

 

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To All The Haters…

I got a lot of crap before Tag was born for my “crazy ways” and “silly ideas”. Let’s remember, I have 5 other kids (and way more that came in and out during my fostering days) yet some people just knew I was making huge mistakes. No swings? No crib? No bouncer? Clearly I am insane! You cloth diaper? Well I’m bringing you disposable anyway, “just in case”.

Hi.

Hello.

I’ve done this before.

It’s rude. It’s not “being helpful” or thoughtful. If I say no and you don’t choose to hear my words, it’s disrespectful.

So to all those that did not believe I knew what I was doing, Tag has survived to nearly 7 months old…

Without a bouncer, swing, walker, jumper, bassinet, stroller, or even a disposable diaper!

I have held him, worn him, or set him down on a nice soft spot when needed. I’ve washed his diapers, by hand even, and never needed to use any throw away ones.  He has survived!

He is a happy healthy little man, even a little advanced if I do say so myself. (and I do, because I’m his mother)

You raise your baby your way, I’ll raise mine my way.

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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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Stop Praising Dads for Parenting.

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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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No One Gets Me!

My Mom was over tonight and she and Tajh went outside to take the trash and recycling bins out. Moments later she comes running in frantically-

“Tell your son no!”

Me- Deer in headlights

Mom “There is  lizard stuck in the old trash can and he wants to get it out!”

Me “Oh. Well Tajh, save it”

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That’s right, even my Mother who has watched me parent for 13 years got it all wrong.

Do I really parent that oddly? Maybe to “average” American standards, I’m not “average”.

This isn’t “normal”?

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This one time, in 5th grade, my teacher told us “to assume is to make an ass out of you and me. Yes, my teacher told a class of 10-year-olds this. Genius. Make no assumptions, ever.

I actually got asked the other day, “so do you just wear him (Tag) all the time?”

Yes, yes I do. If I’m not wearing him, I’m holding him. If I’m not holding him, I’m peeing, I will pick him up when I’m done. I treated Tajh exactly the same way and no, I do not have to wear him still today. He is by far the most self confident and genuinely happy person I know, adult or child.

Also no, babies can not be manipulative. Babies have needs, they cry when then “need”. I respect children (or at least try to) no matter how old they are. I actually have “A person’s a person no matter how small” (Dr. Seuss) tattooed on my body ( I have a quote obsession).  Just because they are littler then we are does not mean their wants and needs should be ignored.  If a baby is crying I will do whatever it takes to make them not cry. I will nurse all day, wear all day, pace while singing all day, whatever it takes. Again, I have done this with all my children and none of them still expect to be carried! They are all very capable and confident. I think 5 awesome kids says I’ve done something right.

Obligatory-random-adorable sleeping baby picture….

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But again, even my Mom after all these years misjudges how I will react. I suppose I can’t hold on to any hope that people will “get” me and maybe I’m happier with them not. I like being a little odd.

And don’t worry, our friends (turns out another one was hiding) were saved and ran off happily.

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