In Memory of Juliet, the Hamster

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Stefism #32 When your neighbor asks you to watch their pet hamster over Thanksgiving break, just say no. You can feed it, change its water, and do everything you're supposed to do. But when the little girl next door comes to pick up her beloved little furball, she might burst into tears because her hamster isn't moving. Her mom may try to convince her that he's "hibernating," but who is she kidding?

I don’t know why, but I have the bad luck of being a pet killer. I have had four pets throughout my life and none of them have lasted longer than 6 months. First, a frog when I was 5. I think I forgot to change its water. But I was 5. Give me a break. Then a hamster, named Mickey, when I turned 9. That evil hamster would hiss and scratch every time anyone tried to touch him. Two weeks later, he escaped, and we never saw him again. At 11, my sister and I saved up our money and bought a pet turtle. A pet turtle that never moved and never ate and after a month we realized he was dead. I still think the pet store actually sold us a dead turtle. Finally, when I was 15, I got a pet iguana. He was so cute, and I was determined to keep him alive. Six months later, he got these little red bugs all over him and died. Apparently, I have a pet curse. Keep your little living things away from me. All I can handle now are some fish – some of which I have managed to keep alive for a while now. The ones that haven’t made it – well, I’ll save those stories for another day. And just in case you wondered, I did, in fact, warn my neighbor about my pet killing history…

Also, I have managed to keep all of my children alive. So there’s that.

Halloween Vomit

Stefism #30 It might not be a good idea to let your 7-year-old eat “as much candy as he wants” on Halloween and then allow the kids to have a sleepover on the floor.  Because he may just throw it all up, and his sister might just end up rolling around in the vomit in her sleep.

There’s nothing more fun than waking your daughter up in the middle of the night to tell her she has to take a shower because she rolled around in her brother’s vomit. Also, I thought this would be one of those great “natural consequences” teaching moments. But no. The next day, my son had no memory of throwing up and asked incessantly (ie. whined, screamed, begged, and cried) to eat the rest of his Halloween candy. 

Mermaid Hunting

Stefism # 28

4-year-old: "Mom, I've never even seen a real mermaid!"

Me: "That's because mermaids aren't real. They're just pretend."

4-year-old: "WHAT???!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME???!!!"

My daughter was flabbergasted and heart-broken all at once and I found myself wanting to take back what I had said. Why did I speak before thinking? Because I actually love how the line between reality and make-believe is so blurred for kids. Pooh-pooh on me for squashing that line. Looking back, a much better response would have been, “Gosh golly, neither have I!” Then we could have gone mermaid hunting.

Laundry and Husbands

Stefism #26 You know you have finally reached the high point in your mom life when your husband says in a panic, "You can never die. I'd never know which clothes belong to which kid."

Moments like this really help you understand how valued you are. I recently went to a writing conference and left my husband and kids at home for a week. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised when I came home. I’d expected mounds of laundry piled to the ceiling, but instead found the laundry clean, folded, and put away. My husband was so proud of himself - he was bursting to tell me, “I figured out how to know whose clothes were whose. I held the clothes up, and the kids called out ‘mine’ if it was theirs.”

Good job, honey. Me? I’m just glad to know I can leave for a week and my kids will still have clothes to wear. They may not have showered or changed their underwear, but you can only ask for so much, right?

Pregnant Glow

Stefism # 23 I always looked forward to that "pregnant glow" that everyone talks about. What I didn't realize is that they were talking about the shine of the toilet reflecting off my face.

If you haven’t read my other posts about pregnancy, you may not yet understand my pure hatred of it. My youngest child is currently 2 ½, and I am so happy to finally be done being pregnant. I hate every second of being pregnant and don’t even know how I survived it 5 times. (Yes I do. I love babies. It’s a problem.)

Anyway, I get sick. Like give me the Zofran or I will be throwing up eight times a day sick. So while I am pregnant, the toilet and I are friends. BFFs, even. Which is just gross. And instead of walking around with a “happy glow,” I sport a look of death. So glad that’s over.

 

Diaper Storage

Stefism #22 When your baby feels like a ton of bricks, you may think it's because he's so fat. Think again. It might be because your three-year-old is putting rocks in the baby’s diaper.

Because, come on, a diaper is a good place to store stuff! So why not put rocks in there? Or legos or candy, for that matter? You can save it for later, when you get bored or hungry... 

 
 

Is this your baby?

Stefism #20 The Mother of the Year award might just be yanked out of reach when you hear a voice calling from the front door, "Um, hello? Is this your baby?" 

I hear stories on the news about negligent mothers and think, how could they do that? What were (or weren’t) they thinking? But honestly, sometimes this stuff just happens. The kids were in the basement and I was in the kitchen making dinner. Then I hear a voice from the front door, calling, “Um, hello? Is this your baby?” Confused, I walked to the door only to find a teenage girl holding my 18-month-old. What?!

Turns out he had come upstairs, opened the front door, and taken a stroll outside. By his 18-month-old self. Luckily, some nice woman and her daughter saw him take off for the street, stopped their car, and brought him up to the wide open door. First of all, I didn’t even know my baby could open the front door! This was the first time. Second of all, agghhhh! Talk about scary! I am so grateful for those kind people that saved my child. And yes, I am now a little psycho about making sure my front door is locked. But I still like to quote, “Um, hello? Is this your baby?” 

 

Eat the baby?

Stefism #7:

6-year-old: "Mom, you need to eat the baby."

Me: "What? Eat the baby?"

6-year-old: "Yeah. So you can be pregnant again."

Oh, so that’s how it works! I guess it makes sense in a horrifically disgusting way. I mean, how else is the baby supposed to get in there?! I’m just a little hung up on the whole ‘eating the baby’ part. I suppose people do prefer lamb over mutton, so perhaps cannibals would prefer baby over adult. But let’s be real here. If any human is going to be eaten, it should probably be teenagers. Because, why not?

 

Toys in Toilet

Stefism #5: When your 4-yr-old "accidentally" bounces a bouncy ball into a pee-filled toilet, you can try to extract it from the drain with various tools, such as a plunger or tongs. But let's face it. Eventually, you're just going to have to stick your hand in.

The ol’ toys-in-the-toilet dilemma. When we lived in our first house, our basement toilet backed up, and you know how gross that gets. So I called a plumber, who came out and charged me an exorbitant fee to snake the drain. After working for a while, he called me down to the garage and told me to look down the drain.

“Looks like there’s some toys down there,” he said. Hmm…so I guess that’s what happens when your three-year-old flushes toys down the toilet…repeatedly.

Recently, I called another plumber for a different problem, and after I told him my toy-flushing story, he said that he keeps a box in his truck full of flushed toys that he’s taken out of drains. Seriously?! I am so glad I’m not his kid!

Any good flushing stories? Please share!

 
 

How many wet diapers a day?

Stefism #4: When you are at the pediatrician's office and the nurse asks, "How many wet diapers a day?" try not to stare blankly as you think, "Is she asking how many times a day he pees or how many times I actually change him?" Just respond with my go-to answer for any question: "Normal."

Ahhh…diaper changing. I once had a friend that changed her kid’s diaper every single time she peed. Every. Single. Time. She said she could smell it. Luckily, I am not blessed with a very good sense of smell, and therefore do not smell it when my child pees.

This lack of olfactory skill leads to only changing my kid’s diaper three times a day – when he wakes up, after his nap, and before bed. And of course, when he goes, you know, number 2. Occasionally I change his diaper and think, “How in the world is there so much pee in here?” His diaper is hanging down to his ankles!

So kudos to diaper manufacturers! They’ve given us the ability to let our kids walk around with 5 gallons of pee hanging off their bums! 

 
 

Biting

Stefism #3: When you're nursing and your baby bites you, you could flick his lip. Or you could just bite HIS nipple.

I must admit that I’ve never actually tried the latter method, but it does seem like it might be effective.

I am no longer nursing, but as of late, my 2-year-old has been biting anything he can get his teeth into – my hand, my shoulder, my leg. The first two times he bit me, I flicked his lip, and he cried. The third time he bit me, I flicked his lip again, he cried, and then he reached up and flicked my lip. Seriously?!

Obviously the flicking of the lip is not working. I have heard that biting them back is effective, but due to his previous retaliation, I’m afraid of the onset of a vicious biting circle.

So how do all of you deal with biters?