Sunday, November 1, 2015

47 Ceramic Bunnies and Falling into a Toilet (My Parenting Style Part 2)

So let’s kind of pick up where we left of the last post about parenting and my kids love languages. Lately, (I guess because of the blog), people have been sending messages, texts, etc. about being a good and fun dad. I think everyone enjoys hearing that stuff. So wanted to say a big THANK YOU to everyone that’s send encouragement my way; however, I do feel bad accepting that kind of stuff at times. Not because being a single parent isn’t that much work, mostly I just firmly believe God really blessed me with the coolest kids ever. Seriously, my kids are legit awesome. I think I talk about how amazing my kids are WAY too much on this blog for some people.

I think that’s why I don’t really give parenting advice and take the masses of parenting materials available with a grain of salt. I really don’t have anything against people that study up and read about parenting; honestly, to me they are the pro parents. Researching and putting countless hours into reading and discussing their kids’ developments, needs, etc. So please don’t get me wrong about that. If you don’t have kids yet, just wait. There’s such an overload of materials available on parenting that it kind of boggles my mind. If you are determined and have enough time, I'm sure it will be a mega help.

I found all the books I need to read. 
Soon I will to know how to pack healthy after-school snacks for the kids

I guess like I said it in the last post, I’m more of a big picture thinker when it comes to parenting and life in general. (I think it drives people at work crazy sometimes. Hahaha) I mean yeah, I am detail oriented at times and a perfectionist in certain areas, but for the most part life just makes more sense handling all aspects in a very general approach. Be Love and Give Love. That’s pretty much it. I know that comes in a great variety of forms and is pretty much different for every single person on earth. Which is why I’m not a big fan of step-by-step or by the book parenting, I don’t think of my kids as guinea pigs for my parenting strategies, but I do try to be fluid and relaxed in my various approaches. Isn’t the adventure the real fun of it all… Just growing as a family, making each other laugh, helping each other when we need help, and just living the dream.  The only way I’m going to figure out how to do my family is doing my family. I'm a big fan of On The Job Training, baby.

Let me kind of break this down with a story. I know I repeat myself a lot and don’t make sense half the time. Big picture thinker ;) hahaha.

So today was Halloween. A lot of people don’t like it, I get that. No pressure here. Do what you think is best for you. However, my kids love it. Typically, our costumes (and pretty much every event) go something like this:
1)      I think of some crazy fun and crazy hard to accomplish plan
2)      I pull the kids in and they just add to the complexity of the situation
3)      I kind of just keep adding elements in my head, and never actually starting anything until the night before.
4)      I stay up about 2 days straight the days before and try to pull it off.
5)      It’s usually an epic event or a complete epic failure.
·         I’m the Ricky Bobby of the event, costume, party, and craft world

We're going to make this the most epic birthday party ever or
 I'm going to accidentally set the cake on fire.

This Halloween was no different. Let’s break down the events of the day. I woke up around 8:30am (I was so nice to sleep in); however, that meant the kids had been up for about an hour or two and the house was being slowly destroyed by each passing second. So I woke up to find, that Titus had peed his bed the night before. I found out because he was being a pro son and stripped the sheets off of his bed and threw them on top of the dirty clothes pile. Unfortunately, the pile he draped the urine soaked sheets was a pile of 3 loads of clean laundry I did the night before and set out on the ground to start folding before I passed out. So I woke up to find all my clothes had a tangy, urine musk. Hahaha

So we had a “family meeting” about the day. Side note: My kids absolutely love “family meetings”.  We made our plan; I had to run by the pharmacy and pick up a prescription, run by my work and grab the kid’s costumes out of my office (I brought them up there by accident on Thursday), buy a few bags of candy and come home. In my mind it sounded like an easy 3 stop trip and one that would avoid seeing a lot of people. So I let the kids dress themselves and brush their own hair.

Pretty much how Olive's hair looked today while wearing 
pajama pants, fluffy pink boots, and a size 7 spiderman shirt.

Around 9:30am we ate a quick breakfast and I loaded up my “barely meeting DFACs clothing and grooming standards” children into my trashed minivan. The trip started off good, a quick trip to Dollar General to buy some candy to leave out for Trick or Treaters while we walked around the neighborhood. The kids were excited and doing little things like dancing and singing in the store. It was fun. So we loaded up for the second to last stop (or so I thought) - my work. We were making great time, all we had to do run up, grab the costumes, and head back out to the car. This is where my day took a drastic change… We got up to my office and I noticed, “I grabbed the wrong key ring!” I didn’t have keys to my office. So we walked around looking for someone to unlock my office. No luck. The girls are crying because I can’t get to their costumes. In my head, I had to make a choice… Do I make the trip back home to Hahira (a 20-25 minute one way trip) or do we just wing it and start with something new?

This is why I don’t trust parenting experts, my kids and I get into so many crazy situations there’s no way a book could tell me what I needed to know at that moment. Plus, life’s an adventure, just run with it. So what we did do?  “FAMILY MEETING!! What do you guys want to do?” Of course, they decided on making new costumes. I figured why not, they are only kids once, let’s do something fun today and make some costumes. Neela said she wanted to be a Shopkins (no clue what that is), but I said ok. Stevie wanted to be Link again (from Legend of Zelda. She was Link last year, but we donated it besides the sword and shield). Titus wanted to be Figaro (Minnie Mouse’s cat) because Olive was going to be Minnie Mouse. Side note- I thought that was the kindest thing ever, just a big brother wanting to make his little sister happy.  So we made a plan. Let’s go to Walmart and get everything there.

So there we were Stop #3 Walmart. You would think that costume isle was holding gold bricks or something. I’ve never been one to buy costumes, so I didn’t know what to expect, people were getting crazy over some costumes. “You touch that ‘Size 4t Cute Pirate Buccaneer’ costume and I will suffocate you with this white plastic bag that I got from the deli when I ordered my fried okra”.

Naw man. I saw this last My Little Pony costume and it’s mine. I will look perfect in it.

We were literally getting shoved looking at costumes. I don’t do well in those situations. Not that I get angry, I just try to talk to people and help or calm people down. Granted that NEVER works, but I guess it’s just gut instinct. Luckily, I spotted a “Shopkins” thing on the shelf and grabbed and raced to the checkout. I didn’t see anything green for Stevie’s Link, so I figured we could make one more stop.

We got in the car and I remembered, “Crap, I gotta fill this prescription”, so I ran to Publix to drop it off and fill it up. We pulled up at stop #4 Publix, walked in, let the kids get a free cookie, and then walked over to the pharmacy. Well, apparently the pharmacist was sick and they had that place closed off like Fort Knox. So I just sighed and loaded to kids back up. We drove to stop #5 Walgreens to fill this prescription.  I remembered my window doesn’t roll down, so we unloaded and went inside to drop off this prescription. It seemed pretty slow and not too busy, however they told me it would take 2 hours to fill, so I just figured I would pick it up tomorrow. We loaded back up into the car and the kids told me they were thirsty and I needed gas anyways, so we went to the gas station stop #6. The kids and I unloaded and went inside. I made everyone go use the bathroom since we were all inside. Stevie and Neela are being big helpers with Olive and the potty lately. So I send them in to go and help their little sister and send Titus to pee in the boy’s room. I just held it. Didn’t you know? Parents only get to pee like 6 times a week. ;) Titus started yelling about being out of toilet paper, so I ran in and there was none in the other stall. I was going to run up to the front but the line was crazy long and there was only one worker. So I banged on the girls bathroom and asked them to bring me some toilet paper. It took a while, but finally Stevie handed me out some. I gave it to Titus and continued to wait in the hallway. Titus strolled out and after a few minutes the girls came screaming and bolting out of the bathroom. Apparently, Olive had pooped but was too scared to flush the potty (she Hates loud flushes). So Stevie tried to flush it for her and she slapped her hand away, lost her balance, and her butt fell into the toilet with the poop and was stuck. Neela thought it was hilarious and dying laughing about Olive’s poop butt and Stevie was freaking out. So I ask Stevie if there are any other girls in there through the door. She says no. So I cautiously enter only to see a woman’s feet in the other stall. Crap. So I just walk back out and try to explain how to pull her sister out of the toilet and wipe her butt. Well, she got her out but refused to wipe the poop off.

"Olive... you nasty."

I don’t blame her it was disgusting. I can only imagine what that lady was thinking in the other stall with me yelling through the door. So I talked Neela and Stevie into pulling up her panties and then her pants. Olive strolled out of the bathroom with that “poop in your butt, just got off a horse” walk. I took all of them into the men’s room and all went into a stall. I threw away Olive’s poop covered panties, wiped her butt, and let her commando the rest of the day… We bought drinks and gas and loaded back up.

Then we headed to the Dollar Tree (stop #6). I remembered seeing some green shirts and beanies in there recently, so I thought it might be an easy fix. So we parked, unloaded, and walked in. There were no green things in the store we could use. However, my parents gave each of my kids a dollar and they really wanted to spend it. I reminded them of the time, but then I reminded myself that I don’t want to be caught up “planning fun” that I miss the opportunity to let my kids “have fun”. So they each picked some little animal toy and were super stoked out them. We got to the checkout line to find one cashier and 8 people ahead of me in line. We were patient and waited kindly on the lady a few spots in front of us buying a million fragile items that had to be individually wrapped in newspaper.

 I need these 47 ceramic bunnies to spice up my sewing room.

After waiting in line about 10 minutes, another worked walked over to another register and typed in something real quick and was just standing there. So I got the kids, stepped out of line, and asked if she was opening her register. She told me no, she was clocking out and there would only be one line open. So I went to get back in my spot only to find the people behind me just moved up and took my spot. I kind of hinted about getting back in my spot and doing everyone a favor in trying to find out about another checkout line, but they just pointed to the back of the line. I was about to just walk out of the store, but I looked at my kids. They were each playing and laughing with their little animals, so we just stepped to the back of the line. They were obvious to the stress; my kids were just having fun and being kids. So finally, we checked out and left. We hadn’t made any progress in Stevie’s or Titus’s costume. So we loaded back up in the van, so I could think of a game plan.

I sat there for a minute and decided to make the short trip to Target (stop #7). We drove their unloaded, walked in, and didn’t find a single thing. By this time, I was getting a little frustrated about how the day was going. “I should have just driven home and gotten my work keys” I kept telling myself. However, the kids were hungry and I had a little cash, so we decided to get a little lunch. So we loaded up and drove to Wendy’s (stop #8). We just kind of just all sat around and hung out eating chicken nuggets. I had to admit I was a little on edge, due to the fact that I still had to bathe all the kids, clean the house a little, and set up for trick or Treaters that night and we were still down 2 costumes (I remembered we had an old Minnie costume, Olive could wear). But finally towards the end of the meal, I loosened up and we had a good time. Before we got up to eat, Titus reminded me that I didn’t need to buy him a costume, because we had the cat costume Aunt April gave us a few months ago and he wanted to wear that one. Praise God! Only one more costume to go!!

We finished up eating and I was brainstorming about how to finish Stevie’s costume. And then it hit me! I saw this ocarina (a little flute thing that Link plays in Zelda) a few months back in Hobby Lobby and that if we got that, she would be cool with doing home and just wearing a green VBS t-shirt she already had and she just wouldn’t have a hat. So we loaded up and headed up for stop #9 Hobby Lobby. It was just a really refreshing feeling when I realized that I was stressing out way too much over these stupid costumes and I needed to just enjoy my kids.  We got to Hobby Lobby and walked to the back to find one more Ocarina left and it was BLUE, the same color as Link has in the game. She was so ecstatic! Stevie agreed to not have a hat and just wear her VBS shirt; however when we were walking to the front, I spotted a lady with a buggy full of green shirts. So I asked her where she got them and she pointed to the back of the store. Well, wouldn’t you know, we found a perfect green shirt and a green bandanna. At the checkout line, my cashier told me everything I had was on sale and my total for all three things was like 7 bucks. We were all happy and all in a good mood.

So we loaded up and headed home. When I looked down at the clock, I realized that it had been well over two hours since we dropped the prescription off and we could pick them up. I asked the kids if they would mind, and they said they were happy playing with their new toys in the car. So I pulled up to the drive thru pickup. Of course, right when I pulled up to the window I remembered my window doesn’t roll down, so I was going to have to open my door. The pharmacy worker opened the little pop out door for me to give her my insurance card and credit card for buying the prescription; however, I noticed when she did that, that I was parked too close and my door couldn’t open because of the little pop out pharmacy box. So I pulled up a tiny bit and was going to reverse back and give myself a little more room so I could open my door and reach the little box. However, when I pulled up the person behind me pulled up right behind me. So there I was too far up to reach the box while sitting in the car. By now my day had been long enough I wasn’t really stressing anymore. I just opened my door and wedged myself between my van and the outside of the pharmacy. I’m leaning over the little pop out window trying to explain that “Yes, my insurance is valid and it has not been cancelled”. The lady couldn’t really hear me well, nor could I see her since I was awkwardly doing a side lean to speak to her and I couldn’t talk to her face to face because my van was blocking me from doing that. She kept trying to ask about my insurance and all of a sudden I busted out laughing. Like laughing hysterically. I can’t really explain it, but just the thought of me in this current predicament was just too funny. The lady in the car behind me is fire mad and the cashier is beyond confused at this guy who is wedged between his van and the wall laughing while trying to pick up some antibiotics. 

She kept asking me things and every time I couldn’t understand her I laughed even harder. I couldn’t really bend over laughing since I was stuck standing straight up as a board due to being pinned. Finally, she just did something with her computer, gave me the medicine, and asked me to please use their walk-in service next time I used their pharmacy. We got home, decorated a little, clean a little, got our costumes on and had a great day.

I tell that story to explain my view on parenting. Everyone I know would have made different choices and handled things a different way. We're humans and have our own values and opinions. There’s not a really book on “How to talk your child through the process of unplugging her sister’s butt from a public restroom toilet”. Sometimes my kids and I take go around our elbow to get to knee, but as long as they are having fun, feeling loved, and showing love, I think that’s all that matters. I’m sure I broke pretty much every health eating tip, child scheduling rule, was too passive in avoiding conflict, and had my kids going all over town with me today, but I think I just do what feels right in the moment. Tonight, when I asked the kids what their favorite part of the day was besides getting candy, they all agreed it was watching Stevie get her ocarina. After that long day, they still found the good in the craziness. 

Neela - "Shopkins" 
Still no clue what this is

Olive and Titus - Minnie Mouse and her cat Figaro

Stevie - Link playing the Ocarina

Seth - Nerd... Not too much of a stretch

Wow, this is really long. I’ll continue with the the kids' love languages soon :)

Be Blessed,

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