Loading the Dishwasher With a Toddler: 49 Easy Steps

IMG_9133Company will be arriving in twenty minutes. The kitchen currently looks like a busy restaurant after the dinner rush.  A busy restaurant where all of the workers had a food fight before they went on strike and threw dishes over their shoulders as they ran out the door.

The dishwasher must be loaded. The following is an easy to follow guide to loading the dishwasher while parenting a toddler.

  1. Turn on toddlers favorite show.
  2. Slide off of the couch like an invertebrate while trying not to draw attention to yourself leaving the room.
  3. Silently fist pump once you have made it to the kitchen.
  4. Open the dishwasher door.
  5. Swear at the tell tale creaking.
  6. Glance up.
  7. Lock eyes with toddler.
  8. Beg toddler to stay in the living room.
  9. Remove toddler from dishwasher.
  10. Beg older children to entertain toddler.
  11. Haphazardly throw dishes into dishwasher.
  12. Remove toddler from dishwasher.
  13. Chase toddler into other room to remove wet dishes from his hands.
  14. Console screaming toddler, and place him in front of favorite show.
  15. Sprint back to kitchen like Usain Bolt.
  16. Throw handfuls of silverware into dishwasher.
  17. Remove toddler from dishwasher.
  18. Consider using only paper plates from now on.
  19. Remember how many children you have, and calculate that you would fill a landfill in approximately six days.
  20. Remove toddler from dishwasher.
  21. Contemplate bathing toddler in dishwasher from now on.
  22. Chase down toddler to retrieve forks.
  23. Consider hiding dishes elsewhere until company has left.
  24. Eye oven.
  25. Remember that time you tried to use oven as a breadbox, melted plastic to four loaves of bread and nearly burned the house down.
  26. Scrap idea to hide dishes.
  27. Pick up the dishes toddler has unloaded from dishwasher while you daydreamed.
  28. Mop up puddle of water from unloaded dishes.
  29. Remove toddler from dishwasher.
  30. Gag over curdled milk in sippy cup.
  31. Consider leaving bowls of water around the house for children instead of cups.
  32. Remember how often toddler dumps dog bowl.
  33. Scrap kid water bowl idea.
  34. Remove toddler from dishwasher.
  35. Load cups into dishwasher like cupstacking champion.
  36. Wonder why cupstacking is a thing.
  37. Contemplate new career as a cupstacker.
  38. Drop pile of cups, spilling water on toddler, who is sitting in the dishwasher again.
  39. Console wet, screaming toddler.
  40. Wrap toddler in towel, and place him in front of favorite show.
  41. Wonder where television remote went.
  42. Remove television remote from dishwasher.
  43. Realize you have three minutes left until company arrives.
  44. Remove toddler from dishwasher.
  45. Close dishwasher door.
  46. Forget about loading dishwasher.
  47. Make coffee for company.
  48. Commiserate over toddler/dishwasher love affair.
  49. Drink coffee out of paper cups.




Today, I leveled up.

There are times when navigating the parenting journey that you step to the next level. Sometimes these are scenarios where you have faced your greatest fears, times you have accomplished things you didn’t think you had the capability of achieving, or….other.

Today was definitely an “other.”

It started out no differently from any other family outing. A trip to a local craft museum. My husband clinging to our preschoolers hand, lest he careen into a display of delicate glass sculptures, our older children happily prancing from display to display, our toddler strapped to my back in a baby carrier.

Our toddler, whom we had taken blueberry picking the two days prior.

Our toddler, who discovered a love for blueberries.

Our toddler, whose digestive tract did not agree with this new found love of blueberries.

As we walked out the door of the museum, my toddler began squirming uncomfortably, and to my absolute horror – I felt my back suddenly get warm. I had begun to silently beg for it to just be a leaking diaper when the stench hit me. I staggered to the car, nearly blinded by the haze of foul odor, and took my son off of my back. I placed him in the car, and deadpanned to my husband, “There’s poop. I need you to help me.”

As he rounded the car, glancing at our poop-coated toddler, relief emanated from his voice as he assured me that there was none on me.

I reminded him that our son had been on my back, and turned around to lift my cardigan, revealing the shirt underneath.


A few (dozen) wipes and a (rejected) suggestion to drive home topless later, we arrived at our house to shower off the stench of the day.

Sometimes, that next level of parenting falls under the “other” category: surviving things so gross, you don’t even want to imagine that they could happen.

Level. Up.


“Do I Have To Wear Pants at Preschool?”

I registered my fourth kid for preschool yesterday. My older three have gone to the same preschool, and it has been a wonderful experience. I am looking forward to messy handprint art and wobbly attempts at writing his name. My expectations for this son are the same as the ones for the brothers and sister who came before him – ABC’s and 123’s, learning to socialize with new friends, learning to follow classroom rules….

I do have some additional hopes and dreams for this kid though. Hopes and dreams that I didn’t have for the others.

I hope he develops a love for reading. And pants.

Specifically pants. Though seeing the aptly nicknamed Captain Underpants conduct his daily life in his skivvies is (at the low end of) acceptable here, I am fairly certain that preschool isn’t the place where my kid should stage his “it says nothing about PANTS on that sign” protest.


He wasn’t thrilled about the idea of wearing pants to the screening appointment, but to my relief, I won that fight, and he kept them on the whole time. He made up for this by streaking through the neighborhood in his underwear once we returned home. I would like to say this doesn’t happen often. That would be a lie. So much of a lie that last week, my neighbor questioned why my son looked so different, and came to the conclusion that it was because he was wearing pants.

I hope he develops a love for language.

CLEAN language. For the love of all that is holy, I pray that my foul language loving kid develops a love for four letter words like shiP and Duck. I hope that my kid, who picks up on foul language like a heat seeking missile, chooses to say “How the HECK is that story going to end?” and “SHOOT, I dropped my pencil.”



Oh, and ARE-YOU-THERE-GOD-IT’S-ME-MARGARET, please don’t let him use any of the (cough, cough) loving nicknames he calls his siblings when he turns into the tiny blonde Hulk with his sweet little classmates come September, ok?

I hope he starts using real words.

When he gets nervous, he becomes goofy. He does silly things, and uses baby talk. Yesterday, he bearwalked from the perimeter of the playground to greet his new principal with an enthusiastic “GOOEY GOOEY!”

Which I suppose is better than the aforementioned alternative.

Perhaps the baby talk isn’t so bad. After all, it covers up what he is really saying when sweet ladies get too close while talking to him in the grocery store.

Yes, lady. He certainly loves ducks and ships. A gooey, gooey day to you. Screenshot_20170512-100528

Perhaps we should cut to the chase here. My kid needs to skip preschool altogether and go straight to college. He will make an awesome Frat boy one day.

Have his #@$^&* toga waiting.

That Time We Found a Tick. Or, That Time My Kid Nearly Got Eaten By A Monster. Whichever Title Works Better For You

Before yesterday, I thought ticks were gross. I had a rather rational level of disgust for  them, but didn’t think much of them beyond “Shoot, I am about 7 decades behind in putting flea and tick stuff on the dog, I should get on that…”

And then yesterday happened.

My kids become practically feral once the temperature reaches 40 degrees. Yesterday was no exception. I saw them for approximately 6 seconds after school, and then the front door slammed in a whirlwind of blonde hair and discarded school supplies.  Eventually, I wrestled the girl-child into a leotard, and sent her off to dance class with a friend. An hour and a half later she returned home, plopping down on the couch next to me as she excitedly started to tell me about her dance costume.

And there it was. As my daughter mimicked the layout of a tutu, this THING was doing it’s own little dance through her hair, it’s 7.5 million little legs waving disgustingly as it stumbled through her curls.

“And it has a red apron and a skir….”

I calmly interrupted my daughter.

“GET OUT OF THE HOUUUUUUUUUSE! It’s in your hair, it’s in your hair, go into the yard, GET OUT, now, now, now! GOOOOOOOOO!”

Once outside, I reacted to the tick like a mature, rational adult. This entailed swatting wildly at my child’s head with a paper towel, yelping like a hyena.

Once satisfied that the beast was removed from her head, my daughter wanted to look for it. Pointing to minuscule dots on our front walkway, she yelled, “I see it!”

Not wanting to alarm her, I refrained from telling her that the tick was slightly larger than those dots.  Somehow, I don’t think “No dear, the bug in your hair was the size of a small chihuahua….” would have gone over so well.

I glanced up from monster hunt just long enough to catch the eye of our neighbors adult son as he gawked at me in bewildered amazement while getting into his car. I am pretty sure he left to submit the paperwork for my Mother of the Year nomination. I mean, I clearly handled that situation like a BOSS.

Since that ghastly, Cadillac sized beast attempted to scalp my kid (well, I shouldn’t jump to conclusions. I guess he could have been trying to French braid her hair. But, for the sake of my fear mongering little story here, let’s just agree that he was a monster out for blood, mmmmm-kay?) Anyway, I digress. Since he hitched a ride on my kid’s head, I have been itching non stop. Every piece of hair that touches my arm is certainly a tick. Wind blows? Tick. Strange creaks that I used to attribute to the house settling? Monster sized ticks. Door bell rings? Polite ticks. They are everywhere. My Facebook feed was full of articles and comments about them. Texts and messages came flooding in. Friends began finding traveling hairdresser ticks in their own hair (perhaps in solidarity?).

Nothing bad actually came of our tick encounter. Well, except for the fact that I may itch my own skin off. But, who needs skin anyway?

In all honesty, the giant monster tick population this year is apparently a gazillion times higher than it usually is. So, be aware. Check yourself, your kids, your pets, and be careful answering the door in case they are going door to door selling whatever the heck ticks sell. If you need to learn proper tick removal techniques, I will be starting a class soon titled “Smacking Your Kid On The Head With A Paper Towel Like A BOSS. Tick Removal 101.”

If there is a silver lining, it is that I am now hyper aware. And that my pets have been flea and tick treated.

“What a beautiful picture!”

One of my big parenting goals is to have pictures of all of my children together. I am admittedly horrible at keeping up with baby books, so these myriads of pictures serve to document my children’s youth alongside their siblings, and to see them grow together. As the years have progressed, I have come to the realization that I am not just watching them grow physically, but I am also capturing the growth of their bond with each other. Chubby toddler hands clinging to tiny infant bodies have slowly morphed into the grubby, protective hands of a pre-teen firmly grasping the wildly wiggling toddler, lest he slip out of his grip and fall…

Sentimental? Yes. Easy? Hahahaha!

For every picture I share with my friends and family, there are easily a dozen outtakes.  (And by a dozen, let’s just say that I currently have over thirty thousand pictures stored on my external hard drive. My kids don’t call me the Mama-razzi for nothing.)

Though I would love to tell you that I always lovingly guide my children to smile at the camera lens to document holidays and random, silly occasions….well, that would be a lie. For the most part, I am cheerful in my attempts to get them to look at the camera, and they dutifully indulge me. But, there are five of them. Five wiggly, active, silly, often uncooperative KIDS. Undoubtedly, “someone is touching me, looking at me funny, breathing too loudly, or just existing in a way that makes me angry!” These times happen most often when I am trying to get a picture that I desperately want. In my frustration, I find myself snapping at them. “JUST LOOK HERE! AT THE CAMERA! FOR ONE SECOND! ALL I WANT IS ONE PICTURE!”

Because of this, there are some pictures that I have shared that come with a twinge of guilt. Pictures where my children have been super uncooperative, and I have ended up snapping at them in frustration. Pictures that have, in turn, turned out to be rather beautiful.

My beautiful children, hugging each other and looking out at the ocean?13767216_10153743448688663_8939927236115441036_o

This was taken after a memorial service, on the year anniversary of a dear friends passing. Weighing on my mind was the fact that my friend’s brothers were standing on the beach together, without their beloved brother. Gone unexpectedly, and far too soon. There would be no more sibling pictures. Their family would be forever incomplete. I was emotional, still crying, and desperately wanted one picture of my children together on that beach, in that moment.

They were having no part of it.

One was crying because he had sand in his eye. One was complaining that the sun was too bright and squinting like Popeye. One was eating sand, and crying because his big sister wouldn’t take her hand out of his mouth. One was angry because nobody would let him sprint into the ocean fully clothed.

I finally snapped, swore under my breath, and angrily told them through my tears to sit down and face away from me. Forget it. If they wouldn’t cooperate, I would just take a picture of their backs and call it a day.

They dutifully sat, clinging to each other. Still upset, but bonded together, and desperately trying to appease their now sobbing mom.

I got my picture. With a little side of guilt.

Perspective. It changes everything.



Where the heck did that blog name come from?!

My nine year old son.  This probably needs no further explanation, but this is my darn blog, and you are going to get one anyway, whether you like it or not. (Imagine that said in my firmest of mom voices.)

When I was expecting kid #4, I was poking around on a mom site, reading the forum discussions.  I was at the point in pregnancy when everyone was finding out the sex of their babies, and there were no less than 4.5 million posts about #TeamPink and #TeamBlue. And then I came across the post that would shape my future.

“I went to my ultrasound this morning, and it was awful.  JUST AWFUL. I have two boys already, and was PRAYING to be on #TeamPink. And then the tech put the wand on my belly for the money shot and there it was.  Another freaking boy.  I am heartbroken.  I haven’t stopped crying since. My dreams of dresses and bows are smashed.  EIGHTEEN MORE YEARS OF BURPS AND FARTS!”

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I hold some sympathy for this woman.  I get being disappointed when you don’t get what you have been hoping for. And the reality is, her entire life was shaped in that moment. I genuinely hope that 5 months later, when her beautiful baby boy was handed to her, all was well with the world.

But that quote.  THAT QUOTE.

Two days later, I was at my own ultrasound. The tech went in for the “money shot.” And my husband and I both burst out laughing, and blurted out “Eighteen more years of burps and farts!!!!”

When we gave our older kids a box filled with blue balloons to let them know a brother would be joining the family – they all shrieked “Eighteen more years of burps and farts!” while giving each other gleeful high fives.

When boy number four joined our family two years later – blue frosted cupcakes were met with joyful shouts of “Eighteen more years of burps and farts!”

So, yeah. That is where the blog title comes from. And it couldn’t be more true to my life as a mom.  With four boys, and the classiest little girl in the history of daughters (read: dripping with sarcasm), my life is a side show of bodily function.

It is messy. It is sticky, stinky, and rarely quiet. But it is pretty darn fantastic.

Oh, except for the stink part. That isn’t too fantastic. I am not kidding when I say to hold your nose if you go near the boys rooms. Feet and farts. The smells of their people.  #JoysOfBoys