Reflections and New Year's Wishes

As I sit in my yoga pants (which stopped being flattering about 40 pounds ago) in my usual spot on the sofa (you'll know it by the large butt imprint permanently worn into the leather), I can't help but ponder the year that will soon draw to a close.

Things have changed. Things have stayed the same. Things that initially seemed different are now comfortable.

We've grown as a family, both physically with the addition of Little One, and emotionally. I've been blessed to watch an indescribable bond between my children from the moment Little One joined us. I've been amazed at how naturally big brotherhood has come to Big One. I've relished more kisses and love than I could possibly imagine and felt butterflies at the sight of my children.

I've concluded that life cannot accurately and completely be captured and interpreted in words, yet I won't stop trying.

In recent weeks, months even, I've felt a bit unsettled. Anxious, worried, caught up in my own thoughts and fears. Today, I feel peace. I've shown more patience than I have in some time. I like this feeling. Harnessing this peace, patience, and optimism is my hope for 2009. I want to spend less time worrying about life and more time living it. I hope to come closer to the elusive balance of home, family, work, and personal interests. I want to love and be loved.

Here's wishing all of you the realization of your goals in 2009!

Prayers for Baby Stellan

Have you visited MckMama's blog? Her son is a true miracle. After being told he surely wouldn't survive due to a heart condition, he was born healthy and happy. But now he is battling RSV. And it's bad. He needs prayers. Visit The Mommy Diaries or MckMama's blog for more information. But please keep this sweet baby in your prayers! He has overcome so much. I can't imagine what his family must be going through right now.

Weekly Recap and Top Posts

So I admit I wasn't going to do my weekly recap/lessons learned post today. But then I visited Esther at The Mommy Diaries and she had a link to my blog so I decided I should do it. The truth is I'm still trying to recover from the craziness of the last week. Starting tomorrow I'm going through a self-mandated sugar detox. Man oh man have I been ingesting the sugary goodies this week (and packing on the pounds). It's a little late but here it is: this week's lessons and top posts.

  • Placing a stick of butter on the cooktop while the oven is going is a great way to soften the butter. Or, if you leave it unattended too long, melt the butter. Fortunately, the pools of butter weren't too big by the time I remembered it.
  • I'm too old to make gobs of Christmas candy. I don't have the patience anymore. At the ripe old age of 30, I'm hanging up my candy making gloves and leaning towards cookies next year.
  • Furthermore, I love chocolate dipped pretzels (and I have the rear to prove it) yet I hate the melting/dipping process.
  • Threatening to call Santa to cancel Christmas isn't the best behavior modification plan. Because what are you going to do when your 3 year old continues to misbehave? Ok, so you make a fake call to Santa. Then the aforementioned 3 year old insists he doesn't want presents. What's your next move, Mom? Three. is. fun.
  • Threatening to tell hot Dr. C about Big One's bad behavior? Another bad move. Because now, Big One is scared to even speak to Dr. C. He tells me he still likes Dr. C. He just wants to be shy around him.
  • Threats behavior modification techniques really need to be well thought out.
  • One of the great things about Christmas is watching your kids relish the magic of the holiday.
  • Watching chubby baby hands pluck away at a toy piano hand selected by her big brother is one of the most beautiful sights.
  • It's right up there with sleeping children.
  • No matter how much they drive me crazy (it's been a LONG weekend), I know I am so blessed to have my family!

Well, I tried! And now a few of my favorite posts from the week.
  • I Suppose I Could Have Stayed Home and Baked Cookies @ The Gift: Every mom struggles with the work vs staying home issue. This is a great post by Anastasia about how her opinion changed.
  • Men Are All Alike @ Martini Mom: I know I've included a lot of this blog in my favorite posts but she is hilarious! She's one of those writers who can turn any situation into something funny. Being a teacher, she has plenty of funny stories from her kids and this is another one that I think you will enjoy. She also has a story about falling on the ice which I can totally relate to. Last winter while I was pregnant with Little One, I slipped on a patch of ice and went down like a sack of potatoes. I'm not the most graceful of folks. Add ice to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster. Let's be honest. I fall on the ice at least once a winter. At least this year I don't have to leave the house when it's icy!
  • New Year's Eve Noise Makers @ Lucky Me: If you need a craft activity to keep the kids out of your hair entertained, this is a good one. I'm planning to do this with Big One.
  • Emma's New Purse @ The Mommy Diaries: Esther's daughter received an adorable new purse and cell phone. You must see these pictures. She is a fashionista in the making! I suppose I like it so much because I can picture Little One being the same way in a few months. My personal favorite is the last picture of Emma.
  • last week @ matt, liz, and madeline: I've mentioned Matt's blog before. I'll warn you again: go armed with Kleenex. This particular post made me both laugh and cry. The tears for the heartbreak of this family. The laughter for Matt's ingenuity in his last minute tree decoration.
Disclaimer: There are no guarantees that any of the above content will be interesting, enlightening, grammatically correct, or spell checked. There will most certainly be typos, rambling that causes boredom, and a nonsensical train of thought. But I thank you for reading to the end anyway!

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

Waiting to see Santa...

No tears! Hooray!

Merry Christmas!

Discoveries This Week & Top Posts

It's that time again! Here are just a few this weeks discovers/rediscoveries/life lessons.
  • There is never a bad time to show kindness to a friend, neighbor, family member, coworker, or total stranger. You never know when it will be too late!
  • No one else in the house understands the concept of silence while Little One is falling asleep at nap time. No one. I need nap time, people!
  • Christmas is coming whether I'm prepared or not. I need to let go of all the things that I intended to do for the holiday season and just enjoy this time with my family!
  • My brain is too scattered right now to do any more reflection on my week. So I'm off to bake Christmas cookies with Big One!

And now for the top posts of the week.
  • How Sweet Gingerbread Home by Jessi @ Table for 4: Jessi and her son, Josiah, made an adorable gingerbread house. From scratch! I bow down to her awesome gingerbread making skills. I never would have had the patience! There are some great pictures of the finished product with her adorable son, Joshiah. Jessi, you've once again inspired me to attempt a gingerbread house from scratch next year. But most likely I'll chicken out and do a kit instead!
  • Christmas Decorations by Christy @ Fiona Foo: Christy posted some beautiful pictures of her Christmas decorations. Her house looks so festive! It's the kind of house you would want to go visit and sip cocoa by the fireplace (which I'm so jealous of!). I'm new to Christy's blog but check out the adorable pictures of her daughter while you're there. Her daughter has the most adorable little pink hat! So cute!
  • They're WHAT? by Martini Mom: You must read this hilarious story about what happened when her daughter's roommates came for dinner. Very funny stuff.
  • Rice Christmas Tree by Just for Fun: If you're looking for some last minute holiday activities with the kiddos, check out Just for Fun. She has so many fun activities on her blog. I'm still determined to do with rice Christmas tree with Big One even though Christmas is almost here!
  • Michael Signs "Milk" by Jolene @ The Little Things in Life: Check out this video of her son signing the word "milk". He's not even 1 yet! This really inspires me to start teaching both kids sign language. Big One is showing a lot of interest in learning sign language/other languages. He knows several Spanish words (thanks, Dora!) and a few signs. I'm going to make it my mission to teach them more!
For more top posts of the week, visit The Mommy Diaries. Have a great week!

Diaper or Underwear?

Yes, this is my third post today. Apparently, I have a lot to say.

For those who have been reading for a while, you may think this is yet another post about my potty training woes or a new strategy to get Big One to poop in the potty. But it's not. Not really, anyway.

This summer, in the midst of our hardcore potty training with Big One, he was so very proud of himself for wearing underwear. One day, Hubs was working on some sort of home improvement project in the driveway when our neighbor, Tom, stopped by to chat. Big One is always up for a visit from a neighbor. His two favorites are Tom and Jerry. Yes, those are their real names. They aren't a couple, in case you're wondering.

When Big One saw Tom outside talking to Daddy, he ran out the front door to greet him. He proudly announced that he was wearing underwear. Without missing a beat he yells, "Hey, Tom! Are you wearing a diaper or underwear?"

It was so funny, although Hubs was embarrassed. Tom didn't mind though. He laughed it off and started joking back with Big One.

That was the last time I really saw Tom. Sure, I saw him in his driveway or mowing the lawn. But that was the last real interaction we had.

We found out tonight that Tom passed away. Two weeks ago. Stomach cancer. We didn't even know he was sick. And now he's gone. And we're very sad, even though we didn't know him beyond exchanging small talk in the driveway.

His son lived with him. Now his son is alone. Old enough to take care of himself. But alone.

I'm sad for his son. I'm sad that we didn't know of Tom's sickness. I would have done more. Baked him cookies. Made casseroles to stock the freezer. Showed him that we cared. I'm sad that we found out two weeks after the fact. We would have gone to the funeral.

I'll miss seeing him outside in the summer. I'll miss Big One yelling, "Hey! There's Tom! Can we go say hi?" I wish I would have let Big One go say hi to him more often. I usually brushed it off, telling him Tom was probably busy. And now, Big One can't go say hi. I wonder if Big One will notice. Will he ask about Tom? Will he even notice that he's not around? Should we tell him?

We have invited Tom's son to our house for Christmas Eve. I hope he joins us. I've never had a conversation with him. But no one should be alone on Christmas Eve. Especially after such a loss.

What's That Expression?

Don't bite the breast that feeds you. No? That's not right? Well it should be. Because ouch!

Little One now has 2 teeth. They sprouted last week. And they're sharp. She's been very good to me. Until the last few days, that is. Apparently she's exploring the concept of cause and effect. I imagine her thought process goes something like this.

If I pretend I'm hungry, Mommy will feed me. I'll give her a sweet little smile, study her face carefully to see if she's on to my plan, then, without warning, bite down suddenly with my shiny, new teeth. Guess what happens? Mommy squeals and makes some hilarious facial expressions. Then she starts muttering threats of formula and bottles. But I know better. A quick flash of my extra big grin and she goes all mushy on me. That smile coupled with my big brown eyes will get me out of anything. Mommy and Daddy are so easy. And if I wait a good 5 or 6 hours, she's not so jumpy about the whole biting thing and I can sneak in another one. Being 7 months old rocks!

Our Christmas House

Last year, we began our Christmas house tradition. Don't call it a gingerbread house. Big One will promptly correct you. Last year's Christmas house was constructed from a kit that was on clearance at Target. This year, I had grand intentions of baking a gingerbread house completely from scratch.

Things don't always turn out as planned. I'm not sure what happened to the first part of December, but do you realize next week is Christmas? I had to ditch my plans of a fairy tale gingerbread Christmas house and again spring for the kit.

I should have picked up a different one. I just had a feeling that some of the pieces would be broken.

I was correct. I may not have baked it myself, but I know a thing or two about icing. We were able to do a quick patch job and get the house constructed in no time.

It's probably a good thing I don't have aspirations to be a structural engineer, construction worker, or anything else involving the structural integrity of buildings. Most of the walls were somewhat straight and there was only a minor gap in the roof. Nothing a big swirly line of frosting can't fix.

Big One had a lot of fun decorating his Christmas house.

Little One was a great foreman on this construction sight. She kept a close eye on all of the construction. Big One only licked the knife a few times. And he may have licked his fingers a few times and then put more candy on the Christmas house. My advice? Pass if he offers you a bite.

He took one last look at the blueprints to make sure the Christmas house was complete.

It passed the final inspection and was ready for photographs.

Hey, Big One. The camera's over here. Little One, what are you reaching for now? I can see you! You're not very sneaky.

Happy Christmas house making to any of the other mamas out there doing their own gingerbread construction!

Another Snowy Wordless Wednesday

Check out 5 Minutes for Mom to see more Wordless Wednesday. Thanks for visiting!

Really, Target?

Swimsuits in December? Really, Target. I understand your need to get a jump on the next season and all. But swimsuits in December?

I love you, Target. I really do. I'll sing the praises of your $1 section until the day that I die. What a perfect way for all of us desperate loving moms to bribe reward our children. How else could I possibly make it through your aisles with my two screaming children with any ounce of sanity left?

I can forgive your Christmas displays two weeks before Halloween. I'm assuming your selection of Valentines and Easter paraphernalia will soon push the Christmas decorations aside. I can live with that. But swimsuits in December may cross the line.

By getting a jump on the season, you may actually alienate the moms who so loyally cross your threshold. I know I'm not the only mom who loves the winter months simply because I can hide my extra weight behind bulky sweaters and winter coats. Another glass of eggnog? Sure. I've got some spare room under this sweater. I better have another Christmas cookie to go along with it. I have months before I have to think about wearing short sleeves again. It would be rude not to sample all of the goodies that everyone loves to share at this time of year.

Except now when I walk into Target, I get a reminder of all those winter pounds I must shed. You haven't even given us the chance to make our New Year's Resolution to lose 20 pounds by May (which will be broken by mid January). Are the swimsuits meant to be a motivator? Because it's not working for me. In fact, it's almost enough to send me to the bathroom in tears.

Or reach for another Christmas cookie.

This Week's Lessons & Top Posts

This week I learned...
  • If your doctor prescribes medication for your underactive thyroid, you should take it. Going 4 months without it because you're too lazy to go for your yearly blood draw? Not recommended. I'm calling my doctor tomorrow.
  • After giving your 6 month old a biter biscuit, you should wipe off the goo immediately. That stuff dries very quickly and isn't easy to remove.
  • Killer whales eat seals. I suppose I may have learned this at some point. But I relearned it in our latest library book. At least it was just a drawing and not an actual photo. And at least I was a little airy and thought it was a fish. So when I said, "Hey look, Big One. That killer whale is throwing a fish in the air to eat it" I was relieved that Big One didn't realize like I did that it wasn't actually a fish but a seal. And he also didn't notice the red blood trail in the water on another whale-eating-a-seal illustration. Did we really need the red blood trail in the water? That seems a little gruesome for a children's book. We're sticking to fiction on our next trip to the library.
  • My dog is able to locate a patch of mud even if the entire yard appears to be covered in snow. I hate muddy dog prints on the floor. (I already knew that last part.)
  • Some days when your 3 year old is acting especially naughty, not even lunch out with friends will help. Sometimes it takes an emotional breakdown full of tears and snot under the covers of your bed (sorry I used your side of the bed, Hubs). If you're lucky, the same 3 year old who sent you spiraling off the edge of the proverbial cliff will give you a big hug, tell you he's sorry for making you sad, and melt your heart. And then you can go back to being Mommy again.
  • If you stop sitting around on your butt thinking, "I would really like to pursue _____" and actually take steps toward pursuing your super secret life dreams, things will start happening. You may even smack yourself on the head and say, "Why didn't I start actually doing something about it sooner?"
And now for my recommendations if you have some spare time...
  • lost lyrics by Amy Lou @ Spontaneous Blah: Amy is back at it! After a bit of a blog hiatus, she shared a piece of writing she discovered this week. I love this post because it reminds me that I need to write as soon as inspiration strikes (unless I'm driving down the road... unfortunately, that's when most of my inspiration strikes). I always think I'll remember my little inspirations, things that the kids said or did, the kid's firsts. Of course I don't and they're lost forever.
  • The Real Field Trip by Vodka Mom: This mom is seriously funny. I just discovered this blog this week. She is a kindergarten teacher so I'm sure all of the teachers out there can relate. It was tough to pick just one of her posts but this one is quite humorous. She's Gonna Blow is worth a read too.
  • Peppermint Marshmallow Recipe @ Little Birdie Secrets: I love this blog. They have so many cute ideas. Big One is obsessed with marshmallows of all varieties so I think this may be one of our projects this week. I've never made my own marshmallows so this could be interesting. I do make a lot of homemade candy at this time of year though. We'll see how it turns out!
You can find more top posts of the week at the Mommy Diaries. Enjoy!

Jesus, Santa, and the Easter Bunny

It seems that this time of year is a bit difficult for a 3 year old to understand. This is what Big One knows about Christmas.

Santa is going to bring him presents, as long as he's good and stays on the "nice" list. If anything is missing, Santa apparently took it way, way, way up in the air, since his sleigh can fly and all. Santa took our cat, Hunter, way, way, way up to Heaven this summer. The Easter Bunny will also be visiting this holiday season to hide eggs in the Christmas tree. Oh, and by the way, did you know we get to celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas? Jesus wants a Cars birthday party. We're going to recycle the Cars sign from Big One's party. Jesus won't mind sharing. We need to go to the store to get red and black frosting for Jesus' Cars cake. Big One would like to go to Jesus' house for his birthday party. But Big One is not going to talk at the party. He's only going to sit and play with his Planet Heroes. He did have one question when we discussed the birth of Jesus. Were the angels the pretty kind?

It Hurts When I Do This

Big One has become the master of stalling at bedtime. Stories. Water. Endless, random questions. He's done it all for a while.

Apparently, it was time for a new approach.

Last night (after getting out of bed several times already), he walked out into the hallway, finger fish hooked into his mouth and digging into the inside of his cheek.

"Mommy, it hurts when I do this."

Really? You mean digging your finger into your cheek doesn't feel good? It's so very difficult to keep a straight face sometimes.

But it gets better.

A few minutes later he comes out again, this time, his pointer finger lodged snugly in his right nostril.

"Mommy, this hole right here hurts."

Your finger is halfway up your nose, Big One. I don't imagine it feels good!

I love 3.

What I Learned This Week

Since motherhood is all about learning on the job, I thought I'd share what I learned this week.
  • It's nearly impossible to find a children's non-fiction book about zebras that doesn't show some sort of photo or sketch of a zebra being preyed upon. And by preyed upon I mean half eaten with at least 1 predator happily munching away on a bloody zebra carcass. The first zebra book I picked up yesterday was entirely devoted to zebras as prey. An entire book of zebras being consumed by other animals... in the children's section. Nightmare, anyone?
  • I still have no idea why my dates are populating my post title fields. It's driving me nuts. But apparently not nuts enough to really try to fix.
  • I like doughnuts. There was a time (20 pounds ago) that I could pass by a doughnut without a second though. Now, if you're a doughnut, watch out. I won't tell you how many doughnuts fell prey to my cravings this morning.
  • If your husband finds out about your blog, he'll read it. When you blog about him, he'll act hurt. Secretly he likes the attention. *wink, wink*
  • Even bribing your 3 year old with a new bike won't convince him to poop in the potty.
Esther at The Mommy Diaries does a Sunday Best Posts of the Week. I love the idea so I'm going to borrow it. Hope you don't mind, Esther! I always love discovering new blogs and I think this is a great way to do it. Enjoy!
  • Leaf to Leaf by Amy Lou @ Spontanous Blah: This post is not from this week. Not even this month. But I love it and felt it deserved mention. Amy has had quite a year. I'll leave the details for you to discover if you visit her blog.
  • What Did She Just Say? by Anastasia @ The Gift: You know those awkward social situations when everything is going well and then you say something out of left field? Suddenly everything happens in slow motion and you would do anything if you could rewind time and take back that one thing. I can relate so much to what Anastasia has to say about this!
  • From the Desk Mouth of Josiah by Jessi @ Table for 4: I love reading the funny things that kids say. Jessi shares some great quotes from her 2 year old. I especially like the last one!
  • reflection by Matt at matt, liz and madeline: Please do not go to this blog without a box on tissue. I can't begin to imagine what Matt has gone through this year. The picture in this post is amazing. If you read the background of Matt's story, it's even more powerful. But seriously, tissues are a must if you're going to read much of this blog.
Here's to another week of parental mistakes learning opportunities and lots of newly discovered blog posts!

All I Want for Christmas is...

A ghetto pantry?

Hold on, Santa. I think you misread my letter. I know you're busy at this time of year. And you're probably on a sugar high getting into shape for your Santa costume. I'd be a little confused too if I were surrounded by all of those guys with pointy ears. And talking reindeer must really trip you out.

But a pantry?

It seems a few months ago I mentioned to my loving Hubs that we should get some sort of cheap freestanding cupboard to put in the dining room area (which is part of the kitchen) as a pantry of sorts. He thought it was a good idea but we didn't pursue it.

Until yesterday.

Hubs went to the home improvement store. Alone. Dangerous. That's how we acquired 85% of the tools in the garage that now rest idly, hoping to once again be called to duty. (I'm not complaining. Hubs is actually very handy around the house. I'm just saying... not sure all of the tools were a necessity.)

He called me excitedly blabbering about some cupboard he found. The kids both needed me so I told him we'd talk about it later.

When he got home, this is what he said:

"It's your Christmas gift but I'll go ahead and tell you. I found this really nice cupboard that we can use as that pantry over there."

Blank stare.

"I'm getting a ghetto pantry for Christmas? You can't even make me a nice built-in pantry? I get a ghetto pantry as my Christmas gift?"

"But that's what you wanted."

"I wanted it for Christmas? I don't remember that. I remember saying it might be a nice addition to the kitchen. Never did I suggest it as a Christmas gift."

Hubs always puts words in my mouth like that. Last year we had discussed that we could use some new pans. So when his dad asked for gift suggestions, he told him that I wanted pans and he wanted Guitar Hero. What?

Yes, please, give me pans. So I can fulfill my wifely duty and cook. While my husband sits on his butt. And plays video games. That's always been my Christmas wish. Hey, why not throw in a new iron while you're at it? (Incidentally, Esther over at The Mommy Diaries has a great relevant video on her blog!)

Just for the record, I'm not really as selfish as I come across here. All of my responses to Hubs were done in a more joking way. But really, we can get the pantry, but can we not call it a Christmas gift? Love you, Hubs! Pantry and all.

I Need to Scratch it Like a What?

Big One: Hey, Mommy. You just need to scratch it like a DJ.

Me: [Pause] Did you just say I need to scratch it like a DJ?

Big One: Yeah, Mommy. You need to scratch it like a DJ. Like this. nuh-nuh [slides his finger back and forth on his headboard]

Me: Like this? [doing my best "scratching it like a DJ impression"]

Big One: That's how you DON'T scratch it like a DJ.

Me: That's not right?

Big One: No! You go like this. nuh-nuh.

Me: Like this? nuh-nuh. [Imitating his finger sliding on the headboard.]

Big One: Yeah! Now jump up and down like a DJ.

Me: Uh, I'll break your bed if I jump up and down like a DJ.

Big One: Oh, ok. Well scratch it like this like a DJ. [scratches his nostril]

Me: DJs scratch their noses?

Big One: Yeah.

Me: I'll pass.

He says he learned this from Ooh and Aah on Playhouse Disney. Who says TV can't be educational?

Can You Flush Tootsie Rolls? or How Not to Potty Train Your Child

Yes, we are still struggling to get Big One to go Number 2 in the potty. Our brainchild tonight? Tootsie Rolls.

Big One started his screaming/dancing/I'm-not-going-to-poop-even-though-I-really-need-to routine. Since I was nursing Little One to sleep, I suggested Hubs try the Tootsie Roll play which he devised a few weeks ago.

Hubs secretly grabbed a Tootsie Roll from the leftover Halloween candy. He collected Big One's Curious George stuffed animal. Do you see where this is going?

Hubs announced that Curious George really needed to go potty. Big One took the bait and ran after them into the bathroom. After sitting on the potty chair for a few seconds, Curious George miraculously pooped.

Big One was in awe.

"He pooped! HE POOPED!"

I heard the toilet flush. Can you flush Tootsie Rolls? I sure hope so.

"Hey, my tiger needs to poop too!"

Uh oh. Not how this was supposed to work.

"No, Big One. Tigers poop outside. But you can go on the potty. Why don't you try like Curious George?"

Big One was convinced that suddenly all of his stuffed animals gained the ability to go #2 in the potty. Hubs vetoed several stuffed animals and finally admitted to Big One that the "poop" was actually candy.

"NO! Curious George really pooped!" Big One insisted.

Big One never pooped.

I have a feeling I'll be fishing stuffed animals out of the toilet tomorrow.

A Snowy Wordless Wednesday

For more Wordless Wednesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom and MomDot. Thanks for stopping by!

Lost in Translation

The 3 year old mind is an amazing thing. It can twist the simplest of commands into something entirely different. Here are a few recent examples of this breakdown in communication in our house.

I say: "Please at least try to poop on your potty."
Big One hears: "Throw yourself on the floor, kick and scream, completely ignore all logic, and hold poop in until you are constipated. Or, wait until I put on your night time diaper. Let it all come out because I LOVE cleaning up poop."

I say: "Pick up all of your toys in the living room and take them to your room."
Big One hears: "Pick up one toy, get sidetracked, drag out a new tub of toys, spread them all over your room, and pretend to be deaf when I remind you of your original orders."

I say: "Please be quiet. Your sister's sleeping."
Big One hears: "Please run up and down the hallway right outside your sister's door, stomping as loud as possible. Roar like a dinosaur while running by her door. Please make the roar realistic by doing it as loudly as your little lungs will allow. Throw a few toys at her door. When I lecture you about being quiet, throw yourself down on the floor and kick the wall to her bedroom. Refuse to go to bed by screaming and fighting me the whole time."

I say: "It's bedtime. Go to sleep. No getting out of bed. No yelling."
Big One hears: "Go ahead and stay up another hour. When I try to leave the room, ask me a million random questions. Ask for more water. Get out of bed and collect a few of your favorite toys. Play with them for at least 30 minutes. Be sure to play loudly. Come to the door and lecture us about how loud the TV is and how you can't sleep. Return to your bed and beg to be tucked in again. Ask for more water. Continue to play in your bed until you can't stay awake any longer."

I say: "No you can't have a sucker."
Big One hears: "Kick and scream long enough and I'll probably give in just to make you be quiet."

I say: "Please stop touching the Christmas ornaments."
Big One hears: "Stand next to the tree suspiciously until I turn my head. Proceed to play with the ornament that I just told you not to touch. Drop it on the floor. Make sure it breaks. Go pout in the corner when you get in trouble for breaking the ornament. When you're finished pouting, return to the tree and repeat."

I say: "Leave Mommy's computer alone."
Big One hears: "Wait until I turn my back for a second. Press every single button that you can get your sticky little fingers on. I prefer that you either open a million Firefox help windows or shut my computer down altogether. Forget about the work I'm doing. I didn't save it but I might be able to recover it. If I'm lucky."

I say: "Mommy's working right now."
Big One hears: "Jump on my back. Yell as loud as you can. Get right in my face and talk about random things that make no sense. Sneak out to the kitchen and pull things out of the drawers. Go to the bathroom. Unroll the toilet paper. Shove some of it in your potty chair. Squeeze half of your toothpaste on your toothbrush. Throw a fit when you get caught.

I say: "It's bath time."
Big One hears: "Do everything in your power to stall. Throw a fit. Kick. Scream. Refuse to remove your clothes. Make me beg and plead with you to get in the bathtub. Get in the bathtub. Refuse to let us wash your hair. Throw another fit when we do anyway. Start playing with your bath toys. Refuse to get out of the tub when bath time is over. Splash water all over the bathroom, especially near the wood trim. Wood and water are a good combo."

I say: "We can play Candyland if you follow the rules."
Big One hears: "Rules? What rules? Don't pay attention when I try to help you. Take 5 cards instead of one at a time. Bounce about wherever you feel like it. Declare yourself the winner after your second turn. Get sidetracked and ignore my pleas to just pick a stinking card. Get bored and scatter the pieces all about. Get mad when I put the game away."

Isn't the 3 year old an amazing species?