An Almost 3-Year Old Can Really Make You Feel Like Garbage

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Meet Lillian. She’s a master of manipulation and guilt tripper extraordinairre.

Friends, I want to give you a little glimpse into my world right now. Look at that sweet little face. Look into those beautiful, bright blue eyes.

Then tell that face something a three-year old doesn’t like to hear. Something like:

  • No
  • It’s time for bed.
  • You can’t have a lollipop if you don’t eat any of your dinner.

Or maybe, like me, you are already 20 minutes late for work and you have to utter the formidable sentence, “Mommy has to go to work now.”

Prepare to meet this face:

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This morning, this face was accompanied by desperate sobs of “Mommy! Don’t go! I want you to stay with me! I’m scared!” I kept telling her, “It’s not like I want to go to work! I’d so much rather just hang out with you here all day.” I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes but I didn’t want to get emotional and make it worse. You see, this is her first full week in a new classroom. The whole drop-off routine is different all of a sudden and I can see why she may not be thrilled about it.

Preschool is mayhem. There are children between the ages of 2-5 eating breakfast (if the food hasn’t all been eaten by the time we arrive), playing, yelling, and fighting. I haven’t yet figured out how to know where breakfast is going to be – it could be in any one of three different rooms. There’s not much structure at this time and children of this age are all over the place and loud. Not the most welcoming environment for an anxious preschooler who rages out when things don’t follow her expectations.

So this morning, after her teacher saved me with distractionary techniques, and I rolled into work 20 minutes late, I was explaining to my boss why I was so late to work, and the tears just started coming. People were coming to me in the halls as I was cry-laughing telling my story and I was really moved to hear other people’s stories of children making them feel like garbage, too.

The next time you feel like you’re failing or you make a mistake that your tiny people won’t let you come back from, just know that they all do it. Solidarity!

My One Resolution for the New Year + Giveaway

I know by now most people have resolved to make big changes and fallen off the wagon. I like to ease into the new year, seeing where I can make small changes that will make my life easier and less stressful. So, when e-cloth contacted me with an offer to review their product for free, it was really a no-brainer.

E-cloth products are manufactured to be used with water only, saving you money on harsh chemicals. They are also machine-washable, so you can maximize the length of time they last – also saving money.

I received a Washing Up Pad, and Bathroom Cleaning Cloths 2-piece set. I’ve had the products for about a month and have used and washed them multiple times.

We have used the Washing Up Pad multiple times a day for a month. I feel a little weird not using dish soap with it, so we haven’t used it with water only, but the packaging says this is okay. To minimize the amount of soap that will enter the washing machine when we wash it, I try to use only a tiny amount of soap, and when I am done washing dishes, I squeeze as much water and soap out as possible. The sponge side is great for wiping down countertops, too. The scrubbing side will get burnt chili off the bottom of a stockpot. We haven’t washed this yet in the washing machine (but definitely should get on that), but so far, this sponge is holding up as well as – if not better than any other sponge we would normally use.

The 2-piece bathroom cleaning set comes with a soft cloth to clean dirt, grime, scum and mildew without chemicals, as well as a glass cleaning cloth to do the windows and mirror.

I have to admit that having only one bathroom in my home makes me despise cleaning it. It is always dirty, and though it is small so it doesn’t take long to clean, after one day, it is back to being scummy and gross. I was really excited to get these cloths because since we also do laundry almost daily, there are a lot of opportunities to use these products and see just how clean my bathroom can be.

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So easy, a 4-year old can clean the bathroom!

The soft bathroom cloth is freaking AMAZING, you guys. It cleaned the caulk with water only. It scrubbed off rust, dried-on conditioner, dust, and hair. I actually have used this while in the shower to just scrub off all of the yucky spots while I was convenitently already using water and scrubbing the crust off of myself. We’ve washed it a dozen times already and it is holding up just great.

The glass cloth is much thinner and has a finer texture. I 100% believed this wasn’t going to get anything off my bathroom mirror and I was 100% wrong. I used water only and was left with a clean mirror with no streaks or spots. Fantastic!

I highly recommend these products. They claim to remove 99% of bacteria from surfaces, are eco-friendly, and will help my family save money. This is a resolution I can stand by.

If you are interested in trying out e-cloth, you can enter the giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway open to US residents only. Raffle is open until February 15, 2017 at midnight.
Winners will be announced soon after.

This little angel loves the f-word

If you are a regular reader, you know I make no bones about not being perfect. I have my meltdowns – sometimes in front of or because of my kids – but I’m doing my best. Well, here’s the next chapter in the confessional of how I’m screwing up…


A few weeks ago, the hubster started picking Gabby up from school. One day after I got home, he pulled me aside in the kitchen and we had this conversation:

H: I think Gabby is in a phase of testing out some new words…

Me: Oh? What’d she say?

H: I buckled her into her car seat and she said, ‘Fuckin’ poop.’

Me: Oh my God! What did you say to that?!

H: I told her that was a word she can’t say.

Dudes. This is totally my fault because lately my filter has been off and I’ve definitely dropped the f-bomb in front of them on occasion. This brings us to yesterday.

I came downstairs and immediately stepped on a beaded necklace and dropped the f-bomb.

Cue Gabby an hour later, slipping on the hardwood floor and falling to the floor: Fffffffff-uck. *Looking me right, square in the eyes*

Me (trying desperately not to laugh): Did I hear that right?

G: I fell and it hurt!

Me: You still cannot say that word. Next time try saying ‘Ouch’ instead.

Then, NOT EVEN A FEW HOURS LATER, she is helping me in the playroom. She is standing on her beanbag chair and slips and falls: (whispering) F U C K.

Me: Gabby! You cannot say that word! I know you’ve heard me say it and it is not a nice word! I will also try not to say it, but you definitely cannot ever say it!

You guys, I am in crisis. How do I explain to a four year old why she cannot be saying that word? I am so embarrassed and grossed out to hear her say it. Also, it is hilarious and I can’t keep my composure AT ALL when she says it.

All I Want For Christmas Is Crazy Cash Back

*Post contains referral links, so if you join through my referral link, I get bonus cash back and so do you!*

I am not a savvy economist, don’t make a lot of money, and have two children in full-time childcare, so I have to ask you guys, “Why is every toy $50 or more this Christmas season?” Did everyone but me get a Christmas bonus? Was there some across-the-board cost-of-living increase that passed me by? I literally could not find any $10-$20 baby dolls for my kids this year for Christmas.

So, my shopping strategy this year is twofold:

One, they are getting less stuff. They already have infinity toys and our house isn’t getting any bigger, so… less stuff.

Two, I’m shopping exclusively through Ebates.com, so I can at least earn a portion of that money back. I know it’s the end of Cyber Week, but hopefully some of you guys can cash in on some of these great cash back offers:

  • JCPenney 15% Cash Back Sitewide – This goes for household items, clothing, toys. I found very few exceptions and lots of Disney-licensed characters. I’ve never seen anyone offer so much cash back. Definitely take advantage of this!
  • Groupon 9% Cash Back – Do you need a massage to get through the holiday season, want to get your nails done for New Year’s Eve? Shop through Ebates and you can earn enough cash back to buy one for your friend!
  • Kohl’s 8% Cash Back – I can’t even with these generous offers. I really like Kohl’s for things like towels, kids clothing, and other houseware items.
  • Walgreens 7% Cash Back – You can use this for stocking stuffers, candy – even your photo needs. Buy your Christmas cards through Walgreens and get 7% cash back.

If you don’t already have an Ebates account, make sure to click this link or the button below so we can both get a bonus bump in cash back!

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Did you guys think that toy prices were way out of line this year? Let me know in the comments.

5 WTF Thoughts I Have While Folding My Family’s Laundry

We are in the midst of potty-training Lillian right now. We’ve been working on it for a year. Our laundry situation is worse now than it was when I had two kids in cloth diapers. Here are just some thoughts I’ve had while folding the family’s laundry:

  1. One of the perks of sending Gabby to private school was the uniforms. No fighting about clothes everyday. I had high hopes that uniforms would make the laundry so much easier. I was desperately wrong. White uniform shirts for pre-schoolers? Are you freaking kidding me?!?!
  2. How is the pajama pile so much bigger than the daywear pile? Judging by their laundry, a stranger would believe they never leave the house.

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  3. Lillian is perpetually out of pants because she is constantly peeing in them. I refuse to go back to diapers. Thus, I get to forever be washing, folding, and putting away pants and underwear.
  4. Lillian’s underwear pile is so much bigger than Gabby’s, I think I need to have a conversation with Gabby about changing her underwear on a daily basis.
  5. Onto the hubster, what is happening in his pants that causes him to blow out the crotch of every pair of underwear so violently?

Do you have any WTF moments while putting away your family’s laundry?
Let me know in the comments!

I Gave You A Sibling So You’d Have Someone To Play With

Lillian wasn’t the most planned baby in the world, but when we found out she would be the newest McDermott and a girl, we were pretty excited. We said really stupid things like:

“They’ll be best friends!”

“They’ll play together and leave us alone.”

“We’ll never have to play babies again!”


Granted, Gabby hardly had a personality by the time we were expecting Lilly, but we couldn’t have been more wrong about their relationship so far. At four, Gabby is very imaginative and creative and OMG the most particular (read: OCD) kid on the planet. She is a stickler for rules and if you cross her, she will not only remember it forever, but she will remind you of how you wronged her for eternity. 

Lilly, on the other hand, is much more free-spirited. She bounces from one activity to another. She wants to do everything Gabby does, only she doesn’t want to hear about all the rules and intricacies of the game. She just wants to play. 

Therefore, as you can imagine, their sister-time goes something like this:

G: Lilly, come into my clubhouse (her bed)

L: OK!

G: NO! You have to wait until I set it up!

L: (Waiting to climb the ladder impatiently because she is two)

G: I’m not ready!

Me: You are torturing her. Hurry up and let her up there. 

G: Fine. Climb up and then balance (along the edge of the top bunk) and sit over here. 

L: OK

Me: Noooooo. Climb up and crawl over there. 

*1,000 minutes pass and Lilly is up in Gabby’s bed*

<Gabby screaming>

Me: What happened?

G: She’s breaking the rules!!!

Me: How?

G: We got into my sleeping bag to go to sleep and she is pushing me and taking up all the space and she won’t lay DOWN!

So, no. They don’t play together. It would be super easy for us to separate them and not even let them play together, but we do because we want them to learn how to get along. I just hope there is a day when I’m not forced to eat their fake cooking because they are feeding it to each other. 

When Parents Get Sick

Well, I am really sorry I have been away from the blog for so long. It’s been over three months and that is just unbelievable. I don’t even know where the time went. I’ve been hanging onto life by a thread. You know… new school, for one of the kids, too many extracurricular activities, work has been overwhelming, the hubs and I caught bronchitis from the kids… Life happened and it’s been three months.

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For the past two weeks, I have had the most crippling bout of bronchitis I have ever had. I started feeling sick on a Saturday – with no childcare options. I felt feverish and exhausted. I just wanted to sleep all day. The hubs stepped up and did everything while I just laid useless on the couch. He even followed the kids’ orders for cups, TD shows, and snacks. He’s a good dude.

Over the course of the next week, I got progressively worse. I also spread the virus to my dear partner for life. We were BOTH miserable. We were both coughing. Neither one of us was sleeping. And we still had baths to give, meals to cook, pajamas to get from upstairs… And we quickly realized that there is literally nothing in the whole world worse than when both parents get sick. Possibly it would be worse if the kids were also sick, but maybe they would at least nap if they were, so, no, I think both parents sick and healthy kids is the worst scenario.

We were so exhausted and short of breath that we started bargaining for chores.

“I’ll cook dinner!” <Subtext: “You deal with the kids for an hour while I stand still pretending to stir this pot.”>

“If I give the kids a bath, will you get their pajamas?” <Subtext: “Please, for the love of all that is holy, do not make me have to go upstairs three more times tonight.”>

Now we finally have medicine two weeks later and can get some sleep. We are still out of breath, but on the mend. Hopefully this parenting thing will get back on track and we can eradicate the bug that almost brought the McDermott house down.

How do you get stuff done when you and/or your partner are sick? Let me know in the comments so next year at this time, I have some ideas!

 

4 years

Four. It’s been four years that the hubster and I have been parents. Four years since our little family changed so significantly that I can hardly remember whay it was like to not have kids.

Oh, wait. Yes, I can! We’d go out for dinner, unworried about taking our time, because there was no babysitter to pay. We’d spend 8 hours in a coffeeshop, talking, reading, studying, peoplewatching. We’d sleep in until 11am on a Saturday, with no urgency go anywhere or do anything. We could eat dinner literally at any restaurant we wanted, nomatter if they served mac and cheese.

And then Gabby was born. No longer were the days of unscheduled day trips. Going more than one place in a single trip meant getting her in and out of the carseat multiple times. But you know what? As much as I am exhausted and frustrated by the constant needs of children, I am totally amazed at how much I love these kids.

For a person so tiny to be so demanding and every day I forgive her. If an adult asks me to repeat myself more than once, I freak the freak out, and sometimes the kids get yelled at for that one, too, but I don’t obsess about it for hours and want to murder them. Every “extra” cent I have is spent on clothes and necessities for them, and yet I don’t consider them greedy or ungrateful.

And in terms of the hubster and I, it’s not like having kids completed us in any way. We had them not because something was missing, but because we thought they might just add to our lives in some mysterious way. Frankly, I just wanted Christmas to be fun again. I was tired of the old, “This is what I want for Christmas, now let me pretend to be surprised when you buy it for me” game. Because the hubster is an emotionless sociopath, I thought it would be cool to have kids who would be excited about things with me. I never realized that there would be so much more.

The hugs, the “Mommy, I love you”s, hearing them emulate me when they are playing with their dolls, asking me to join them on their adventures, watching Gabby’s face in reaction to Disney World. These are the things I didn’t anticipate.

There’s also the annoying stuff, the baths, the bedtime routines, the pooping in the little potty… but the good stuff defintiely outweighs the bad. I’m so glad we decided to embark on this journey called parenthood.

We Still Love Bookroo (and a gift for you)!

We have been getting Bookroo boxes off and on for around 6 months now. We have only ever subscribed to the picture book boxes, since you get two quality books a month and that works out since we have two kids. Each box is addressed to Gabby & Lillian and they each get to unwrap one book.

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This month’s picture book box

This month’s books were awesome!

Lillian received Cuckoo! by Fiona Robertson. This book is similar to another book, Ribbit, that we got a few months ago, but it adds variety to our library. The story follows a cuckoo bird who was hatched in the wrong nest, so he travels all over the city, trying to find someone who understands his language. Finally he meets a toddler who loves to repeat him and they become fast friends. How cute is that?!?! It’s a perfect match for my 2-year old. Cuckoo retails at $15.22 at Barnes and Noble.

Gabby got Max’s Castle by Kate Banks and Boris Kulikov. This book is about three brothers who have an alphabet adventure. Using alphabet blocks, they swap out letters to build a castle, defeat a dragon, and more. The older brothers at first think Max is babyish for playing with blocks, but once they all start playing around with the letters, they all get really into it and have a great adventure. This book taught a great lesson to my almost 4-year old and she also enjoyed seeing how swapping out the letters made different words. I can see using this book to practice sight words. Max’s Castle retails for $17.18 at Barnes and Noble.

Jane and the folks at Bookroo put together extremely thoughtful boxes every single time. We’ve never been let down. They monthly box is $17.99 per month and gets cheaper as you increase the length of your subscription. Obviously, a big savings as my books would’ve cost me almost $30 at the store.

Here’s where the pot gets even sweeter (for you AND me): If you use my personal referral code GABMCD when you subscribe, you will save $10 and I will also get a $10 off coupon. You cannot go wrong with this deal and you can cancel or suspend your box at any time. The customer service at Bookroo is unbeatable. Click here to start getting Bookroo boxes for your little ones.

I Can’t Keep the Boogieman Away

As far back as I can remember, I have been a worrier. I don’t know if it’s because I am generally just an anxious person, or because I watched my grandmother ritualistically chant under her breath for my grandfather’s safety every time he left the house. All I know is that I have always worried about my family, their safety, and the unknown. It is emotionally and physically draining to partake in superstitious behavior and dwell on things out of my control for thirty-plus years.

The most difficult part of this side of my personality is that I don’t want to pass this on to my kids. I have to let them jump off of high things and touch worms and NOT. FREAK. OUT. because I want them to be kids and adventurous and just not so afraid.

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Overcoming her fear of an ant

And then there’s Gabby. She is so overly cautious. She is clumsy, so I clutch at my pearls every time she does something brave like jump out of the car or climb on the high jungle gym at the playground. But, like I said, let them be kids and all that. So I stifle myself.

Yet, somehow, the kid has become fearful despite all of my stifling. When she was two, she would ask me to come with her to the playroom because she was afraid that Swiper (that dastardly fox from Dora the explorer, for you non-kid owners) was in the front bedroom. She would wake up in the night afraid that a bear was going to get her, despite my frequent reminders that we made sure our house was fox and bear-free when we bought it.

Just this morning, she was happily playing in the living room with her Cinderella castle, and she sent Jasmine into the kitchen in Cinderella’s carriage when we had this exchange:

Gabby: Mommy, can you come with me to get Jasmine?
Me: No, Lilly’s in the kitchen. Just go in there.
Gabby: But I don’t want to be alone!
Me: You won’t be.
Gabby: Mommy? I think there’s a nightmare in there.
Me: Nope, I told you. This house has no nightmares, foxes, or bears.
Gabby: I’m still scared.

I had an immediate flashback of myself in my twenties – hell, maybe even my early thirties – running from the bathroom to my bedroom in the dark. I have always been afraid of the dark, monsters, and ghosts lurking in the night. But I have never once let on to my kids that I have these fears. It’s unnerving to me to see her fears unravel the same way mine did.

At least she has the benefit of my empathy. I know what it’s like to be afraid. She doesn’t know that I’m just as scared as she is. I never had that support growing up.

I just hope that my understanding and patience with her anxiety helps her to outgrow it.

I was lucky enough to find a husband who thinks I’m ridiculous and doesn’t make fun of me for it. There can’t possibly be another person that tolerant in this world.